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What COVID-19? Synthetic Drug Trade Thrives In Mekong Region

The synthetic drug trade is booming in East and Southeast Asia, where the 5 lower Mekong countries account for just over 70% of  methamphetamine seizures in 2020. Resilient syndicates are diversifying production and distribution, while methamphetamine prices are going down and helping push up demand in the region.

Vaccination in Southeast Asia: It’s Complicated

Resignation, frustration mix as Southeast Asians find that their countries are back in lockdowns. But vaccination is underway, covering larger proportions of people in Singapore and Indonesia, than in the Philippines and Thailand.

All Eyes on Vaccination Drive in Thailand

Thailand, whose pandemic management has earned praises, looks to do mass vaccination from June and produce vaccines for local use and for export.

Thailand In A Pressure Cooker

Thailand’s management of COVID-19 has earned praises. But as the pandemic persists, the country’s pre-existing challenges in development are starting to show – and cause worries.

For Urban Asylum Seekers, Uncertainty is the Certainty

A permanent state of uncertainty is how life is for asylum seekers and urban refugees in Bangkok and other Southeast Asian cities. Often invisible in the cities they live in, they cannot work legally and do not have papers to stay for long periods of time, even if the process of seeking asylum takes years, reports Johanna Son*.   

THAILAND: Could A ‘Cleaner’ Fishing Industry Set New Norms?

Cleaning up atrocious labor practices in Thailand’s commercial fishing industry won’t happen overnight, even as an International Labour Organisation (ILO) report documents both progress and persistent problems. But experts say reforms may well lead to new norms that other countries in Southeast Asia and beyond would be pressed to follow, reports Johanna Son for the Reporting ASEAN series.

 

When It’s All Black

In grieving Thailand, the abrupt and deafening silence is akin to that which follows the sudden switching off of loud music or the television. A visual environment so defined by black – and some grey and white – that it feels like someone pulled down a black-and-white filter across just about everything around. Johanna Son takes us around Bangkok in the days after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The Lady Comes Calling

The visit this week by democracy icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will certainly brighten the spirits of the Thai people and could also lift the profile of the Thai junta and Myanmar’s top leader. Yet Achara Ashayagachat of the Bangkok Post argues that we shouldn’t romanticize too much about “The Lady” and her capacity.

Thailand Being Left Behind by Neighbours

If Thailand were to regress from a democracy to the military-authoritarian rule of before, it would not look out of place in Southeast Asia’s mixed neighbourhood of absolutism, communism, and competitive authoritarianism. But the region is changing, leaving Thailand as the laggard, argues Thitinan Pongsudhirak in this ‘Bangkok Post’ article.

Thais Take to A New Language: Bahasa Indonesia

Indonesian has become a popular language to learn among Thais. This is a gateway to deepening intra-ASEAN linkages, a key building block for the socio-cultural pillar of the ASEAN Community. Sathapat Phaethong (@Sathapat_P) of ‘Sawasdee ASEAN’ programme reports from Bangkok and Jakarta in this TV report for the ‘Reporting ASEAN 2015 and Beyond’ media programme.

THAILAND: Firm on Protecting the Palm Oil Sector

The third largest producer of palm oil in the world, Thailand is facing domestic and international challenges in its management of the prized crop. Although oversupply, high costs and lack of competitiveness in terms of pricing are ongoing concerns, the country is adamant about protecting the sector, as Kornchanok Raksaseri of ‘Econ News’ finds out in this ‘Making AEC Work’ story, part of the ‘Reporting ASEAN:2015 and Beyond’ programme.

THAILAND: Unified Halal Standard Still A Big Issue in ASEAN

Thailand is a major exporter of halal products, but hasn’t found it easy to export to Indonesia, home to the biggest Muslim population and thus the biggest consumer base for halal products. Thai officials propose that ASEAN pushes for a unified halal standard, but this does not seem likely anytime soon,  explains Sathapat Phaethong (@Sathapat_P) of ‘Sawasdee ASEAN’ in this video report for the ‘Making AEC Work’ series, part of the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ media programme.

Sustainable Tourism, A Balancing Act

PATONG BEACH, Thailand, Nov 13 (IPS Asia-Pacific) – On a bright summer afternoon at this beach here in Phuket, Pinporn Teerarak, a 30-year-old female tour planner with tanned skin and sun-coloured hair, looks pensively out to sea.

‘Flawed’ Human Rights Document Would Hurt ASEAN – Activists

In this Sep.26 open letter, human rights activists argue that “serious flaws” in the draft ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, set to be adopted by ASEAN later in the year, must be addressed. If not, they say, the declaration would “not bode well for the reputation and credibility” of the ASEAN human rights mechanism.

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