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.

Solar solution / The company aiming to power up rural Cambodia

By: Robin Spiess - Posted on: May 31, 2018 | Business

As a project manager for Kamworks, one of Cambodia’s leading solar energy companies, Matt Viner is working to develop a solar platform that will provide rural households with affordable, reliable, renewable energy

Kamworks PAYGO project manager Matt Viner

How have solar energy products changed since Kamworks started in 2006, and why do you think Cambodia’s solar sector continues to struggle to attract investment?
Nowadays, there are more readily available products, often produced in China, and people are beginning to trust and understand the idea of solar energy more and more.

Kamworks is involved in multiple solar projects in Cambodia and abroad, including rooftop solar, solar water pumps, solar street lamps, solar drying – we even have solar systems rigged to help with incubation of chicken eggs. Most recently, we created a pay-as-you-go solar unit to sell to rural households that are not connected to the power grid, ensuring access to dependable electricity.

As of now, there’s not too much investment in solar energy in Cambodia because it’s difficult for investors to predict their returns on investment at this point in time. More than any specific government policy, this uncertainty affects investor confidence.

You’re in charge of developing the pay-as-you-go solar unit for rural households. What gave you the idea for this project, and how does it work?
In terms of productivity, current methods of producing electricity suck. A lot of people use car batteries to power their homes in rural areas, but in about three to six months, car batteries break. If you live in an urban area, you can get electricity by just flipping a switch. But in a rural area, you have to do a lot to get it, and it’s a struggle that’s linked to geography. It’s like getting kicked just because you’re poor. That’s where solar comes in.

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

A pay-as-you-go system functions much like a traditional pay-as-you-go mobile phone in that you buy a top-up and the system produces electricity for your household for a period of time. For our latest system, a solar panel is connected to a unit in the home which provides a display that tells the customer whether or not their battery is charging and how much energy they have remaining.

The pay-as-you-go platform allows solar distributors to finance themselves and provide rural people with consistent access to energy.

Solar panels on the roof of a Phnom Penh building Photo: Kamworks

In which countries do you see the most potential for this product?
There are a few main factors. First and foremost, it needs to be a sunny country. We work on an average of four to five hours of solar radiance every day, both here in Southeast Asia and in our other target market, sub-Saharan Africa. Sunshine is great. Another strong factor for marketing our PayGo systems is the presence of mobile mining and phone penetration, where people are becoming accustomed to paying for things using their phones. The third factor we look for is a country where a significant number of its people are off grid. Several Southeast Asian countries are solid markets for us.

We believe the future is one where everyone has equitable access to the power grid. We do see the grid expanding in Cambodia, which would make our systems unnecessary here in the long run, which is part of the reason we’ve been looking abroad to markets in several other countries, including Pakistan, Nigeria and Uganda.

What are the pros and cons of using solar energy in Southeast Asia?
I think with any energy source, you have to take into account the environmental costs. Coal is obviously damaging the environment. Personally, I think, too, that even with hydropower we have to be careful. I believe that hydropower can also have huge implications that can be as damaging as coal-powered alternatives. Hydro relies on a strong water source which is subject to change here in the dry season. Then there are questions about the hydrology of the Mekong and the impact on its fisheries – basically, there are a lot of unknown risks and potential downsides to hydro, in comparison to solar and wind technologies.

I also think solar is so important for a country like Cambodia because this country relies on imported energy, and solar is so easy to harness domestically. [Former American President Barack] Obama has a nice quote about this, basically saying that if a country isn’t in charge of its power, it’s not in charge of its decisions. Cambodia has plenty of sunshine and can take advantage of that.