China’s Moneybag Friends at Harvard University

China’s Moneybag Friends at Harvard UniversityThe level and sources of funding from China-linked tycoons and institutions for Harvard University is opaque and prodigious, and calls into question just how the dons at the US’s most prestigious educational institution handle the influence and remain unfettered academically and intellectually. Harvard is not unique in being a soft but influential voice on China…

India at Seventy

India at SeventyIt’s an easy copout when talking about India to say everything and the opposite are both true and correct. That has never been more so than when assessing the country’s performance in the 70 years since it became independent on August 15, 1947. Put simply, India is a huge success, tackling dire poverty, ethnic social…

Gay and Undocumented, Burmese Refugees Struggle in Thailand

Gay and Undocumented, Burmese Refugees Struggle in Thailand“Queer migrants” or LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) refugees from Myanmar – called as such because they had to leave their countries and go somewhere else to be able to live safely as themselves – have looked at Thailand as the ideal destination, with its louche, gay-friendly lifestyle. But in too many…

The Hornbill Hunters of Sumatra

The Hornbill Hunters of SumatraIn 2011, a Taiwanese businessman named Hsien arrived in Indonesia with a plan to make himself rich and in the process to systematically wipe out one of the world’s most majestic and rarest birds, the helmeted hornbill, Rhinoplax vigil, also known as the “King Hornbill”  in the provinces of Kalimantan and Sumatra. He has made…

Chinese, Malaysian Timber Interests Loot PNG Rainforests

Chinese, Malaysian Timber Interests Loot PNG RainforestsThe rainforests of Papua New Guinea are being looted by Malaysian and Chinese companies shipping the timber to manufacturing hubs in China, where products are finished commercially – and some of which were previously delivered to some of the United States’ biggest retailers in contravention of US laws, according to an exhaustive investigation by the…

Unending Punishment: Political Repression in Vietnam

Unending Punishment: Political Repression in VietnamOn July 30, 2012, the mother of political prisoner Ta Phong Tan burned herself to death at a government building in despair over her daughter’s imprisonment. This is the fifth anniversary of her death. This is what life is like as a prisoner of conscience in Vietnam: Isolation. Withholding of newspapers and letters from family,…

Floating Hospitals: Meeting Healthcare Gaps in Indonesia

Floating Hospitals: Meeting Healthcare Gaps in IndonesiaThe increase of Indonesia’s health budget allocation from 3.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product in the 1990s to 5 percent in 2017, totaling Rp104 trillion (US7.28 billion), is designed to alleviate some of the country’s healthcare delivery problems, with  75 percent of citizens still greatly depending on public health care. But one of the biggest…

Vestiges of a Friendship Between North Korea and Cambodia

Vestiges of a Friendship Between North Korea and CambodiaWith its white walls shimmering under the tropical sun and its yellow roof pointing towards the sky, the Angkor Panorama Museum could be an awkward shopping mall stranded on the outskirts of Siem Reap, the provincial city on Tonle Sap, 320 km from the capital Phnom Penh. Instead, it is a brick-and-mortar testament to the…

Disability Issues and the Lack of Data in Indonesia

Disability Issues and the Lack of Data in IndonesiaAid for the disabled has long been an intractable issue in Indonesia. Services and facilities are minimal, with the budget incapable of providing welfare pensions, according to a study by Inside Indonesia, formerly known as the Indonesian Resources and Information Program. Funds are inadequate to meet needs in health, education, employment and public access. There…

Tiger Emergency in Sumatra

Tiger Emergency in SumatraThe year-old Sumatran tiger male, nearly fully grown, wandered out of the old-growth forest in the Habaduan hills near Lake Toba near nightfall, leaving the family’s hidden den on his own for the first time. He glided downhill into the edge habitat of degraded forests and finally the plantations on the lower slopes –first bananas…
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