In Thailand, tourism’s decline keeps ‘sea gypsies’ afloat amid coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc across the world, but for Thailand’s “sea gypsies” it brought a welcome respite from the threat of mass tourism.Since the pandemic began, life has been easier for Sanan Changnam and his people – there’s an abundance of fish to eat and real estate projects on their ancestral land in the tourist hotspot of Phuket have come to a standstill.Thailand economy: has hope come too late for its crippling debt crisis?In the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea, connected to…

Singapore’s economy shrinks less than expected in third quarter, with ‘glimmer of light near end of tunnel’

Singapore’s economy recorded a milder contraction than expected in the third quarter, the trade ministry said on Monday, thanks to the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures and an uptick in manufacturing activity.In its fifth revision this year, the Ministry of Trade and Industry forecast that full-year gross domestic product would contract by 6-6.5 per cent versus its previous forecast of 5-7 per cent. It also projected full-year growth for 2021 to come in at a range of 4-6 per cent…

Coronavirus India: as online sex harassment against working women rises, some demand action

Remote working during the coronavirus pandemic has been traumatic for Sameera Kumar, a young executive with a financial services company in Gurgaon, India.She was a victim of virtual sexual harassment at work, which started with regular phone calls after office hours from her male team leader that went on for three months during the lockdown that started in March. Finally, she decided she had had enough and stopped responding to him.The tack backfired, however, as her manager then started…

The Philippines wants to outlaw child marriage. But in Muslim-majority Bangsamoro, change will be hard

Ayesha Merdeka wants child marriages to be a thing of the past. They aren’t an abstract concept to her – they are the reality she has lived with for more than three decades after her grand wedding at the age of 15 made a splash in newspapers and magazines across the Philippines.She is a member of a politically influential clan in what is now the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) – where most of the 3.8 million residents are Muslim, in contrast with the rest of the…

Coronavirus: why are Western countries like the US and Britain still not learning from Asia’s success?

While the French and English are barred from leaving their homes except for essential work, medical reasons, grocery shopping and exercise, South Koreans frequent restaurants, sing karaoke and drink at bars.As the United States watches daily Covid-19 cases near 200,000, Vietnam reports infections in the single digits.And as one Western country after another struggles to recover from its worst recession on record, Taiwan expects to exit 2020 without experiencing any economic contraction at all…

Travel bubble: Singapore requires on-arrival test for Hong Kong travellers after surge in virus cases

Hong Kong travellers landing at Singapore’s Changi Airport under the travel bubble from Sunday will now have to take an on-arrival PCR test for Covid-19, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said on Saturday.They will then need to self isolate in their place of residence for six to eight hours while waiting for the result, and will not be able to use public transport during that time.The change in policy comes as Hong Kong saw a surge in coronavirus cases a day before inaugural flights…

Lee family feud: Singapore court suspends Lee Suet Fern over misconduct in handling Lee Kuan Yew’s will

Lee Suet Fern, the daughter-in-law of Singapore’s late independence leader Lee Kuan Yew, was on Friday handed a 15-month suspension of her licence to practice law in a legal misconduct case that was among the key issues in the political clan’s bitter public feud.The Court of Three Judges, led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, is final and cannot be further appealed. The case was referred to the judges in February after a disciplinary panel found her guilty of improper conduct in directly…