Posted on 13 April 2011

Read With For Not Laughing

My recent TIME story about crime, trash and traffic on the Indonesian resort island of Bali clearly struck a nerve. A government spokesman called it “harassment.” The chief economics minister saw it as part of an attempt to destabilize the country. The minister of tourism blamed the wind for the dunes of rubbish on Kuta [...]

Posted on 24 February 2011

I’m Tay Za, Fly Me

You own an airline. You’re mates with the head of one of the world’s largest armed forces. You’re immensely wealthy. How hard can it be to get a helicopter to rescue you from a snow-clad peak in northern Burma? Harder than you’d think. Two Burmese military helicopters reportedly tried and failed to extract tycoon Tay [...]

Posted on 24 January 2011

Two Tropical Gulags

Today, as Al Jazeera continues its daily broadcasts of “Thailand’s Tropical Gulag,” a documentary I co-produced with filmmaker Orlando de Guzman, I read two pieces of torture news. Please compare and contrast: In Indonesia, a military tribunal found three soldiers guilty of torturing Papuans. Horrific footage of this abuse was filmed and posted on YouTube [...]

Posted on 27 December 2010

You’ve Got Cholera

Haiti’s cholera epidemic took place some 10,000 miles from my home in Thailand, but I watched it unfold with more than just academic interest. I recently woke up feeling too nauseous to even sip water. Then diarrhea struck. A few hours later, weak and dehydrated, I was being wheeled into a Bangkok hospital, my blood [...]

Posted on 24 September 2010

A Dangerous Woman

I’ve just heard that Chiranuch Premchaiporn, editor of the news site Prachatai, has been arrested at Bangkok’s main international airport, apparently on charges of insulting the Thai monarchy. In March, Chiranuch (left) spent nearly four hours in a cage beneath a Bangkok courtroom while her bail was approved on previous charges under Thailand’s Cyber Crimes [...]

Posted on 15 September 2010

Meet My Photographer

When I first started out as a feature writer, I often took my own photographs. It earned me extra money, but I hated heaving around all the gear and found it tough to concentrate on reporting the story. I got good enough to realize how bad I was, and how long and hard even a [...]

Posted on 19 July 2010

A Fashion For Reporting

I’m midway through one of my occasional trawls of the world’s newspapers and magazines, searching for new markets for my work. It’s a dispiriting exercise. Every year publications seem to devote less space to hard-hitting foreign features and photojournalism, with one apparent exception. Women’s magazines are better known for fashion than foreign corresponding. But browsing [...]

Posted on 28 June 2010

Gunfire Etc.

I recently met a Filipino journalist in General Santos City who doesn’t carry a reporter’s notebook. What Joseph Jubelag carries is a “Reporter’s Notebook And Safety Guide”. It is distributed by the International News Safety Institute, a group set up “to help journalists survive the story”. The notebook is prefaced with advice on how to [...]

Posted on 20 May 2010

Voices from the Aftermath

Today, I walked through the near-deserted Rajaprasong protest site in a state of disbelief. I went to interview the last remaining Red Shirts—many of them women, children and elderly—who had sought refuge in Pathumwanaram temple as troops stormed this area of central Bangkok on Wednesday. With dozens of their comrades dead, and their leaders either [...]

Posted on 14 May 2010

Bangkok Safety Tips

Three journalists were among the dozens of people injured in today’s violence in Bangkok. Courtesy of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT)—which lies inside the Red Shirt protest site at Rajaprasong—here are some safety tips for reporters working in this increasingly dangerous city. I should stress that this is not an official FCCT comminique, [...]