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

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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.

The politics of imagination: Patrick Samnang Mey

By: David Hutt - Posted on: January 13, 2016 | Cambodia

Comic book creator Patrick Samnang Mey discusses the difficulties he faced in having his work published and why there is so little political art in Cambodia

Growing up in France, Patrick Samnang Mey’s childhood was filled with tales about Cambodia, but it wasn’t until he was 22 years old that he was able to visit for the first time. It wasn’t long before he packed his bags and relocated to Phnom Penh for good.

Patrick Samnang Mey
Patrick Samnang Mey

Currently based in Japan, last year Mey published a comic book titled Captain Cambodia, a political allegory that pits the titular hero against the ‘Red Eyes’, malevolent men often dressed in military fatigues.

What is the message behind Captain Cambodia?
It depends on the reader. A child can read Captain Cambodia, a teenager can read it or an adult can read it, and each will take something different from it. Maybe a kid won’t take much from it about politics, but someone who’s interested in politics will. For example, the opening scene takes place in Koh Kong in April 2012. It’s about someone who wants to stop illegal logging, and that’s a direct reference to the death of Chut Wutty [a Cambodian activist], who was shot dead. You have some other references to political figures, but I cannot say who is who.

So it’s quite a political comic book?
I’m very interested in politics; I read articles and reports every day. So I feel I have a responsibility to do something… I had a French education, and French artists used to be very politicised – and still are today somewhat. So if I think about Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Émile Zola, they got involved in the problems of their times. I’m not saying I’m Voltaire, but that’s what I was trying to do with Captain Cambodia.

Patrick Samnang Mey
From Captain Cambodia by Patrick Samnang Mey

What made you want to write it?
It was when [opposition leader] Sam Rainsy returned to Cambodia in 2013. There were huge crowds of Cambodians demonstrating every day. They weren’t scared any more.

What do you make of past Cambodian artists, such as the satirical cartoonist Ung Bun Heang?
I have a lot of respect for what he did. But the reality was he could not go back to Cambodia because of his art. When you get involved in those things, it’s not only you but your family as well. You cannot think only of yourself.

And you had some problems publishing Captain Cambodia?
Yes, I had some. At first, it was published by a national newspaper – in Lift, the Khmer youth pullout of the Phnom Penh Post. But, after page four, they decided to stop publishing it. They didn’t really explain why.

Why do you think it was?
I asked them if they had received some threats and they didn’t reply to my email. And they asked me if it would be OK for me to draw another comic book and they would write the story, but I said no. However, I can understand their decision to stop publishing it, and there’s no grudge.

Patrick Samnang Mey
From Captain Cambodia by Patrick Samnang Mey

Afterwards, I tried to publish it with a printing house in Phnom Penh, but they decided not to print it unless I got a letter of authorisation from the ministry of information. That would have meant I had to modify my work… that’s why I went with an e-book. Again, I understand those decisions. The printing house is
a company with 30 workers, so it was risky for them. They have to make a living.

Do you think it’s dangerous to publish political art in Cambodia?
If you want to do something related to politics it can be risky. Maybe not necessarily physically – although you saw what happened to the two [opposition] MPs [who were dragged from their cars and beaten recently]. Also, if you want to be an artist and you want a career in art, it can be risky for your career.

Do you think there is a politicisation of art in Cambodia?
It depends what you mean by political art. If you talk about the Khmer Rouge in a movie or in a book, that’s still politics. But if you mean what is happening now, in 2015, there aren’t many books or movies or other forms of art that are politicised.

What do you make of pro-government artists?
They have to make a living and, one day, Hun Sen will no longer be in charge. Then they will have to deal with it. Maybe they’ll say: ‘I had to do it.’ But I don’t know. It’s up to them. I don’t necessarily have respect for them, but I can understand they have to make a living. They can deal with their own conscience. 

Keep reading:
If walls could talk” – Despite the ongoing commercialisation of street art, Indonesia’s underground scene is flourishing