As Myanmar’s protesters and military dig in, can Asean, the US or China help the situation?

A month after the coup in Myanmar, protesters are digging in their heels – and neither they nor the military are going to back down, analysts say. With this in mind, they are predicting that the protracted stand-off will cause further instability in the Southeast Asian nation, even as Asean’s foreign ministers are set to meet on Tuesday in a first attempt to defuse the situation.What is now important, according to Myanmar watchers, is coordination within the international community – and…

Scepticism over China’s Sinovac jab as Philippines rolls out coronavirus vaccination programme

The Philippines began its long-stalled coronavirus vaccination programme on Monday, amid a spike in infections and public resistance to the use of a Chinese developed vaccine.Images of the head of the top state hospital receiving the first shot of one of the 600,000 Sinovac vaccines, which have been donated by China and arrived in the country on Sunday, were beamed live on the state television channel PTV to much fanfare.After his jab Gerardo Legazpi, the director of Philippine General Hospital…

Indonesia condemns Myanmar violence after bloodiest day of protests

Indonesia said on Sunday that it was “deeply concerned” with the growing violence in Myanmar and urged restraint by security forces, after at least 18 people were killed when police cracked down on protesters on Sunday.“Indonesia urges the security forces to refrain from the use of force and exercise utmost restraint to avoid further casualties,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.Police fired on protesters on Sunday in the bloodiest day of weeks of demonstrations against a military coup…

#MilkTeaAlliance springs to life as Thailand pro-democracy protesters march on Prayuth’s home

Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators marched on the army barracks home of Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Sunday in a procession filled with the flags and signs of the #MilkTeaAlliance, the trans-Asia movement of youthful protesters fighting back against authoritarian leaders.The protesters – mostly Thais, with some from Myanmar – gathered at Victory Monument in Bangkok for the noisy rally, the first organised for months by the Thai protest group Free Youth, which has rebranded…

‘Cina’ to ‘Tionghoa’: why do Indonesians use English to talk about the Chinese?

When President Joko Widodo in February extended his best wishes to Indonesia’s Chinese community for Lunar New Year, he referred to them as “Tionghoa”. The word is now used in the Southeast Asian nation to describe its Chinese ethnic minority group, yet it was only officially adopted in 2014 – and it needed a presidential decree, amid considerable controversy. It is not often that a language becomes the reason for a public debate. Yet this is what happened in Indonesia that year, following a…

In Thailand, death of a ‘pretty’ underscores dangers of life as a hostess

The death of a woman from a suspected drug overdose after a Bangkok party has underscored the risks faced by Thailand’s “pretties” – models-for-hire who offer services ranging from making appearances at sales promotion gigs, modelling at motorshows and hosting “VIP” parties, and who at each turn usually entertain male clientele in some form. The woman, Whitchayaporn Visessombut, known as Wa-Wa, was booked out to a VIP party in a Bangkok suburb late on Monday night and died at a local hospital…

German radio station apologises after host compares K-pop’s BTS to coronavirus

A Bavarian radio station apologised on Friday for a host’s comments comparing popular South Korean K-pop band BTS to the coronavirus, saying his choice of words had gone too far but was in no way meant to be “hurtful or racist.”The statement came after legions of fans accused the station’s Matthias Matuschik of racism for his comments on the band’s cover of Coldplay’s Fix You, taking to social media using the hashtags #Bayern3Racist, #Bayern3Apologise and #RassismusBeiBayern3 which translates…