Same-sex practices in Aceh traditionally were not seen in contradiction with local customs (adat) and religion. It is ironic that in Aceh today, homophobic political and religious officials voice opinions that would be more intelligible to the condescending Dutch colonizers than to Aceh’s elite circles a century ago.
In their one-hour discussion, Pavin Chachavalpongpun and Maung Zarni, the Thai and Burmese exiles who co-founded FORSEA, draw lessons from the two countries’ vicious cycles of military coups – going back almost a century, in the case of the Kingdom of Thailand and six-decades in the case of post-colonial Myanmar.
Myanmar has just made headlines with its coup. Thailand and Myanmar are no strangers to coups. For almost a century, Thailand has been locked in a vicious cycle of military coups. Its counterpart in Myanmar, the Tatmadaw, has also been playing king and kingmaker alternately since the late 1950’s.
The Dialogue on Democratic Struggles Across Southeast Asia will shed light on how Myanmar’s Big Lie – democratic transition / “fragile democracy" – has gained currency worldwide over the last 10 years since Myanmar military rolled out its constitutional government lead by ex-general Thein Sein in 2010.
The abrogation of the UP-DND Accord means that the military and police can now enter UP campuses at will. The academic community now faces the prospect of armed military and police presence and constant surveillance. Schools and universities in the Philippines are under attack by a regime that knows no limits to its brutality and violence.
FORSEA, a Southeast Asia-wide network of democrats, scholars and rights activists, are deeply troubled by the news of Singapore arresting a small but unprecedented group of students who staged a LGBT-rights protest outside the Ministry of Education. We call on the authorities to release and drop all charges against these student activists, whose “crime” was a peaceful demand to repeal transphobic discriminatory policies and practices in Singapore’s schools.
The FORSEA Dialogue on Democratic Struggles Across Southeast Asia and Beyond: Inequality is an ever-advancing threat to the collective well-being of billions of people today. And yet we do live in a world with its unprecedented wealth which remains concentrated in a few hands. Ben Phillips, the author of and international campaigner, argues why winning the policy debate over how best to fight inequalities is no longer enough.