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.

Cambodia / The startup aiming to turn the tide on Phnom Penh’s flood issues

By: Janelle Retka - Posted on: December 27, 2018 | Best of 2018

The streets of Phnom Penh are often wracked by floods, causing costly damage to roads and other infrastructure. Now, local startup Cambodia Green Infrastructure has a vision to change that. Co-founder Aaron Sexton speaks with Southeast Asia Globe about the organisation’s proposed system, which was among four of nearly 350 development concepts recognised in Seoul last month with a $5,000 award from the Global Green Growth Initiative director-general and former UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon

From left to right: former secretary-general of the UN Ban Ki-Moon, co-founder of Cambodia Green Infrastructure Aaron Sexton, director-general of the Global Green Growth Institute Dr. Frank Rijsberman

Tell us a bit about Cambodia Green Infrastructure and what drew your interest towards problem-solving drainage in the country…
Phnom Penh is located at the confluence of the Tonle Sap, Mekong and Bassac rivers. The outskirts of the city are made up of wetlands and low-lying areas, and elevation across the city barely rises more than 10m. Much of the city has been developed on the alluvium deposits of previous flood events. Such topographical and hydrological features, combined with monsoonal weather patterns, result in Phnom Penh repeatedly suffering from storm water and flooding issues. Increasing population, urbanisation and rapid development continues to place strain and pressure on the city’s infrastructure, which is already considered to be working at capacity…. Flooding incidents cost the economy an estimated $6 million each month.

Flooding and storm water incidence are predicted to increase in urban areas across Cambodia unless action is taken. Cambodia Green Infrastructure [CGI] was developed out of a frustration of the impacts of flooding and storm water that continue to impact the city of Phnom Penh. CGI’s initial focus is to design and install bioretention systems in urban areas across Cambodia as a retrofit solution to this issue.

What does the current drainage system look like?
The drainage network is unified, old and operating beyond capacity. Open storm water drains carve their way through Phnom Penh carrying heavily polluted storm water and wastewater. These open drains flood the streets when monsoon downpours cannot be contained.

Our research suggests one of the major causes of flooding is the inability of storm water to access the subsurface as the streets are predominantly impermeable and the drainage system is often blocked with sediment or waste. Twenty-five lakes in the city have also been filled in as the development agenda is prioritised. Climate change is predicted to cause more intense and unpredictable storms across Cambodia. Flooded streets impact families, businesses, homes, transport and schools.

Commuters struggle through Phnom Penh’s flooded streets Photo: Thomas Cristofoletti

How will CGI’s system work?
Bioretention systems consist of areas of vegetated, shallow surface depressions that use the interaction of plants, soils and microorganisms to store, treat and reduce runoff.  The systems act to mimic the natural hydrological cycle by reducing the flow rate and volume of storm water. Bioretention systems are one of the most commonly used storm water control measures globally, and their benefits are well reported. They improve the quality of urban living by enhancing health, well-being and the environment. A city with green space is likely to have healthier citizens, reducing demands on services and therefore contributing to a stronger economy. These benefits are particularly important for economically deprived communities.

Bioretention tree pits, rain gardens or a bioswale may be a preferential installation technique, depending on the characteristics at individual sites. Vegetation will be selected to be tolerant of certain conditions and be chosen for its low maintenance attributes to keep costs down. Our research illustrates a wide variety of suitable vegetation is available from both within Cambodia and in neighbouring countries, which could be applied to different sized systems at many different locations over the city. Importantly, the systems function well on flat topography, which is a predominant characteristic in Phnom Penh.

What drainage systems is CGI competing with, if any, and what sets your system apart?
Investment into other larger-scale engineering projects is vast. Drainage and storm water solutions installed by JICA will exceed $662 million by 2035. The cost of maintaining and servicing drainage pipes is a huge challenge, and costs will continue to rise. The cost of annually maintaining the system is over $1.2 million. This maintenance includes the removal of sediment and waste that restrict the system’s ability to function. Bioretention systems reduce the amount of sediment and waste washed into the drainage network and therefore can reduce the massive annual expense associated with blocked drainage pipes. Our installations cost approximately $150 to $180 per square metre, compared to JICA’s project, which equates to roughly $5,500 per square metre. No other green infrastructure company exists in Cambodia at this stage.

What stage of development is your system in? Do you have any plans for expansion to other countries in the future?
We are just beginning and hope to be at installation stage within two months. Our ambition is to install 500 square metres in year one, increasing to 3,000 square metres installed nationwide by year three. Our focus is Cambodia, as we have expertise and experience in delivering projects in country, as well as having ambitions to reinvest capital into other green infrastructure solutions across the country. We believe there is a lot we can achieve, and we are excited about the future.