Showing posts from June, 2013

Infographic: Disaster Stricken Region - East Asia Pacific

Disasters present a serious development challenge in the East Asia and Pacific region. Over the past 20 years the region has sustained 61% of global losses from disasters such as earthquakes and floods. And despite the doom, the World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim says the world can end extreme poverty and increase shared prosperity.
In the course of my outreach and travels, I do not see this happening, regardless what a group of intellectuals and smart-ass politicians say... at least not in my lifetime. The festering apathy, the overpowering devotion offered to the Institution, and total societal disregard for the poor and the marginalized, make the world blind to the core.

ThaiSouth: Outraged Narathiwat Residents Rally for Peace

Source: Khabar South Asia

Residents of Narathiwat staged a peace rally on Saturday (June 22nd), calling for an end to the violencethat has plagued the region for almost a decade and calling on fugitive insurgent suspects to turn themselves in to authorities.
The rally, held in Ra-ngae district, followed recent talks between the Thai government and leaders of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), considered one of the main groups behind the violent insurgency that has plagued the Deep South since 2004. Some 500 demonstrators, including Malay Muslims as well as Thai Buddhists, gathered for the event, which was led by Ra-ngae Association for Peace Chairman Mahamad Karik Pathan. Religious and community leaders from all seven Ra-ngae subdistricts attended. "What reason is there to divide up our homeland?" Mahamad told the crowd. "Islamic teaching tells us that he who takes the life of a fellow Muslim, or a believer of any other religion, is doomed to Hell. It is time for one and …

Prejudice and Self-Righteousness Fuels the ASEAN War on Drugs

The ASEAN foreign ministers at the 31st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in July 1988 signed the joint declaration for a Drug-Free ASEAN by 2020 that affirmed the association's commitment to eradicate illicit drug production, processing, trafficking and abuse by the year 2020 in Southeast Asia. Then at the 33rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in July 2000, governments reiterated their concerns on the threat of drugs and agreed to advance the target year for realizing a Drug-Free ASEAN to 2015.
The cultivation of poppy (opium) is focused greatly on Myanmar, Lao and somewhat in Thailand, but beyond that it is merely isolated, a small time industry within the region. Regular raids by Thai authorities have proven effective in short-term reduction of poppy cultivation within their borders and according to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report of 2012, opium poppy cultivation has increased in Myanmar 21,600 hectares in 2006 to 51,000 hectares in 2012, while in Lao it increased from…

ThaiSouth: Suspension of Hostilities during Ramadan?

Ramadan, the yearly observance of what is deeply ingrained in a Muslim's life, is around the corner. Its not just one of those times you will find that Muslims refrain from consumption from morning to sunset, rather it is norm that those who fast exercise control of their emotions, and thus perhaps obtain a measurable mastery of their mind and bodies.
A candid conversation took place this morning with a small group of my Thai Muslim friends, at best people feel comfortable in focus group discussions as sentiments of the largely ignorant society seem to be perplexed at the thought of Islam, Muslims and ThaiSouth.

Ramadan, what about it in the southern provinces of Thailand? Its these moments, when the leadership of militant groups and the blood-thirsty internet troll are pondering about the violence and whether people should call for a suspension for hostility or proceed with the bombings, beheading and riddling their targets with bullets.

Our conversations led to the conclusion th…

Marginalized Children in Bangkok Slums

We all know that children in slums are marginalized, primarily because of poverty. They face stigmatization by a society that merely sigh at the sight of them, or frowning when seeing barefooted children walking towards them with cupped palms, in the traditional Thai greeting.
Klong Toey has a population of one million people, both locals and foreigners, with makeshift houses built with planks, cement and bricks. Rusted zinc roofs, faded paint and some hut-like structures scattered as far as the eye can see. Congestion within these living quarters are common, two and three families are known to live in one house. Poverty, hardship remains firmly in the neighborhood.

One organization has planted itself in Klong Toey, a sprawling slum. The Foundation for Slum Child Care (FSCC).

A woman, in her mid-30s approached me, sensing perhaps my curiosity as I stepped into the center at Art Narong Road. Within minutes, we were sharing the situation of children and young people living in the slums,…

Bangkok Rapture, Seeing Past the Contradiction

Even as the rainy season pounds on the city, I make all excuses to venture deeper into this maze-like city of contradictions. Besides the overload of politics and talks of civil unrest, which at times tend to ferment beyond its natural scope of expectations, I limp forward.
Not that I care much for the radically-charged thoughts of both local and foreigners about their overzealous political views of this and that, I have a city to explore, one that I find fascinating. Politics, and the bloated street rallies have been annoyingly torturous to the senses, and sanity.
Rain, drizzling in one corner of a district, while at an other one can easily listen to the rapid explosive oaths of a Thai who was caught in a downpour. Flash floods are a common sight where roads have replaced the functions of drains and sewers. Wet wheels, vehicles inching their way in the traffic and frustrated cursing drivers. I have no sympathy for Bangkok residents who have always anticipated rain yet do nothing exce…

The Threat of Centralized Networks impose on Freedom of Speech

Eben Moglen speaks to YASSSU at the Re:Publica conference in Berlin in May 2012 about the threat centralized networks like Facebook and Google impose in terms of freedom of speech and government surveillance. 
Eben Moglen is a professor of law and legal history at Columbia University, and is the founder, Director-Counsel and Chairman of Software Freedom Law Center, whose client list includes numerous pro bono clients, such as the Free Software Foundation.

"A hundred years from now these questions will seem to be easy..."

Bangkok, a City within a City

A moment of apprehension, that quick intake of labored breath in a maze city. Shrugging these tired shoulders, an aching feeling of the lower spin, remind the need to gather cluster thoughts. Not one that awaken so disastrously late, tired dry eyes dispel the sensation and blistered feet continue the walk.
Sewing machine table, waiting for the tailor and sunrise.…
— Zashnain Zainal (@bedlamfury) June 5, 2013
A wet vendor selling corn at the roadside.…
— Zashnain Zainal (@bedlamfury) June 5, 2013
Rooftops, towering twisted pieces of steel and wires.…
— Zashnain Zainal (@bedlamfury) June 5, 2013