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.

‘It’s his to lose’ / Singapore’s budget binge sparks early election speculation

By: Thomas Brent - Posted on: February 19, 2019 | Current Affairs

Singapore’s annual budget announcement, which includes extra healthcare spending for the elderly and other handouts, has fed speculation that the government is gearing up for an election this year – and one name in particular being touted as the city-state’s next prime minister

Singapore’s Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat was appointed as the assistant secretary-general of the ruling People’s Action Party last November, a move that many consider to be a sign that he is in the running to be the country’s next Prime Minister. Wallace Woon / EPA-EFE

Singapore’s gift-packed budget has fuelled rumours that the People’s Action Party (PAP) is preparing to call an early election in the face of shrinking support for the ruling party.

Although polls are not set to be held until 2021, analysts suggest they could take place later this year, as the country’s founding family prepares to hand over leadership to a younger generation of leaders.

Ja Ian Chong, deputy head of political science at the National University of Singapore, told Southeast Asia Globe that the government might be feeling pressured to act early due to fears about the ruling party’s declining popularity.

“Some observers have said that [the People’s Action Party] could be concerned about an erosion to its support due to recent data breaches, cyber attacks, and the spate of deaths in the military, so if there is a fear that support will be going away, having an earlier election might make sense,” he said.

“There is little chance the PAP will lose office, but they would like to be able to demonstrate that they have a stronger rather than a weaker mandate.”

One member of the city-state’s so-called fourth generation of leaders who has been tipped to eventually take over from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is finance minister Heng Swee Keat.

Chong said that the finance minister – who announced the budget on Monday – remained something of a faceless man to the public.

“At the very least, there doesn’t seem to be strong [public] opposition or strong dislike to [Heng], as opposed to some of other names that have been raised,” he said.

“I think he is the most innocuous of the possible candidates. So that’s probably why Swee Keat is being moved in… It does seem that Heng is being given the mantle, so it’s his position to lose,” he said.

In this year’s budget, Heng set aside Sg$6.1 billion ($4.5 billion) to support half a million citizens aged between 60 and 69.

The package included concessions for government-built sports facilities to keep healthy as well as healthcare and insurance subsidies.

Heng described the package as “a gesture of our nation’s gratitude for their contributions and a way to show care for them in their silver years”.

Another Sg$3.1 billion ($2.3 billion) was earmarked for long-term care needs, including subsidies and payouts for severely disabled workers.

To mark the 200-year anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles’s founding of modern Singapore, Heng unveiled further handouts of Sg$1.1 billion.

Around 1.4 million lower-income citizens – more than a quarter of the city-state’s population – will receive up to Sg$300 dollars each in vouchers to help them with living costs.

Others will get benefits in the form of pension fund top-ups, tax rebates and support for their children’s education.

All the benefits packed into the budget have increased speculation that the government is going to call an election this year, with observers citing previous election years such as 2011 and 2015 when the government announced big-spending budgets in the lead-up to the polls.

However, a clause in Singapore’s constitution states that the government must balance its books during its time in office, and with a large surplus still remaining, it may be that this budget is not the last of Lee’s tenure.

If Heng if to take over from Lee, who is the son of the late founding premier Lee Kuan Yew and has been in power since 2004, the finance minister showed no sign of it while announcing the budget.

“The thing about Heng is that he is a little bit of an unknown, in the sense that there is no real signature policy attached to him that comes to mind,” Chong said.

“Maybe that’s a good thing electorally, but in terms of his ability to create an imprint on policy in the sense of a direction that Singapore needs to go in, [that] remains up in the air.”

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse