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.

Trump-Kim summit / North Korea’s forgotten fighters in Vietnam

By: Tran Thi Minh Ha, with Jenny Vaughan in Hanoi - Posted on: February 22, 2019 | Current Affairs

A caretaker tends to the headstones of 14 North Koreans killed fighting in the Vietnam War, carefully sweeping around the plaques honouring Pyongyang’s little-known contribution to Hanoi’s anti-American crusade

Vietnam and North Korea
Vietnamese veteran Duong Van Dau cleaning the tombstones of North Korean pilots killed in aerial battles by US pilots during the Vietnam War at a war memorial in Bac Giang province. by Manan Vatsyayana / AFP

The bodies of the 12 fighter pilots and two technicians were buried here before they were repatriated in 2002 but the rarely-visited graveyard, bordered by rice paddy fields, remains a symbol of an era when Hanoi relied on Pyongyang for help.

Today Vietnam is one of Asia’s fastest growing economies and counts the US and South Korea among its closest allies – two countries technically still at war with North Korea.

Hanoi also maintains ties with Pyongyang and will next week host the second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

There is no word on whether Kim plans to visit the small, tidy memorial that caretaker and former soldier Duong Van Dau has looked after since 2000.

“They are martyrs who died for our country, so I have the responsibility to protect them,” Dau told AFP, standing before the headstones in northern Bac Giang province.

He sometimes visits the site to light incense or clean the headstones, all of which face northeast toward the fighters’ homeland.

“Vengeance!”

Pyongyang sent about 80 fighter pilots to support North Vietnam during the war between 1966 and 1969, when American bombers were pounding the north as part of the Rolling Thunder campaign.

The North Koreans never came face-to-face with any of the estimated 300,000 South Koreans – including several dozen taekwondo specialists – fighting alongside the Americans in the south.

But they dispatched psychological warfare personnel and propaganda experts, some of whom targeted South Koreans with anti-American leaflets.

“South Korean soldiers in Vietnam! Seek hundred, thousand vengeances against the American imperialist aggressors!” read one.

Though the North Koreans are believed to have shot down several American planes, their overall contribution to the conflict was marginal and they gained a reputation for being tough but not especially effective.

“They fought very bravely in the aerial battles, (but) they were generally too slow and too mechanical in their reactions when engaged which is why so many of them were shot down by the Americans,” said Vietnamese pilot Vu Ngoc Dinh, cited in Istvan Toperczer’s book “MiG-21 Aces of the Vietnam War”.

Though Vietnam today quietly honours Pyongyang’s wartime contribution, leader Kim Il Sung’s reasons for joining the fight in the aftermath of the Korean war were not totally selfless.

“By sending North Korean pilots and other elements to Vietnam, he was helping Vietnam stay in the fight and to keep the American forces tied down,” Jiyul Kim, assistant history professor at Oberlin College, told AFP.

Crumbling ties

As the war started winding down, relations began to sour.

Pyongyang initially resented North Vietnam’s willingness to negotiate with the US, and the allies continued to grow apart as Vietnam gradually embraced the West.

Relations hit a low in 1992 after Hanoi established diplomatic ties with Seoul, followed by a quarrel in 1996 over an unpaid rice shipment from Hanoi to North Korea at the height of its famine.

It took decades for either side to public acknowledge North Korea’s wartime contribution.

For Vietnam, ignoring this little-known chapter offered a more courageous narrative.

“It’s much more glorious to have beaten the Americans alone,” Balazs Szalontai, an expert on North Korean studies and Cold War history, told AFP.

It was only around 2000 that news of North Korea’s help in the war emerged and later that year a senior North Korean official visited the memorial during a trip to Vietnam.

The bodies were brought back two years later and remain in a war cemetery in North Korea along with others who fought in the Vietnam War.

In the years since diplomatic ties have gradually grown closer – though trade trickled under UN sanctions – a once-isolated Vietnam now stands as a potential economic model for Pyongyang.

Some Vietnam veterans hope the memorial will keep the memory of North Korea wartime involvement alive.

“When we are gone, the young ones won’t know anything about what the North Koreans did for us,” said 90-year-old Tran Van Nguyen, who lives near the site.

© Agence France-Presse