My Lai 50 years later


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50 years have passed since one of the darkest chapters of the Vietnam War (or, as the Vietnamese consider it, the American War).

The My Lai massacre marked a turning point in the conflict, with the reverberations being felt to this day.

The brief clips here and here, featuring snippets of interviews with two of the few men whose reputations and souls survived engagement with the event, captures the horrors of both the day and the war.

Not only that, the irreparable damage to both the people involved and the ideals of the US nation-state is laid bare as no Wikipedia page can convey.


Divorce in the Philippines


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An interesting article here on the link between divorce laws and poverty in the Philippines.

The summary? Poor Filipinos really do experience greater hardship in life than others…again. And again.

SOS from Sumatra


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That’s the distress signal represented by trees, a description that makes more sense after reading the article here.

I find it difficult not to be moved by the awful reality confronting Sumatra’s amazing wildlife and, in particular, the island’s great apes.

Sumatra is like nowhere else on the planet. Surely we humans can do better than this?

The 14th anniversary of Somchai’s disappearance


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Image courtesy of Angkhana Neelapaijit

To repeat what I wrote here a year ago today, for those readers concerned about human rights in Thailand today marks the 14th anniversary of the abduction and presumed murder of Thai human rights layer Somchai Neelapaijit.

An internet search will give you the basics of the story, but the Wikipedia summary is here while a moving interview with his widow Angkhana Neelapaijit from several years ago that I hadn’t encountered previously is here.

If you are interested in some more detailed (and rapidly ageing) sources my collection of resources here may be useful.

Once again…lest we forget.

Indonesia’s Kompas newspaper


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A richly illustrated story here (paywalled) on Indonesia’s oldest and possibly/probably most widely read newspaper, Kompas.

Indonesia is characterised by high literacy levels, and it is great to see Kompas continue to defy global media trends in quality and circulation figures.

Indonesian Twitter trends


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What is trending on Twitter in Indonesia as you read this question? Amazing that you ask, as I have the answer for you right now.

For Indonesia as a whole the top search terms are here, while if you are curious about disaggregating the data to individual cities that is available too for for Bandung, Bekasi, Depok, Jakarta, Makassar, Medan, Palembang, Pekanbaru, Semarang, Surabaya and Tangerang.

There’s a great many observations I could offer at this point, but I will limit them to a single comment.

At the time of writing the Palembang search results include at least two English Premier League football teams (and no AC Milan).

I suspect the data must be wrong here, as I expected to see the greatest team of all, Srivijaya, trending towards the top;).

Mt Sinabung


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Mt Sinabung in c1905

For those readers as fascinated with Indonesian volcanoes as myself, the story here carries the news that Sumatra’s Mt Sinabung has again flexed its muscles.

There is a great picture at the end of the linked article above, with other great photos here.

Mt Sinabung has a recent (in geological terms) history of eruptive misbehaviour and the pictures above inspire awe. Nevertheless, when compared with the gargantuan historic eruptions of its volcanic neighbours clustered around the Toba supervolcano, Sinabung’s pyroclastic displays are trivial indeed.