Thum Ping Tjin (“PJ”) is a historian, and founder and Managing Director of New Naratif (www.newnaratif.com), a Southeast Asian platform for research, journalism, art, and community organisation. A promoter of democracy and human rights, he and his colleagues have been abused, harassed, threatened, arrested, and jailed, but they remain undaunted and unbowed. He is also founding director of Project Southeast Asia, an interdisciplinary research centre on Southeast Asia at the University of Oxford. A Rhodes Scholar, Commonwealth Scholar, Olympic athlete, and the only Singaporean to swim the English Channel, his work centres on the history of Southeast Asian governance and politics.
What explains the persistent popularity of strongman figures in Southeast Asia? Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen rules with an iron thumb. Thailand’s military junta is here to stay. Duterte was Trumpian before Trump was. And Mahathir is back! Throughout the region, there are persistent conditions – economic inequality, social malaise, and schoolyard patriotism – that […]
New Naratif is a values-driven Southeast Asian platform for longform journalism, research, and art. It was prevented from registering in Singapore by the government, on grounds that it “would be contrary to Singapore’s national interests.” On the occasion of New Naratif opening its Kuala Lumpur office, join founder and Managing Director Dr Thum Ping Tjin […]
Content transcends boundaries. Anyone with access to the Internet, is globally connected. Malaysian news coverage by foreign media outlets arguably played a pivotal role in the recent GE14, with their exposés on 1MDB – the biggest scandal the country has seen. Meanwhile, the local media won’t touch any ‘sensitive topics’ with a 10-foot pole – […]