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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.

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Dhammakaya temple scandal / Scandal-hit Thai temple hosts thousands of monks for Buddhist ceremony

By: Thomas Brent - Posted on: January 22, 2018 | Current Affairs

Monks at the temple believed the accusations against the abbot to be politically motivated and so blocked the police’s efforts to find him by using their bodies as human shields

Myanmar and Thai Buddhist monks take part in an alms offering ceremony in Mandalay, Myanmar on 21 January 2018 Photo: Hein Htet/EPA

Thousands of Buddhist monks gathered in Myanmar’s second largest city for a Buddhist event put on by a Thai temple whose abbot is caught in the middle of a controversy over his possible involvement in a money laundering scam.

A sea of orange and burgundy saffron robes descended barefoot onto an abandoned airstrip on Sunday morning in Mandalay for the alms-giving ceremony, an event that the Dhammakaya temple has promoted as an opportunity to “tighten the relationship between both Myanmar and Thailand (and) unite the Theravada monkhood”.

Dhammakaya, a movement within the Theravada school of Buddhism, claims millions of followers in Thailand and around the world, and in recent years has forged closer ties with Myanmar’s Buddhists.

Being Thailand’s largest and wealthiest temple, Dhammakaya has also come to be well known for staging many of these attention-seeking ceremonies at its main complex, located just north of the country’s capital.

Last year, however, Dhammakaya was pushed into the limelight for separate reasons.

In March, a group of policemen surrounded the enormous complex – ten times the area of Vatican City – and began a siege to find the temple’s fugitive abbot to bring him in for questioning on his alleged involvement in a money-laundering scheme.

The police were then forced to give up their search for abbot Phra Dhammachayo after 23 days, as their invasion of the complex had prompted mass protests from monks and other meditating devotees.

The followers, the Straits Times reported at the time, believed the accusations against the abbot to be politically motivated and so begun blocking the police’s efforts by using their bodies as human shields.

Phra Dhammachayo’s whereabouts are still unknown, said Reuters news agency.

In response to the allegations brought against them, the wealthy Buddhist organisation posted a statement on their website last year, saying:

“Wat Phra Dhammakaya would like to state that all reports by the media that 1 billion baht [$31,380,000] of the money donated to Wat Phra Dhammakaya have been invested in company stocks or given to various individuals to invest in the stock market are completely false.”

Within Thailand, traditionalist Buddhists have often criticised Dhammakaya, considering the sect to be too embracing of commercialism. The temple, however, denies this and claims that all their money goes toward good acts.

Despite the ongoing controversy though, yesterday’s event proved to be a well attended spectacle, counting thousands of monks and lay people from Myanmar and about 100 monks and other Buddhists from across Thailand and Sri Lanka, Reuters reported.

Speaking at the event, local man Ven Ya Ma had only positive words for the temple and their work: “It’s such a wonderful ceremony. I live in Mandalay, and it’s never happened like this before,” the 40-year-old said to Reuters in an interview.

Ven Ya Ma also opposed the actions of the Thai police against the Dhammakaya temple, which he said was only promoting Buddhism worldwide.

“People are worried that Buddhism is in danger,” he told the news agency.

Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka are predominantly Buddhist countries, with most of their practitioners following the religion’s Theravada school.

Religious tensions within Myanmar remain fraught since two recent outbreaks of violence in Rakhine State forced approximately 650,000 minority Rohingya Muslims from their homes and into neighbouring Bangladesh.

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