The Globe as you know it is changing.
Coming June 2019

  • More thought-provoking stories that inspire
  • Independent, free and member-supported
  • Vote for, pitch and commission stories
  • Member engagement with our journalists

To understand more about why you are so important to our member-supported initiative, we encourage you to read the following from our managing editor ~ Read more

The Globe as you know it is changing.

Since 2007, Southeast Asia Globe has been a space for some of the region’s best writers and photographers to take our readers behind the headlines into the stories that shape people’s lives. Every month, you could expect to pick up our latest print edition and find high-quality journalism, analysis and artwork waiting on every page. And since 2007, we’ve fought to uphold our promise of quality and independence to you, our readers.

But, like we said, the world is changing. Print publications just aren’t reaching the audiences they need to fulfil their promise of informing, educating and entertaining the public. Advertisers continue to invest in digital platforms while printing costs creep ever higher. Print may not be dead, but it’s fighting for its life. And we’re tired of waiting by a sickbed for its condition to improve. We want to be present at the birth of something new.

That’s why Southeast Asia Globe is relaunching as a member-driven platform featuring daily long-form features combining world-class journalism with enthralling art design and data-centered tech. Through our core pillars – Power, Money, Life and Earth – we are focusing in on the central issues that our readers have always engaged with most, with the same in-depth coverage of politics, business, social affairs and the environment that you’ve come to expect since 2007.

But leaving print behind us doesn’t just save our backs from lugging stacks of magazines across Southeast Asia. It opens up a global readership who don’t just want to read the news, but have a say in the stories that we tell and the way that we tell them. We’re not asking you to take out another magazine subscription – our stories are open to all. What we’re offering our members is a space where they can pitch and vote on the stories that they think deserve to be told. We want to inspire an engaged and active community of members who vote for, comment on and contribute to the stories that matter most to them. We want to work with our members to curate the way they engage with the news – not just as readers, but as an active extension of our editorial team.

That’s how we’re changing to bring you great stories. Here’s how we’re not.

We’re independent. Always have been, always will be. We’re not owned by any corporation or aligned with any state. We choose the stories that we tell, and the way that we tell them.

We’re creative. We’re not interested in churning out breaking news stories on the hour, every hour. We believe that the best stories are the ones that come alive on the page, digging deeper into the issues that shape Southeast Asia – and bringing you along for the ride. From our dedicated designers to our new software development team, our commitment is to constantly challenge ourselves to find new ways of reaching out to our readers.

We’re open. Challenging governments, NGOs and businesses to be transparent with the public means nothing if we keep our own readers in the dark. That’s why we will be completely open about why we tell the stories that we tell – and how we pay for them. Work with us to build something that endures where many media fail, and decide with us exactly where that money is going.

Above all, we’re optimistic. And yeah, we know what you’re thinking. Faced with impending climate collapse, the rise of right-wing authoritarian governments across the world, widening wealth and income inequality and deepening divisions rooted in race or gender or creed, it’s hard not to open the papers and feel the weight of the world pressing down. But we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t believe that when people work together, they can make their little corner of the world a more just, open and equal place.

And that’s why we can’t do this without you. We believe that across the globe is a community of people who care deeply about social justice, environmental action and press freedom – and who will join in to help make those ideals a reality. We’re not just holding our hand out – we need your voice to play a vital role in building Southeast Asia Globe into a leading space for progressive causes in the region. Tell us what stories the mainstream media is missing. Share with us the causes that matter most to you, and how we can champion those causes not just across Southeast Asia, but the world.

Our vision is clear. By 2025, we want to be recognised for building a great space for outstanding journalists from across the region to explore new ways of telling Southeast Asia’s most vital stories. Let’s bring together a community of engaged and loyal members who want to help reshape the media rather than just read it. And we want to reach a point where our readers, not advertisers, are the ones working to support our shared vision of an inclusive media.

We can’t do this without you. Let’s get together and build something that we all believe in.

If you’re interested in joining us, sign up to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. And watch this space.

Cambodia / Okra Solar’s technology could bring clean energy to the world

By: Robin Spiess - Posted on: September 14, 2018 | Business

Okra Solar, an Australian-founded technology company based in Cambodia, is on a mission to see 100% of the world’s population with access to stable electricity by 2025

Okra Solar technology allows for the creation of mini ‘plug and play’ solar grids Photo: Okra Solar

More than a billion people currently live where they do not have access to any electrical grid. For those people, the use of solar technology is one of the most attractive means of powering their households – but standalone solar home systems can be inefficient and unreliable, with up to 50% of their harnessed energy at times wasted.

Okra Solar, founded in 2016, has created a technology that allows solar panels and batteries to be connected together, resulting in the creation of mini solar grids that pool energy produced by several homes’ solar panels and provide greater numbers of households with energy access.

This article is part of a series promoting the use of clean energy, in advance of Clean Energy Week in Cambodia and Inspire Asean – The Future of Energy in Phnom Penh on 7 November, 2018. Click here to register for the event

According to Afnan Hannan, co-founder of Okra Solar, the use of his company’s “plug and play” microgrids helps increase efficient use of power and, more importantly, provides more reliable electricity for households in need of short-term bursts of power.

“Power from one part of the network can be shared to other parts of the network where it’s needed – increasing efficiency but more importantly providing reliability,” he said. “Lower cost, higher power availability, more resiliency, and a modular architecture mean Okra can meet the energy needs of communities, all the way from lighting, to refrigeration, to the future technology-driven lifestyles we aren’t even aware of yet.”

While Okra Solar is currently operating primarily in Cambodia, the company has several near-term plans that will see its expansion across the region and throughout several African countries. It recently raised $200,000 in a round of pre-seed funding that should see its “plug and play” technology become even more user-friendly and scalable, making export to the world’s energy-deficient communities much easier.

An Okra Solar employee explains the technology to villagers Photo: Okra Solar

“We have demonstrated to our distribution partners that they can set up microgrids that provide more affordable and reliable energy than solar home systems,” explained Hannan. “So now we need to make it user friendly and scalable, so our partners from all over the world can just pull our tech out of a box, plug it in, and it works.”

There are already several countries interested in purchasing the revamped product, with pre-orders rolling in from the Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria and Malawi.

According to Hannan, the Philippines offers the most potential to be positively impacted by the use of microgrid technology. Through close relationships with utility scale distribution companies in the country, Okra Solar intends to help spread power to the 2.4m households that are off-grid in the Philippines – a goal that is buoyed by the government’s stated willingness to allow the private sector to participate in the country’s electrification, as it aims to see 100% of its citizens with access to energy by 2022.

Okra Solar is also targeting other markets where governments have favourable energy regulations, such as Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania.

“Solar energy is the cheapest form of generation for off-grid communities” Hannan said.

“As soon as we can effectively tackle the intermittency of sunlight – whether through cheaper storage or smarter controls – we will unlock the productive potential of 1.2 billion people, enabling them to live modern, technology-driven lifestyles, improving their wellbeing and creating a more productive global economy.”