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 disappeared

By: Kearrin Sims - Posted on: June 18, 2014 | Current Affairs

The whereabouts of renowned Lao development worker Sombath Somphone remain unknown and the case has become a cause célèbre. Southeast Asia Globe spoke to his wife, Shui Meng, about the man behind the media attention

By Kearrin Sims   Illustration by Victor Blanco

Often depicted as an activist, Sombath Somphone is a Lao development worker who worked with communities in sustainable agriculture. A much-respected figure in Southeast Asia and beyond, he was awarded the 2005 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership. While driving home on 15 December 2012, Sombath was stopped at a police checkpoint and abducted. He has not been seen since.


Illustration by Victor Blanco
Illustration by Victor Blanco


How did growing up in a rural Lao village shape Sombath?

Sombath’s childhood in the village was not that different from many rural kids in Laos, although as the oldest child he did bear the responsibilities of the family more than his siblings. I think that sense of responsibility, of having to take care of the family, had a major impact on his life. He became very close to his mother and came to appreciate how great the burden of caring for the family is on women in Laos.

Can you tell me about when you and Sombath first met?

We met when we were both students at the University of Hawaii. I went to lots of events about the Indochina wars and I met Sombath at some of those events. But Sombath is a very quiet and reserved person. He doesn’t talk a lot and it took me a while to discover this quiet and serious man who was always sitting at the back of the room.

What aspects of his personality attracted you to him?

Sombath likes to listen to what other people have to say. He doesn’t like to give voice to his own ideas until he has really spent time thinking seriously about them, and when he does say something he says it very concisely. The other characteristic that I began to notice more once we had got to know each other better was how he interacts with other people. He is a very peaceful man who tries to look at things in a holistic way… he always looks at things from multiple perspectives. He is very perceptive, but also very humble. And he is one of the kindest and most generous individuals that I have met.

A lot of the personality traits that you have described share similarities with Buddhist values. Is Sombath a religious man?

He became more interested in Buddhism in the later part of his life. In earlier years, he was influenced more by our Quaker friends and the principles of social justice and non-violence. He looked at Buddhism as a philosophy and a way of life, not so much as a religion. He liked that Buddhism teaches people to find truth for themselves and to not just accept what others tell you, and he valued the Buddhist principles of respect for nature and life.

In the time that you have spent together you must have learned a lot from each other. Is there any one thing that Sombath taught you that stands out?

He taught me to really appreciate the simple things in life. Even though I live in Laos, I am from Singapore… I am an urban girl who grew up in an urban environment and Sombath taught me how to understand the value of the simple life.

Is there anything about Sombath that hasn’t been adequately represented in the numerous articles following his abduction?

I think what’s missing is: ‘Who is Sombath, the man?’ He is really just a simple man with a big heart. Since his disappearance he has sometimes been depicted as something that he is not. For example, many say that he is an activist. Yes, he is very concerned about social issues but if he is an activist about anything, his activism is about how we improve education for the Laotian people. He has never been one to try and tell others what they need to do. He would like people to come up with their own answers and he talked about critical thinking. I feel that this part of him does not come through enough in many of the articles in the media that have been written about him.

Keep reading:

“I provided a map of the prison to the CIA so they would know where to start looking for other Hmong” – Australian Kay Danes suffered unlawful imprisonment and torture in Laos at the hands of communist officials back in 2000, but came out of the ordeal with a message for the world. Now, she has been honoured with the prestigious Medal of the Order of Australia for her social justice and human rights work