October 8, 2019

Youth in revolt: What Indonesia’s student protesters want

Between 23 and 30th September, Hamzah was one of the many thousands of students who protested outside Indonesia’s House of Representatives (DPR), reviving memories of the Reformasi period, which led to the fall of President Suharto just over twenty years ago. The latest marches were caused by widespread outrage over a slew of legislation that the outgoing 2014—2019 DPR either passed or were considering before their term came to an end, in what critics called an unseemly haste.
October 8, 2019

The Indians are coming – Southeast Asia best be prepared

In 2018, some 1.6 million Indians visited Thailand, compared to 10.5 million from China. While India was only the 6th-largest inbound market (behind China, Malaysia, Korea, Laos and Japan), 1.8 million of its tourists are expected to come in 2019 making India, Thailand’s third-most important source of visitors. By 2030, this figure is expected to grow to 10 million. What is driving this trend? Part of it has to do with India’s economic growth: average incomes have nearly doubled from INR63,642 annually in 2011—2012 to INR125,000 in 2018—2019.
October 8, 2019

From scream queen to green queen

Dubbed Malaysia’s unofficial ‘Environment Minister’; actress-turned-activist Maya Karin articulates the frustration of the millions who resent how the few have destroyed precious biodiversity and ruined the country’s environment. Southeast Asians have witnessed over 200,000 hectares of forest and peatland burn across Indonesia, which led to thick smog and unhealthy readings of the Air Quality Index (AQI) in neighbouring countries. People are growing angry and impatient. Could this be the turning point?
October 8, 2019

The life and legacy of Indonesia’s B.J. Habibie

He was a quintessential product of Soeharto’s ‘New Order’. He had been a loyal two decade-long Cabinet minister and a much promoted, admired and protected protege. Nonetheless, from May 1998 for seventeen intense months, as Indonesia crumpled under the onslaught of the Asian Financial Crisis (AFC) and political turmoil, Bacharuddin Jusuf (or BJ) Habibie as the newly sworn-in President blithely dismantled his mentor’s authoritarian legacy.