New Naratif's Southeast Asia Dispatches
By New Naratif
Southeast Asia Dispatches is a fortnightly podcast bringing you reports, interviews and commentary from New Naratif’s network around Southeast Asia.
Duterte’s War On Women, Workers and Farmers
Content warning: This podcast includes references to sexual assault. On this week’s episode, Jacob Goldberg speaks to Peter Murphy, chairman of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, also known as ICHRP. ICHRP is a network of organisations in the Philippines and in diaspora communities around the world working to inform the international community about extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses in the Philippines. Philippine human rights groups estimate that up to 30,000 people have been killed in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, and more than 400 have been killed in what appear to be politically motivated attacks. Almost every week, reports emerge of a new massacre, and almost always, these are coordinated attacks, and the victims are workers, poor people, fisherfolk, indigenous leaders and human rights defenders. In this interview, Jacob and Peter talk about how these killings are aimed at preventing leftist people’s movements and political parties from campaigning.
March 11, 2022
Communist Democracy in the Philippines
On this week's episode, Jacob Goldberg speaks to Professor Jose Maria Sison, who goes by the nickname Joma. Joma is the founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which has been waging a revolutionary guerilla war against the Philippine government since 1968. He is a controversial figure to many and a beloved comrade to others. The United States and the Philippine governments have designated him as a terrorist, while he lives in the Netherlands as a recognised political refugee. In 1977, he was imprisoned for more than eight years for organising against the Marcos dictatorship. Today, he continues to advise the CPP and its network of allied revolutionary organisations that make up the National Democratic Front, always pushing for the introduction of what he calls National Democracy—a democracy for the toiling masses of the Philippines, distinct from the “semi-colonial and semi-feudal society” that exists there today. In this interview, Jacob and Joma discuss the meaning of National Democracy and how to achieve it. In the process, there are some acronyms not every listener might be familiar with. There’s the CPP—the Communist Party of the Philippines; the NPA—the New People’s Army, which is the armed wing of the CPP, waging a guerilla war in the countryside. Joma refers to the GRP, which is the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, and to the SGRM—the Second Great Rectification Movement, which was an effort by the CPP in 1992 to correct its political course and identify counterrevolutionaries. Critics of the CPP say this process led to several assassinations, while Joma denies this.
January 21, 2022
New Naratif in 2021: A Year of Many Firsts
New Naratif founder PJ Thum and editor-in-chief Jacob Goldberg reflect on the tough decisions, impactful stories and blossoming team spirit that made 2021 our most memorable year yet.
December 17, 2021
Can Malaysia’s Cycle of Statelessness Be Broken?
Earlier this year, New Naratif published a piece about Wong Kueng Hui, one of the many stateless people in the Malaysian state of Sabah, and his decade-long legal battle to gain citizenship in Malaysia. In October 2019, the Kuala Lumpur High Court finally granted Wong citizenship. But this breakthrough only lasted for three weeks. The Malaysian government applied for a stay of execution on the order to grant Wong’s citizenship. Last month was the two-year anniversary of what could have marked the end of his ongoing struggle. On this week’s episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, we look at what has happened since. We hear from Wong himself, along with his lawyer, Haijan Omar, and Dr. Vilashini Somiah, executive committee member of the Sabah Human Rights Centre. We discuss Wong’s efforts to break the generational cycle of statelessness affecting him and nearly a million other people who live in Sabah. If you enjoy what we’re doing, please support our work by becoming a member of New Naratif at newnaratif.com/join. Memberships start at just 52 US dollars a year — that’s just one dollar a week. Or you can donate at newnaratif.com/donate.
November 05, 2021
Is Malaysia’s Parliament Dead?
On the 16th of August, Malaysia’s 8th prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin and his cabinet, who came to power via a political coup in 2020, officially resigned. At the time of this recording, the next prime minister is being selected by a secret vote by members of parliament via statutory declarations to the king. The next prime minister—the third in two years—will be just another product of a long-running political crisis. How can Malaysians enact meaningful change when politicians can so easily topple the government by jumping between coalitions? On this week's episode, Deborah Augustin speaks to Arveent Kathirtchelvan and Chong Yee Shan from Parti Sosialis Malaysia about the limitations of electoral politics and potential alternatives to this system.
August 20, 2021
Why Malaysia’s COVID-19 Aid Isn’t Reaching Queer Communities
Since March 2020, Malaysia has been placed under several movement control orders (MCOs) that restrict movement and business operations in order to curb COVID-19 infections. However, the MCOs have also resulted in rising unemployment, business closures and increased food insecurity. Cash aid from the government has been disbursed in several stages, with the next one only due to arrive in August 2021. As the country faces increasing economic difficulties in the wake of the pandemic, mutual aid funds have sprung up around Malaysia to provide food and cash aid to affected communities. However, LGBTQIA+ people face an extra hurdle when it comes to accessing aid. Fears of discrimination, being dead-named and an increasingly hostile environment toward queer people prevents them from accessing aid from public COVID-19 funds. In this episode, Deborah Augustin speaks to Nisha Ayub from SEED Foundation and Connie Connor, an organiser with the Queer Solidarity Fund, about the need for LGBTQIA+ specific mutual aid funds that are more gender-inclusive, and how the queer community in Malaysia has organised themselves against the backdrop of an increasingly hostile environment. For the sake of full transparency, we'd like to disclose that the presenter has previously donated to both SEED Foundation and the Queer Solidarity Fund.
August 06, 2021
Why Some Malaysian Teachers Are Paying for Students’ Mobile Data
Every so often, heartwarming stories emerge of educators and students alike overcoming hurdles in order for learning to continue, whether that’s a teacher travelling over 100 kilometres daily to reach students in rural areas, or a student who spent the night in a tree for better internet connection to sit for her exams. Stories like these tend to take off on social media because they represent a sense of triumph over adversity. But on the flip side, they also represent a societal failure to ensure access to education for all—a problem that has only been made worse by COVID-19. In Malaysia, students have mostly been learning online since the onset of the pandemic and online learning seems likely to continue through August before a gradual reopening of schools. For many students without regular internet access, this has meant falling behind with their lessons. A survey conducted by the Ministry of Education in 2020 with almost 900,000 student respondents suggests that 37% do not have appropriate devices for home learning—and those who do may have to share with others in their household. So while remote learning may be an inconvenience to some, it is a true barrier to education for many, especially those from low-income families. On this episode, Dayana Mustak speaks to Mazliza Mahmood, a teacher, and Chan Soon Seng, CEO of Teach for Malaysia. They talk about the educational alternatives available when a pandemic means in-person learning could put lives at risk and what help has been given to support students in need during this time. For more information on how you can help Mazliza's students, you can send an enquiry to email@example.com.
July 29, 2021
Undocumented and Unvaccinated: Malaysia’s Unequal Vaccine Rollout
Infection rates continue to climb in Malaysia’s latest wave of COVID-19 infections. National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme was launched in February, not long after it was announced that everyone would be included in the vaccination program, including undocumented migrants. However, the Malaysian government later reversed this decision and instead pledged to crack down on undocumented migrants amid a nationwide lockdown. This has led to the arrest of more than 500 migrant workers, bringing the number of undocumented migrants detained this year to more than 9,000. This U-turn by the Perikatan Nasional administration is unsurprising. Last May, the same assurance was given to undocumented migrants to coax them into coming forward to get tested for COVID-19, only for hundreds to later be arrested in raids by the immigration department. On this episode, Deborah Augustin speaks to Adrian Pereira from North South Initiative and Mohammed*, an undocumented migrant from Bangladesh, about how the Malaysian government’s decision to deprive undocumented migrants of vaccines endangers not only this marginalised community but also Malaysia’s chances of reaching herd immunity. *A pseudonym has been used to protect the guest’s identity due to fear for his safety. This interview was recorded on 14 July 2021
July 23, 2021
COVID-19’s Mental Health Impact: How are Refugees Coping?
This podcast includes references to suicide. These days, almost anyone you meet can talk about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed their lives for the worse. Salary cuts or a total loss of income, separation from friends and family, and long periods of isolation. It is no surprise that this pandemic has taken a toll on our mental health. But there are some groups who are not only more systematically vulnerable to mental illness, but have also suffered from a far more brutal experience than others. From heightened xenophobic sentiment, to being hunted down by the authorities during a nationwide lockdown and facing threats on social media, the refugee community in Malaysia have been forced to endure all of the same hardships as Malaysian citizens, plus an additional set of hardships stemming from their refugee status. Refugee mental health already received little attention or resources before the pandemic hit, so what kind of repercussions has COVID-19 had on this marginalised community? In this episode, Deborah Augustin speaks to Matilda Xavier, Clinical Psychologist, and Bo Min Naing, president of the Rohingya Society in Malaysia. They talk about the stigma around mental health in the refugee community, how they have been coping with it during the pandemic, and how some communities are affected more than others. If you are based in Malaysia and would like to speak to someone, you can contact: Befrienders: 03-76272929 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org For more information on Mentem Psychological Services, please click here.
July 09, 2021
Heroes by Necessity: Reframing Refugee Stories
When you hear the word “refugee”, what picture comes to mind? Is it an image of a boat full of people trying to find a safe place to stay, or is it a desolate refugee camp? Often, the narrative we have of refugees is that they are helpless. On this episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Deborah Augustin speaks to Monique Truong and Leena Al-Mujahed, two women who have experienced forced displacement and continue to face their circumstances and obstacles with courage. They reflect on the characterization of refugees as heroes and their vision for their lives and the society they want to be a part of. You can register for the Women in Displacement event, taking place on 26 June, 8 PM GMT +8 by clicking here. If you would like to learn more about the work that Leena does, please visit the Yemeni Refugee Women Association's Facebook or Instagram for more information. You can also go to their website yrwa.org to find out how you can support their work. If you would like to read Monique’s latest book, The Sweetest Fruits, you can find it here.
June 25, 2021
Why Are Politicians Afraid of Art?
Do politicians and rulers have anything to worry about when it comes to the influence of art in politics? This year alone, Fahmi Reza, a Malaysian political graphic designer and activist has been questioned by police five times for publishing his work on social media. Last month in May, it was for his satire piece depicting Malaysia’s health minister in a missing person’s poster. The month before that, it was for allegedly insulting the queen with a Spotify playlist. On this episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Deborah Augustin speaks to Sharon Chin, a Malaysian artist, about her thoughts on protest art and whether political satire is an effective tool when it comes to challenging people in power. New Naratif needs your support to survive. To be able to continue operating this year, we need to raise a total of US$226,336—that’s 4,353 new members. Please click here to join our movement to create a freer, more democratic Southeast Asia.
June 11, 2021
Thai Protesters Gagged and Released
After 10 months of protests, in which Thai people took to the streets to call for reform of the monarchy and the political system, more than 600 activists have been arrested and charged for their political expression. In 2021 alone, at least 30 people have been detained on charges of sedition or royal defamation. For months, most were denied bail while awaiting trial. But this month, the Thai Criminal Court started granting bail to 24 of the detained activists. However, most of the activists were only released on the condition that they do not participate in activities that might cause public disorder or damage the monarchy. This means they cannot continue expressing their political opinions. Meanwhile, seven activists remain in detention, with several now testing positive for COVID-19 due to the recent outbreaks in prisons across the country. A question remains: Is it worth getting out of jail when you cannot speak freely? On this week’s episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Yiamyut Suthichaya, assistant editor for Prachatai English, speaks to Sirikan Charoensiri from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights about the tension between the Thai constitution’s presumption of innocence and the Criminal Court’s criminalisation of political speech. This episode is a collaboration between New Naratif and Prachatai, an independent non-profit online newspaper in Thailand. You can find out more about how to support Prachatai at prachatai.com/support.
May 28, 2021
Why Do Indonesian Dictionaries Call Women “Whores”?
Language has the power to shape our understanding about the world. It’s a cultural, political, and psychological tool that impacts our psyche and the way we relate to people around us. But who gets to decide the meaning of the words we use? In the official Indonesian dictionary, the word “woman” (or perempuan) is listed among compound words that mean “whore”, “evil”, “mistress”, “pervert”, and many other terms that give the concept of “woman” a derogatory and sexualised connotation. The dictionary entry for “man” (or laki), on the other hand, only contains two examples of compound words: “masculine” and “courage”. On this episode, Dwitri Amalia speaks to Ika Vantiani, a visual artist from Indonesia who has been pushing the Language and Book Development Agency to revise the entry for “woman” in the Indonesian dictionary to have more neutral and inclusive connotations. Please note that this episode contains some foul language that some listeners may find offensive.
May 13, 2021
The Plight of Transnational Families in Malaysia
For more than a month, Malaysian authorities detained Nigerian national Simon Momoh even after he had paid a fine and served his one-day jail term for a drink-driving offence. Although a court has since ruled that Malaysia’s Immigration Department had unlawfully detained Simon, his detention and the threat of deportation brought to light the many challenges foreign spouses and transnational families face in the country. On this episode, Deborah Augustin speaks to Bina Ramanand, founding member of Family Frontiers and co-founder of the Foreign Spouses Support Group; and Naz, a Malaysian in a transnational marriage, to share their experience and to talk about the existing policies in place that affect these families. This interview has been edited for clarity.
April 29, 2021
Resisting Myanmar’s Coup With Civil Disobedience
On the 1st of February this year, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing launched a coup, aborting Myanmar’s five-year experiment with electoral democracy. The army toppled the civilian government a day before a newly elected parliament was set to take office. State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and hundreds of their allies were arrested. Since then, numerous ad hoc online fundraisers have materialised in the wake of the coup to support the Civil Disobedience Movement, whose primary tactic is to encourage civil servants to walk off their jobs until a stalled economy and an inability to govern force the generals to step down. New Naratif recently published a journalism piece on this, so please visit our website to check that out. On this week's episode, Jacob Goldberg speaks to 23-year-old Hein Aung Htet, about how the coup has affected him personally, his role in the anti-coup movement, and what those listening in can do to help. To donate, please visit this Instagram page for more information.
April 16, 2021
Undi18: Malaysian Youth Fight to Lower the Voting Age
In 2019, Malaysia’s parliament agreed to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, a move that was supposed to be implemented by July this year. However, a few days ago, it was announced that this will be delayed and pushed to September 2022 instead. This led to speculation about an impending general election, which many think will be called once Malaysia’s state of emergency is lifted in August. In response, Malaysian youths marched to parliament in protest on the 27th of March. On this episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Deborah Augustin speaks to Lim Wei Jiet, one of the co-founders of the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance, Malaysia’s first youth-driven political party, about their thoughts on this voting age controversy, the challenges the party has faced in getting registered, and the political climate for young politicians in Malaysia.
April 01, 2021
Our Mothers’ Land: Women Resist the Privatisation of Nature
On this episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Deborah Augustin speaks to Febriana Firdaus, an independent journalist based in Indonesia, and Leo Plunkett, a filmmaker and video journalist, about their recent documentary, Our Mother’s Land. The documentary looks at some of the women at the forefront of hundreds of rural communities that are in conflict with corporations seeking control of their resources. The film gives us a glimpse into how some of the women fighting against these issues have faced violence, the threat of imprisonment, and even death, as a result of their activism. Febriana and Leo talk about their experience documenting these stories and share their thoughts on the challenges women activists face in Indonesia when it comes to environmental activism, and how environmental issues overlap with women’s activism. For more information on where to watch the film and how to support the women involved, please visit New Naratif's website.
March 19, 2021
Empowering Refugee Youth Through Education
Refugee children in Malaysia are denied access to the formal education system. This leaves informal community-based learning centres as their only option. On this episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Deborah Augustin speaks to Htoi San Nhkum, director of the Kachin Refugee Learning Center, and Abeera Abdullah, a Fugee School alumni and the co-founder of Project Stand Up. They tell Deborah about their educational experience in learning centres here in Malaysia and the impact the pandemic has had on the informal education system for refugee children. To find out more, please read this article by Emily Fishbein and Jaw Tu Hkawng about how refugees in Malaysia are facing a widening school gap.
March 05, 2021
A Deep Dive Into Indonesia's Human Rights Anthem
Art and music have always been a part of social change and activism. They have the power to intervene in politics and create lasting impact. In Indonesia, Efek Rumah Kaca is an indie rock band who have been using their music as a tool to protest against government policies and to comment on other important issues. Their song, Mosi Tidak Percaya, (Vote of No Confidence in English), has become an anthem for civil demonstrations in Indonesia. The song can be heard playing in street marches, most recently at the Omnibus Law protest that took place last October and previously at the country’s criminal code protest in 2019. On this episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Dwitri Amalia speaks to Cholil Mahmud, the lead vocalist and guitarist of the band, about using their music to advocate against regressive policies, and the role of art and music in a democracy. You can listen to Mosi Tidak Percaya here.
February 19, 2021
Getting to Know Our New Editor-in-Chief
2020 was a bumpy ride, but we’re already excited for what 2021 has in store for us, starting with a new addition to our team. For the first episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches this year, Deborah Germaine Augustin sits down with New Naratif's new Editor-in-Chief, Jacob Goldberg, and talk about his direction and what members can look forward to under his leadership.
February 05, 2021
New Naratif's 2020 Year in Review
From internal changes to being called in for questioning, this year has been action-packed from start to finish for New Naratif. On the final episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches for 2020, PJ Thum and Deborah Augustin look back at the year New Naratif has had, the highs and lows and the lessons they’ve learned.
December 11, 2020
Behind Malaysia’s Drug Laws: A Family’s Ordeal
Like most Southeast Asian countries, Malaysia has extremely strict anti-drug laws that are often punishable by death. Filmmakers Loh Jo Yee and Hidayah Hisham delve into Malaysia’s criminal justice system with their upcoming documentary, Ayahku, Dr G (My Father, Dr G) which follows Siti and her 60-year-old father, who faces the death penalty for using medical cannabis to treat his chronic illnesses.
November 27, 2020
A Future Rooted in Our Forests
The Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve in Malaysia is an area that has an important role to play in conserving biodiversity. It is home to rare species such as the Malayan Sun Bear, the Selangor Pygmy Flying Squirrel and the rare Langat Red Fighting Fish. For the local Orang Asli or indigenous people, particularly the Temuan community, this has been their home for more than 150 years. So why has the Selangor State Government proposed to degazette 930.93 ha (97%) of the forest reserve for a mixed development project? An entire way of life will be directly impacted by the removal of this peat swamp forest. The Orang Asli Temuan communities rely on this forest both to survive and for its religious and spiritual significance. On today’s episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Deborah Augustin speaks to Shaq Koyok, a contemporary artist from the Temuan community about his thoughts on this.
November 12, 2020
In recent weeks, the Caliphate podcast produced by the New York Times has attracted controversy after its main source was arrested on terrorism hoax charges in Canada, raising questions about how journalists should report on the the so-called War on Terror. On this week’s episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, New Naratif talks to Noor Huda Ismail, a former member of Darul Islam, and a social entrepreneur, film maker and scholar. Having narrowly avoided a life of radicalisation, Noor Huda founded the Institute for International Peace Building, and runs a number of deradicalisation programmes that focus on deradicalisation through narrative stories and credible voices.
November 06, 2020
Doth Indonesia Protest Too Much?
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across Indonesia in recent weeks as tensions have risen following the passage of a controversial “omnibus law” on 5 October 2020 that demonstrators fear will destroy jobs instead of creating them. Demonstrators have clashed with riot police across the country, as the authorities deployed tear gas and water cannons in an attempt to quell the unrest. On this week’s episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Aisyah Llewellyn talks to Damai Pakpahan, the country representative of Protection International, and Dr. Ian Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Politics and Security Studies at Murdoch University. They discuss the recent protests, the historical background and impact of demonstrations in Indonesia, and what the future may bring with the upcoming regional elections.
October 15, 2020
Malaysia's Shifting Political Alliances
Last week, a senior Malaysian politician claimed to have the majority of support amongst Members of Parliament to form a new government. This comes as no surprise to Malaysians, who have watched helplessly as their politicians jumped ship to other parties throughout the year. Some of these defections resulted in a coup that took place in February. While Malaysia is no stranger to the phenomenon of party hopping, the constant shift in allegiances has led many Malaysians to feel like their mandate has been betrayed. Many are now calling for an anti-hopping law to be introduced as a solution to the political instability. On this week’s episode, Deborah Augustin speaks to Professor Wong Chin Huat, a political scientist working on political institutions and group conflicts about the feasibility of an anti-hopping law in Malaysia and the larger systemic issues that have led to these shifting political alliances.
October 02, 2020
The Plight of Indonesia’s Vulnerable Domestic Workers
In Indonesia, unclear work contracts, unlimited workloads and poor working conditions are just a few examples of issues that plague domestic workers. In a country with approximately 4 million domestic workers, is the government doing enough to safeguard their rights and well-being? On today’s episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Editor in Chief Aisyah Llewellyn speaks to Lita Anggraini, the national coordinator at the National Network for Domestic Workers Advocacy (JALA PRT), and Damai Pakpahan, the country representative at Protection International. They discuss the Protection for Domestic Workers Bill in Indonesia (RUU PRT), a draft law for domestic workers’ protection that has been stuck in parliament for over a decade and share the initiatives being taken to help them.
September 18, 2020
Will COVID-19 Change The Way We Protest?
The past few months have shown us that not even a pandemic can slow down advocacy or activism. Globally, people from across the world continue to mobilize against injustice. In the United States, activists have taken their grievances to the streets to fight back against police brutality and racism; in Hong Kong, the pandemic has not dampened the anti-government protests, while Thailand had their largest pro-democracy rally in years. These physical protests have been met with criticism or push back from the authorities. Malaysia is no exception. On today’s episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Deborah Augustin speaks to Danaletchumi Langaswaran from the National Union Of Workers in Hospitals Support and Allied Services, and Juana Jaafar, a women’s human rights advocate working in the field of communications. They discuss protesting during a pandemic, the obstacles they face and what this means for advocacy and activism moving forward.
September 04, 2020
Thailand’s Defiant Youth
Amid an ongoing state of emergency to contain COVID-19, young people around Thailand have taken to the streets to call for Prime Minister Prayuth's resignation and for systemic reforms. Protesters have even hinted at their dissatisfaction at the Thai monarchy, a taboo that can have legal consequences. The latest protest held on 16 August 2020 is now known to be the largest demonstration in Thailand since the military coup in 2014. On this episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches in collaboration with Prachatai, Anna Lawattanatrakul, assistant editor at Prachatai, speaks to Tattep 'Ford' Ruangprapaikitseree, secretary general for the Free People Movement and Nuttaa Mahattana, an activist from the We Vote Movement, about what led to these protests and the implications of a renewed youth movement.
August 22, 2020
Freedom of Expression in Myanmar
After winning the general elections in 2015, the National League for Democracy (NLD) became the first democratically elected, civilian-led government in Myanmar since 1962, which kindled hope that the country would see a significant shift in freedom of expression. Almost five years on, substantive changes have yet to happen. On this week's episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Adam Bemma speaks to Thinzar Shunlei Yi, advocacy coordinator at Action Committee for Democracy Development, and Maung Saungkha, executive director of ATHAN about freedom of expression in the country under the NLD government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
August 09, 2020
Youth Power in Malaysian Politics
In July 2019, the Malaysian Parliament passed a Constitutional Amendment to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. This amendment means that an estimated 8 million eligible voters will be added to the electoral roll. While many have celebrated the move to lower the voting age, critics have said that Malaysian youth are not ready for the responsibility of voting. On this week’s episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Deborah Augustin speaks to Qyira Yusri from Undi18, and Melinda Anne, a representative at Parlimen Digital, about their thoughts on youth political participation in Malaysian politics.
July 26, 2020
Activist Burnout: Fostering Sustainable Activism
During these uncertain and tumultuous times, activists have gone above and beyond to help the most vulnerable groups in our communities. But what happens when activists start to feel burnt out due to the stress, threats and trauma they face daily? On this week’s episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Membership Engagement Manager, Deborah Augustin speaks to Katrina Jorene Maliamauv from Malaysia and Veronica Iswinahyu in Indonesia about their experiences and the prevalence of burnout in activism spaces. They discuss how it affects an activist’s psycho-social well-being and the role of self-care in creating sustainable activism.
July 12, 2020
Myanmar's Trailblazing Podcaster
On this week’s episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Adam Bemma speaks to Myanmar’s trailblazing podcaster, Nandar. Last year, Nandar started the G-Taw Zagar Wyne podcast along with members of her Purple Feminists Group in Yangon. The name G-Taw Zagar Wyne comes from a nickname Nandar was given growing up in Shan State. It means a woman willing to speak up to share her ideas and begin a dialogue.
June 28, 2020
Unpacking Urban Poverty
In Southeast Asia, poverty is often associated with rural communities. As a result, conversations around urban poverty have largely taken a backseat in public discourse. On this week's episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Deborah Augustin speaks to Prof. Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria, chair of the Asian Solidarity Economy Council and Pete Nicoll from Reach Out Malaysia, an organisation that works with the rural and urban poor. We discuss their experiences in working closely with this community and the misconceptions surrounding this multifaceted subject.
June 14, 2020
Teaching Children to Cope With COVID-19
In the age of COVID-19, family dynamics have understandably shifted. As a result, we’ve seen more parents openly talk on social media about their struggles with balancing work, child care and self-care during this time. But children in particular may respond to this stress differently. On this week’s episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, our Editor-in-Chief Aisyah Llewellyn spoke to Louis, a science teacher based in Medan, Indonesia about how parents can help children cope with the changes brought by this pandemic. This interview was recorded last month and some of the particulars mentioned in this recording might be dated.
May 31, 2020
Citizen of the Earth: A Refugee Speaks Out
During the COVID-19 pandemic, society’s most vulnerable are at risk in several ways. Refugees and migrants in particular, whether documented or undocumented, face challenges such as having inadequate access to healthcare, reduced income and overall increased precarity. It becomes even more complicated when their host countries do not recognise their rights. On this week’s episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, membership engagement manager, Deborah Augustin speaks to a journalist, writer and observer about the rise in xenophobia in Malaysia towards migrants and refugees. We’ve kept our guest’s identity anonymous out of concerns for his safety.
May 17, 2020
The Age of the Journalist
Today is World Press Freedom Day. In Southeast Asia, journalists face both legal and financial challenges when reporting. But now more than ever, quality journalism is important to keep people informed and many journalists across the globe continue to do that despite the threat of the current pandemic. On today’s episode, our Membership Engagement Manager Deborah Augustin speaks to Aisyah Llewellyn, our Editor in Chief about what it’s like to be out in the field when most people are being told to stay home.
May 03, 2020
Surviving the Pandemic When Home is Unsafe
Globally, lockdowns are a key tactic to combat COVID-19. Phrases like ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ are used on social media to encourage people to stay indoors during this pandemic. But what happens when home isn’t a safe place for some people? On this week’s episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, membership engagement manager, Deborah Augustin looks at what happens when survivors of domestic abuse are forced to stay home with their abusers during a lockdown. She is joined by Tan Heang Lee, the Communications Officer of the Women's Aid Organization in Malaysia and Patricia Sue-Lin Knudsen, who is a co-producer and host of The Pool, a podcast series about and for domestic abuse survivors in Malaysia.
April 19, 2020
An interview with Effendy Aritonang, the National Director of Yayasan Fondasi Hidup
On this episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches: our Editor-in-Chief Aisyah Llewellyn talks to Effendy Aritonang, the National Director of Yayasan Fondasi Hidup - an Indonesian NGO based in Medan, North Sumatra. The foundation was created in Indonesia after the devastating 2004 tsunami, and today it works to address all forms of human poverty through education, healthcare and disaster risk reduction. As part of our Covid-19 coverage, Effendy talks to Aisyah about the work his foundation does and how you can help apply some of their methods to work in your local community.
April 05, 2020
An Interview with Benny Wenda
In August 2018, Febriana Firdaus (via skype) and Thum Ping Tjin sat down with Benny Wenda, a West Papuan Independence leader, Chairperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), and founder of the Free West Papua Campaign, to interview him about his life, his people's struggle for freedom, the Free West Papua Movement, and his hopes for the future.
March 07, 2020
Episode 20 — Lese Majeste in Thailand and reporting on the Rohingya crisis
Adam Bemma speaks to a Thai democracy and human rights activist about his arrest under the country’s lese majeste law and Victoria Milko looks at the difficulties of reporting on the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh.
December 16, 2019
Episode 19 — Rohingya refugees are still stuck in camps, two years later
This week, Victoria Milko visits refugee camps on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border around the two-year anniversary of an exodus of Rohingya from Myanmar (00:50), Kelly Anissa speaks to Malaysian students protesting against their university's involvement in a problematic event (16:54), and Kirsten Han reflects on the state of dissent and activism in Singapore (26:21).
October 22, 2019
Episode 18 — Domestic workers march for labour rights in Timor Leste
This week, Laura McDowell and Teodosia Dos Reis join domestic workers in Timor Leste as they march for their rights (00:50), Adam Bemma talks to political groups in Thailand trying to decentralise politics from the capital of Bangkok (10:12), Quinn Libson interviews researchers highlighting Facebook’s struggles with the Khmer language (17:41), and James Rose reflects on the weaponisation of the word “Rohingya” in Myanmar (28:37).
October 08, 2019
Road to Raqqa — Part Two
In 2016, 22-year-old Febri made a decision to move to Syria and live under Islamic State, better known as ISIS. In the final of a special two-part series for New Naratif, Deputy Editor Aisyah Llewellyn talks to Febri about reuniting with his family, the reality of life in Raqqa, and their journey home again.
September 18, 2019
Road to Raqqa — Part One
In 2016, 22-year-old Febri made a decision to move to Syria and live under Islamic State, better known as ISIS. In the first of a special two-part series for New Naratif, Deputy Editor Aisyah Llewellyn reports on Febri's journey to Syria and the reasons why some Indonesian families made the decision to join the so-called Caliphate.
July 31, 2019
Episode 15 — Bringing medical care to one of Myanmar's most remote areas
This week, Victoria Milko takes a look at how providers are bringing healthcare to the Naga Self-Administered Zone (00:50), Adam Bemma speaks to Hasan Al-Akraa, a refugee in Malaysia who uses social media to provide support to fellow asylum seekers (09:50), Mark Tilly talks to Hanna Guy of sustainable clothing label Dorsu Cambodia about conditions in the garment industry (17:06), and Kirsten Han argues that the lack of information about the death penalty in Singapore affects accountability and debate (23:52).
March 25, 2019
Episode 14 — Overcoming barriers as Timor-Leste’s first blind broadcaster
This week, Adam Bemma takes a look at the political parties running in Thailand’s general election (00:51), Laura McDowell profiles Timor-Leste’s first blind broadcaster (9:09), PJ Thum interviews Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch about Indonesia’s internet law (17:59), and Michael Tatarski reflects upon his experience covering the Trump-Kim Summit in Hanoi (26:31).
March 11, 2019
Episode 13 — From Singapore's old-school activists to the fishing industry in Thailand
This week, Kirsten Han invites us to lunch with Singapore's Old Left (00:52), Mike Tatarski looks at the effects of Vietnam's booming tourism industry (09:31), PJ Thum talks to Cambodian feminist Eng Chandy (15:47), and James Rose reflects upon efforts to clean up Thailand's fishing industry (25:17).
February 25, 2019
Debat Pilpres Kedua 2019
Joko Widodo dan Prabowo Subianto bertarung dalam debat capres kedua pada tanggal 17 Februari 2019. Wakil Editor Bahasa Indonesia di New Naratif, Aisyah Llewellyn membahas dengan Konsultan Editor untuk Kalimantan Nita Roshita Konsultan Editor untuk Sulawesi Ian Morse, dan kontributor Max Regus tentang debat tersebut dan isu energi, pangan, infrastruktur, dan sumber daya alam di Indonesia.
February 23, 2019
The Indonesian Presidential Election
Indonesia is heading to the polls on 17 April. Incumbent president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo with his new vice-presidential pick Ma’ruf Amin, an influential Muslim cleric. They're facing off against former army general Prabowo Subianto and former deputy governor of Jakarta Sandiaga Uno. New Naratif’s Indonesian team sit down to discuss the candidates, the hot-button issues, and their predictions.
February 11, 2019
This week, Jamie Fullerton visits an ethical elephant park in Vietnam (00:50), Victoria Milko brings us through the history and struggles of Myanmar’s ethnic minorities (10:39), and Adam Bemma talks about the cases of two high-profile refugees from the Middle East who found temporary shelter in Southeast Asia before being resettled in Canada (29:23).
January 28, 2019
This week, Adam Bemma speaks to LGBT rights activists working to establish an advocacy network in Laos [00:50], Victoria Milko visits a peace park set up by the Karen ethnic group in conflict-embroiled Myanmar [09:15], Aidila Razak speaks to a trans woman who left her home country of Malaysia to seek asylum in the UK [17:26], and Aisyah Llewellyn talks about her experience covering the December 2018 tsunami from Lampung in South Sumatra [26:01]. Photo credit: Teguh Harahap
January 14, 2019
This week, Teodosia Dos Reis and Laura McDowell attend the anniversary of Timor-Leste’s Santa Cruz Massacre (0:53), Teguh Harahap looks at the future of Kuda Lumping dance seances in Indonesia (12:00), Tehmina Kaoosji talks to MP for Batu Kawan Kasthuri Patto about ICERD and Malaysia (20:19), and Victoria Milko reflects on the lack of protection for women against violence in Myanmar (29:30).
December 10, 2018
Women in Journalism
Despite the large number of women going to journalism school every year, studies have shown that men continue to dominate the media industry and hold positions of power in the newsroom. At New Naratif, though, most of our editorial team is made up of women. Since there’s always been a lot of interest during our open meetings in how our editorial team works and how we find and commission stories, we recorded this special episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches to give everyone an insight into how we work! Our Chief Editor, Kirsten Han, sits down with Deputy Editor for Bahasa Indonesia, Aisyah Llewellyn, and Deputy Editor of Bahasa Malaysia, Pauline Wong, to talk about what they look for when commissioning stories, why they believe it’s important to push back against a media culture of breaking news, and their own experiences as women in journalism.
November 26, 2018
Southeast Asia Dispatches is a fortnightly podcast bringing you reports, interviews and perspectives from New Naratif’s network around Southeast Asia. This week, Victoria Milko talks to those fighting for freedom of expression in Myanmar [00:51], Adam Bemma hits the streets in Bangkok amid clean-up operations targeting street food vendors [07:18], Aisyah Llewellyn interviews Ian Morse about his experience covering the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi [15:21], and Kirsten Han argues that the mainstream media’s attitude hampers the push for press freedom in Singapore [26:00].
November 12, 2018
This week, Tehmina Kaoosji takes a look at the sustainability of the palm oil industry in Malaysia [00:48], Adam Bemma speaks to young Thai rappers pushing boundaries [07:00], Kirsten Han interviews a Singaporean performance artist upon his release from prison [14:34], and Stanley Widianto reflects on co-writing a piece about Indonesia’s notorious blasphemy law [23:51]. Hosted by PJ Thum. If you have an idea for a story, op-ed or interview, pitch us here! Feedback and suggestions welcome at email@example.com.
October 29, 2018
This week, Adam Bemma speaks to the wife of a community worker disappeared in Laos six years ago [01:41], Mark Tilly talks to architects about the development and urbanisation of the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh [09:18], Calum Stuart interviews Edmund Bon on the likelihood of Malaysia legalising medical marijuana [16:01] and Aisyah Llewellyn looks at why it’s so difficult to sort out Indonesia’s violent football culture [24:58]. If you would like to help with the relief effort in Sulawesi, Jakarta Post has this list of organisations who are accepting donations in the form of funds, goods and volunteer work.
October 01, 2018
This week, Adam Bemma speaks with a Syrian refugee stuck in the transit lounge of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport [00:51], Victoria Milko visits churches in Yangon trying to keep ethnic languages alive [07:32], Calum Stuart talks to Michael Tatarski about online freedom and the cybersecurity law in Vietnam [13:41] and Teguh Harahap reflects on his experience writing about LGBT “exorcisms” [24:58].
September 17, 2018
In this week’s episode, Kirsten Han visits a modernist building in danger of demolition in Singapore [00:48], Samantha Cheh talks to PJ Thum about anti-LGBT pseudo-science in Malaysia [10:25], and Febriana Firdaus examines the challenges faced by local journalists in Indonesia-ruled West Papua [21:35]. Hosted by PJ Thum.
September 03, 2018
This week’s episode includes a look at child marriage in Malaysia by Tehmina Kaoosji [00:48], an interview with Aisyah Llewellyn about her story on US-Indonesian relations during the Asian Financial Crisis [06:33], and a profile of Singapore’s “accidental activist” Roy Ngerng by Calum Stuart [17:39]. Hosted by PJ Thum.
August 19, 2018
A fortnightly podcast bringing you reports, interviews and commentary from New Naratif’s network around Southeast Asia. This week’s stories include educating child labourers in Myanmar with Victoria Milko, a new train line in Cambodia with Mark Tilly and Sineat Yon, and reporting on grief with Aisyah Llewellyn. Hosted by PJ Thum.
August 08, 2018