Dear readers,

LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre (SEAC) is happy to share the news that we have launched a new LSE-based blog, titled LSE Southeast Asia Blog. You can access the new blog here: blogs.lse.ac.uk/seac.

While the previous posts on Medium are all accessible at LSE Southeast Asia Blog, you can also read a series of contributions related to SEAC’s COVID-19 and Southeast Asia project as well as other new posts analysing and debating the Southeast Asia region’s critical and pressing issues.

We are looking forward to keeping engaging with you at the new LSE Southeast Asia Blog.

Best wishes,

SEAC Team


Image Source: ADB (2020)

“People quickly organised initiatives to move this food from rural areas to supply urban communities in lockdown. As part of the pandemic’s altered food systems, these new relationships may prove durable”, writes Dr Deirdre McKay, Reader in Social Geography and Environmental Politics at Keele University

We have seen public responses to the COVID19 pandemic intensify mutual aid initiatives around the world. In the cities, facing food shortages, neighbours work together to help each other out with groceries and errands. In the countryside, as established markets collapsed, crops began to rot in the fields. People quickly organised initiatives to move this…


“With governments and economic powers eager to get back into gear through “new normal” narratives, existing social inequalities and environmental issues would remain unsolved. They would also affect the spaces of citizens’ collective actions, which need to continue evolving to sustain the momentum”, writes Dr Rita Padawangi, Senior Lecturer at Singapore University of Social Sciences.

Developments of infrastructures and quarantine systems, which eventually became the norm after historic pandemics, were the “new normal” when they were introduced post-pandemic. Past pandemics have shaped modern cities through their infrastructures, such as the modern sewerage system introduced in response to the cholera outbreaks…


“Who should decide what is the common good for a city? Is smart technology an ideal platform where dialogues on the common good can be pursued?”. Dr Suraya Ismail, Director of Research, Khazanah Research Institute, Kuala Lumpur, writes on the complexities of smart urbanism in the context of the Greater Kuala Lumpur conurbation.

Why invest in smart cities?

Cities and urban environments are inherently diverse in terms of population densities and economic agglomerations as well as variations in institutional frameworks and governance structures. In this sense problems encountered might follow common themes such as infrastructural (congested roads and flash floods)…


“COVID-19 has caught many cities unprepared due to existing structural inequities and past institutional neglect”, writes Roger Keil, Professor at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University in Toronto

I live in Toronto, which shared the SARS experience in 2003 with Hong Kong and Singapore. S. Harris Ali and I did research at the time on the relationships of SARS and the global city which ultimately laid the foundation for the work we have been doing on cities and disease since. In 2003 we argued that SARS was a disease that revealed the connectivity of the global cities network in…


“Even in wealthy cities like Singapore, the poorest sectors of the population often have an inability to self-isolate due to dense living conditions and are thus at higher risk of contracting and spreading diseases”, writes Dr Creighton Connolly, Senior Lecturer in Development Studies and the Global South in the School of Geography at the University of Lincoln

Most of the recent pandemics and major epidemics in the world, from SARS to H1N1, to Ebola, Zika and now COVID-19 emerged in cities, and were largely transmitted in cities. Previous research has shown that dramatic changes in demographic and social conditions, including…


Human Rights as the Foundation of Good Governance: The Ironies of the Philippine Experience

“Confronted by these challenges and difficulties, human rights defenders in the Philippines have taken steps to muster all possible support targeting various sectors in Philippine society”, writes Dr Nymia Pimentel Simbulan, Professor and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of the Philippines Manila and Executive Director of Philippines Human Rights Information Centre (PhilRights).

The Rise of Populist, Autocratic, Strongman Regimes

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”
Nelson Mandela

The intersection of good governance and human rights is critical in the…


“The situation is nowhere near as dire as what is commonly portrayed in the popular press”, writes Dr Guanie Lim, Research Fellow at the Nanyang Centre for Public Administration, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Is China buying up Southeast Asia? This is the million dollar question facing our generation and it is worthwhile to devote some attention into unpacking it. To this end, I examine Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) entering Southeast Asia along two dimensions: quantity and quality.

Firstly, the quantity of Chinese FDI is not as ‘big’ as what is commonly mentioned in the popular press. In terms of…


By Prof Tim Forsyth|23 January 2019 on LSE SEAC

*All articles posted on this blog give the views of the author(s), and not the position of LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre, nor of the LSE*

Flickr Creative Commons: Shubert Ciencia

Environmentalism can be a force for democratization by challenging destructive state practices or putting pressure on governments to undertake regulation. These trends have been seen in Thailand, where popular protests during the 1980s ended a plan to build a dam in the rainforests near the Burmese border and led to a national logging ban. These protests were successful outcomes of environmentalism. …


By Yee Kuang Heng|10 August 2018 on LSE SEAC

*All articles posted on this blog give the views of the author(s), and not the position of LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre, nor of the LSE*

“Japan is back” — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has consistently drummed home a key message that Japan under his watch will never be a second-tier power.

Flickr Creative Commons: #G7Charlevoix, _FL92433

Key to this is the revival of economic growth. Economic growth would not only stem perceptions of a declining and ageing Japan overseas, it would also in Abe’s mind stimulate a greater sense of optimism and a…

LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre blog

*All articles posted on this blog give the views of the author(s), and not the position of LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre, nor of the LSE*

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store