Posted on 28 November 2015

Thailand rocks. And sucks. At the same time!

Thailand is rightly proud of its frequent appearances on lists of the world’s best islands, cities, restaurants and spas. These attest to the country’s enduring appeal to millions of foreign tourists, even as a military junta tightens its grip on power. But a slew of less flattering statistics says much more about the health of Thailand’s society and the [...]

Posted on 27 February 2015

Love, fear and loneliness: the burden of Rohingya mothers

My three-year-old daughter runs unsteadily down a steep road covered in wet leaves. “Careful,” I tell her. She doesn’t fall, but soon she is far ahead of me. I glance back to check on my son, then turn to see my daughter slip off the road and into a shallow canal. She lands awkwardly, striking [...]

Posted on 2 December 2014

Welcome to Northern Rakhine State – but watch out for ISIS

Northern Rakhine State in western Burma has been off-limits to foreign journalists for decades. Since 2011, when President Thein Sein and his avowedly reformist government took power, only a handful of us have ever visited the region. That’s a shame, because it’s hard to understand Rakhine State’s tortured politics and geography without going there. It [...]

Posted on 23 February 2014

At Thailand’s mosque for crippled Rohingya

We found Akram sprawled helplessly on a makeshift wooden bed in a village mosque in southern Thailand. His teenage body was malnourished and covered with fly-blown pressure sores. His breathing was rapid and shallow, and he gasped for breath as he told his story. Akram was one of about 25 Rohingya Muslims rescued from a [...]

Posted on 30 January 2014

In Yingluck Shinawatra’s unfazed wake

Yingluck Shinawatra is a soft-spoken, guarded, exasperating interviewee. Her answers, at least in English, manage to sound both rehearsed and rambling. But then she is having a bad week. I profiled Thailand’s first female prime minister for Reuters in the run-up to a February 2 general election that anti-government protesters have vowed to disrupt. Ten [...]

Posted on 19 July 2013

Burma through bilious eyes

In The Fight, his classic account of the “Rumble in the Jungle”, Norman Mailer arrives in Zaire to learn that George Foreman has cut his eye during training and the showdown with Muhammad Ali is postponed. This is just as well, because Mailer is suffering from “some viral disruption” and is in no shape for [...]

Posted on 28 March 2013

Murder and martyrdom in Thailand’s forgotten jihad

This is a photo of Mahrosu Jantarawadee, 31, a Malay-Muslim insurgent who last month led a raid on a remote military base in Thailand’s war-torn southern provinces. The marines stationed there were waiting for him, and Mahrosu and 15 other militants died in a hail of bullets and shrapnel. Peace talks begin in Malaysia today [...]

Posted on 31 December 2012

Jailing dissidents is not only a Burmese tradition

Ever heard of Tun Aung? I hadn’t until researching my recent Reuters special report on Myanmar’s year of reforms. Human rights activists claim his plight is proof that the country’s reformist government, like the military junta it replaced, still relies on repressive laws and secretive trials to silence perceived enemies. Tun Aung, a practicing medical [...]

Posted on 6 October 2012

Suu Kyi is in the House

The worst-kept secret in Naypyitaw, the eerily under-populated capital of Myanmar, is who lives in a new bungalow in its dusty northern suburbs. The house looks unwelcoming, and perhaps it’s meant to. It is painted a penitential shade of beige and ringed by a high fence topped with razor wire. “To protect against enemies,” said [...]

Posted on 16 June 2011

Double Trouble

A few years ago, I checked into a Rangoon hotel on the first day of a magazine assignment. Like most foreign reporters who visit Burma, I had entered on a tourist visa and intended to keep my true profession a secret. So I was shocked when the receptionist said, “Welcome back, Mr. Marshall,” and presented [...]