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.

New York to London in 3 hours / The return of the supersonic jet

By: Marco Evers - Posted on: July 23, 2018 | Business

Fifteen years after the end of the Concorde, a new supersonic jet is under construction. Can a startup avoid the flaws of its predecessor to make the plan the preferred conveyance of the Southeast Asian jet set

The sleek front section of Boom’s new supersonic jet

Everything is moving faster and faster in this hectic world, with one exception: jet planes.

When the Boeing 707 entered service 60 years ago, it thundered through the air at almost 1,000 kilometres per hour. Her great-granddaughter, the ultra-modern Boeing 787, can fly only 900 kilometres per hour. Flying in the jet age has become safer, more mass-capable, cheaper, quieter, cleaner. And just amazingly slow.

Is it over, then? Is the dream of ever-increasing cruising speed over? Not quite.

In the inconspicuous Hangar 14 at Centennial Airport in Denver, Colorado, dozens of hopeful engineers of the startup Boom Technology are toiling in the sound-barrier revolution. Since 2014, Boom has been developing a plane for up to 55 passengers which will race through the stratosphere at 2,335 kilometres per hour and will need a good three hours to get between New York and London, five and a half between San Francisco and Tokyo. For high-flying executives hoping to take full advantage of the Asian century, Boom estimates that flights between Kuala Lumpur and Qatar’s capital of Doha will take just three and a half hours – less than half the journey’s current time. Passengers travelling between Singapore and Beijing will have their travel time halved to just three hours.

Boom founder Blake Scholl wants to reinvent supersonic flying with a craft that aims to be cheaper for passengers, more profitable for airlines and more environmentally friendly. A round-trip ticket between New York and London might cost around $5,000, the cost of a business class ticket today.

Design concept for the XB-1’s interior

Scholl, a hobby pilot and former Amazon manager, has gathered experts who previously worked for Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed, Nasa, SpaceX and Gulfstream. As of this writing, he has raised more than $50 million in venture capital, and the first customers are on the waiting list: British entrepreneur Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic has options on ten Booms, and Japan Airlines wants 20 of them. Five other airlines have expressed interest in buying more than 70 aircrafts each.

The team is currently building a Baby Boom, aka the XB-1. It’s a third of the size of the full model and will serve as a test platform. The XB-1’s first flight is scheduled for this year as Boom urgently searches for a chief test pilot. In the coming months, Scholl wants to determine a location for series production. If Boom enters scheduled service in 2023 as planned, it would make the world smaller than any commercial aircraft before it.

Others are also working on the idea of more speed above the clouds. Together with Lockheed Martin, Nasa is developing a supersonic aircraft that no longer generates a supersonic bang and could therefore also be used over inhabited areas. Lockheed is also working with Aerion of Nevada on the construction of a supersonic business jet with up to 12 seats, scheduled for completion in 2025.

Will Boeing and Airbus fall out of favour? Do airlines have to watch their premium customers desert to Branson and the other Boom adopters on a massive scale?

Not likely. Nothing can escape the laws of flight physics.

Building the XB-1 in the Boom hangar at Centennial Airport in Denver, Colorado

When an aircraft approaches the speed of sound, its air resistance increases dramatically, so its fuselage has to be pointed and narrow, making it rather uncomfortable for passengers. The engines have to deliver considerably more thrust in the fight against air resistance, which multiplies their fuel consumption and inevitably leads to high ticket prices.

Boom father Scholl believes that he can at least partially solve the problem of air resistance. Unlike the Concorde’s designers, his people have the tech to elegantly optimise the shape of the machine on a computer instead of in endless wind tunnel tests. An aerodynamically mature aircraft, paired with modern engines and light composites instead of aluminium, can achieve favourable fuel consumption values.

Even if Scholl is right, his Boom will still burn much more kerosene than contemporary Airbus and Boeing aircraft, which are not designed for higher speeds but for optimum economy.

Fuel costs are a decisive factor for airlines. If oil prices rise, the thirsty supersonic aircraft may no longer be profitable. Boom could, then, have a future as a niche product for the most urgent of travellers.

But at least one Asian firm is betting on Boom. Ctrip, a Chinese online travel service provider, has already invested in the startup and the dream of faster-than-sound intercontinental jaunts.

© 2018 Spiegel Online distributed by The New York Times Syndicate

This article was published in the July 2018 edition of Southeast Asia Globe magazine. For full access, subscribe here.