ASEAN and Myanmar Action on Rohingya Refugee Crisis Now Imminent

Jun 8, 2019 | Asia, Myanmar, NEWS

Will there ever be peace for Myanmar’s stateless Rohingya minority?

Compounded by years of international pressure and criticism, it appears that the embattled Burmese state is now opening up to the possibility of mediation with regard to the 2017 Rohingya crisis. Only two years ago, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fled from Myanmar’s Rakhine State as Burmese military cracked down on hapless Rohingya communities, citing terrorist activities and the need to defend sovereign soil.

With firebrands like Wirathu still spreading hate speech against Muslims, both Bangladesh and Myanmar face a continuing crisis that can no longer be addressed by simply refusing to acknowledge the problem in the first place.

ASEAN’s role

Recently an ASEAN-ERAT team was deployed to Myanmar to assess the current conditions at the Rakhine State, to pave the way for the eventual repatriation of the stateless Rohingya. However, the current clashes between the insurgent Arakan Army and Myanmar security forces have frozen repatriation efforts, and have made it doubly harder to accomplish a lot on the ground.

Kutupalong Refugee Camp - Bangladesh - DFID UK Department for International Development

Kutupalong Refugee Camp – Bangladesh | DFID UK Department for International Development

It is becoming a fortunate reality in Myanmar that an increasingly large portion of the public is acknowledging that something has to be done about the problem now, and the previous non-interference stance of the surrounding ASEAN community is no longer helping the crisis.

Rakhine and Kachin states under siege

Diplomatic measures, as well as a closer look on the more practical, domestic dimensions of the crisis are seen as areas where the ASEAN can help Myanmar. According to a combined statement by INGOs operating in Myanmar, including Action Contre La Faim and Relief International, up 95,000 people in the Rakhine State have been cut off from essential and basic services due to the on-going clashes between the Arakan Army and Myanmar’s military.

The northern Kachin State is also suffering from increased military operations, and the government has set negotiations with insurgents on April 30.

According to the Kachin Independence Organization, all the residents want now is peace, and to be able to return to their homes. On the Bangladeshi side, the government’s initial plan to relocate more than 100,000 Rohingyas to the island of Bhasan Char has fallen apart, as international groups insisted that the relocation should be completely voluntary on the part of the Rohingyas. Bangladesh is host to around 1.2 million Rohingyas, and now faces an uncertain political future because of the Myanmar exodus.

Under Pressure: Google to Start Paying for News Content

Google announced plans Thursday to pay some news organizations for content in a departure from its past practice following pressure from governments and media groups around the world.

Tan Mujiang: China’s Luxury Brand for Handcrafted Hair Brushes & Combs

With more than 1,500 branches worldwide, there’s no denying Tan Mujiang is pushing for the next frontier in the haircare world.  The luxury brand for Chinese hairbrushes is here to stay.

Top Asian Podcasts You Should be Listening to

Podcasts have soared in popularity over the recent years. This has made finding awesome content not as hard as it used to be. If you want to delve into this world, here are some great podcasts to start with.

The Best Asian LBGTQ Films to Watch this Pride Month

If you can’t attend Asian Pride parties and events, one of the best ways to celebrate is to check out movies that show an honest narrative about the Asian LBGTQ community.

DMZ Music Festival Returns for it’s Third Year in the World’s Most Guarded Demilitarized Zone

If you’re up for a music adventure of a lifetime, look no further. The DMZ Peace Train Music Festival held in the demilitarized zone of North and South Korea is the best way to experience peace through your favorite artists.

Top 5 Bars in Asia 2020 Edition

50 Best has just released its Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020 List. The publication intends to give the bars and their respective teams’ recognition for their hard work. It also aims to give positivity to the bar industry as establishments begin to open following the pandemic.

Fighting Racism with Art: Asian Artists Take the Lead

The effects of the pandemic are still greatly felt, but there’s one more problem that has escalated because of it: Racism. Asian-Americans adversely affected by xenophobia have spoken up. Hear what artists, influencers, and designers have to say.

WeChat Takes U.S. Museums to the Cloud

These are uncertain times. The pandemic has forced important institutions like museums to close its doors and transfer to a digital environment to increase engagement. WeChat has teamed up with museums to make this concept come to life.

Remembering Anthony Bourdain: “Food isn’t Everything”

A Man of the World and the Heart of Culture, the world-famous chef left an unforgettable mark that transformed food and travel forever,

Hyundai to Make Flying Air Taxis for UBER

Hyundai announced Monday it would mass produce flying cars for Uber’s aerial rideshare network set to deploy in 2023.

Meet LING: China’s First AI Virtual Influencer

China’s next superstar has finally made her official debut, but there’s a catch – she’s not a real person. Named Ling, the internet influencer and cultural inheritor is set to showcase China’s rich culture and soft power.

Ghosn Stunning Escape Sparks Outrage Over Japan’s Bail System

Updated as of 05/21/20 – Carlos Ghosn’s stunning flight while on bail awaiting trial has vindicated prosecutors who said he should have been kept in custody, and sparked calls to toughen Japan’s justice system that critics say is already overly harsh.

Shanghai Disneyland Reopens After Three-Month Shutdown

Shanghai Disneyland reopened on Monday following a more than three-month coronavirus shutdown as China moves nearer to normality and Walt Disney Co. seeks to plug the flow of red ink caused by the pandemic.

Pakistan Goes Wild for Turkish Drama ‘Ertugrul’

Dubbed the Muslim “Game of Thrones”, a drama about the makings of the Ottoman Empire has sent Pakistan wild this Ramadan, smashing television records but exposing the country’s lack of original content.

China and India’s Low-Tech Battle at the Border

India and China’s militaries have some of the world’s most sophisticated modern weaponry, but their deadliest scrap in over 50 years was fought using fists, rocks wrapped in barbed wire and clubs studded with nails.

The Problem with China’s 996 Culture

How did China’s 996 culture become a 007 for worker’s rights?

Demand for Virus Outbreak Genre Movies and Games Skyrockets

As the world confronts the spread of a deadly new virus, interest in disease-themed movies, games and TV series has exploded, with worried viewers turning to documentaries and disaster flicks for answers and ways to cope.

Streaming Giants Battles on for the Asia Market

Asia is seen as an important part of the global streaming industry’s growth plan. In conjunction with the main event, Busan International Film Festival also hosted its first Asia Contents Awards reflecting how the market is rapidly changing.

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident is Far From Over

Japan’s agricultural products and wild meats are still testing positive for radiation, eight years on.

Asian Transgender Models Transforming the Industry

Transgenders are finally moving onto the center stage in the modeling world after decades of rejection. Now that the industry is more open to beauty in all forms, these models can finally take over not just headlines, but also magazine covers.

Japan School Lunches Rated Most Nutritious Among Developed Nations

Japan manages a rare feat for a developed country when it comes to feeding its children — high scores for nutrition but very low obesity rates. One major key? School lunches.

Young & Working: Top Billionaires in India to Learn from

The majority of the billionaires in the world are self-made. These people are proof that it is not impossible to achieve a dream. Take a look at some of the Indian self-made billionaires that have cemented their empire.

Orange Beard is Trending in Bangladesh

From shades of startling red to hues of vivid tangerine, brightly coloured beards have become a fashion statement on the streets of Bangladesh capital Dhaka.

Sri Lanka Propose Tougher Penalties to Protect Elephants After Mass Deaths

Sri Lanka announced harsher penalties in a bid to protect wild elephants on Tuesday, as investigators probed whether seven jumbos found poisoned over the weekend were killed by villagers.

Virus Puts Hong Kong’s ‘McRefugees’ Back on Streets

Virtually blind and penniless, Leung Ping-kuen usually spends his nights dozing in one of Hong Kong’s many 24-hour McDonald’s but now finds himself back on the streets because of the coronavirus.

What Would Happen to North Korea if Kim Jong Un Died

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has not been seen in public for more than two weeks, missing commemorations for a key political anniversary, and reports he underwent a cardiovascular procedure have spiralled into speculation he could be incapacitated or even dead.

Death of Netflix Reality Star Sparks Calls for Japan Bullying Laws

The death of a young Japanese reality TV star targeted by online abuse has sparked an outpouring of grief in the country and calls for stronger measures to tackle cyberbullying.

Can South Korea be a Model for Fighting Coronavirus?

A rapid surge in coronavirus cases saw South Korea become one of the world’s worst-affected countries outside China, but it has since cut infection rates significantly and has one of the lowest fatality rates anywhere.

Chinese Could be Barred Entry to Taiwan Over Anti-HK Violence

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen warned Thursday that mainland Chinese who attacked Hong Kongers or damaged “Lennon Walls” could be barred from the island following a recent spate of such incidents.

Female Genital Mutilation Still Common in Indonesia

Take a look at why FGM is considered in Indonesia an important ritual

This LED Mask May Solve All Your Skin Problems

Korean beauty products are truly taking over the scene, and there’s one product that stands out among the rest – LED masks. Leading health and beauty brand Cellreturn is leading the pack with its convenient and ultra-effective products you can use at home.

Britain Agreed to Take Back 42 Containers of Plastic Waste Sent to Malaysia

Britain has agreed to take back 42 containers of plastic waste illegally exported to Malaysia, officials said Monday, as several Asian nations push back against becoming the world’s trash dump.

Dying To Be White: India’s Whiteness Complex

India’s fixation on whiteness is as old as the country’s history – but where is it leading now?

Taiwan: Tens of Thousands Join Pokemon go Safari to Catch ’em all

Tens of thousands of Pokemon Go fans descended on a Taiwan park Thursday hoping to catch a rare “Heracross” and other elusive virtual creatures from the popular game.

Get to Know Quibi, the Hottest Binge-Watching App Today

An all-mobile streaming app? Count me in! Quibi is the newest app to serve people on-the-go who can’t be bothered whipping out their laptops or TV to watch a show. Here’s everything you need to know about the app you’re destined to love.

Somber Start to NY Fashion Week for Chinese Labels

New York Fashion Week started on a gloomy note Thursday, with a Chinese designer showcasing its wares to a partially empty room amid fears the coronavirus could force labels from the Asian giant to cancel their catwalks.

Contemporary Indonesian Artists in 2019

Indonesia’s contemporary art scene is vibrant and alive – despite all the challenges that prevent artists from pursuing their craft

North Korea’s Water Park for the Elite and Wealthy

North Korea’s Water Park Open to tourists but with close scrutiny

Singapore Restaurant with ‘Catch Me if You Can’ Live Crab Stunt Suspended

A Singapore restaurant Thursday suspended a bizarre promotional stunt where customers use an arcade-style machine with a mechanical claw to catch live crabs after it sparked uproar online.

Indonesia Official in Hot Water Over ‘Pool Pregnancy’ Claims

An Indonesian official is facing possible sanctions Thursday after she warned women they could get pregnant by swimming in a pool where a man with “strong sperm” had ejaculated.

Vietnam’s Lychee Crop Not Bearing Fruit as Prices Slump

Hundreds of lychee farmers sorted and graded huge piles of the tropical fruit at a busy wholesale market in northern Vietnam on Tuesday, but many bemoaned slumping prices as foreign traders were held up in quarantine.

Radio Station Clapback Response to Netflix Snub on Malaysian Street Food

Malaysian radio station BFM 89.9 and advertising agency Fisherman teamed up for #BersatuForMakan, a call to unite for shared love of food, to celebrate National Day and Malaysia Day

Customers Desert South Korea’s Animal Cafes Over Virus Fears

A beige feline paces between two Gaudi-style columns at the empty 2 Cats cafe in Seoul, with upturned stools standing on the tables where humans sat to play with them in pre-virus days.

Nearly One Billion Confined to Homes as Virus Toll Nears 13,000

Nearly one billion people around the world were confined to their homes Saturday as US states implemented stay-at-home orders similar to those in Europe, and as deaths from the global coronavirus pandemic surged towards 13,000.

Apps Help Couples Find Privacy in India Where Premarital Sex Remains Taboo

A new raft of Indian apps which offer rooms to unmarried couples are helping overturn traditional norms in a country where premarital sex remains taboo.

RTHK Shut Down Hong Kong’s Oldest Satirical TV Show

Hong Kong’s oldest political satire show will air its final episode Friday evening, against a backdrop of pro-democracy unrest and fears that an incoming anti-subversion law will help Beijing trammel local freedoms.

Danish Newspaper Angers China Over ‘Coronavirus’ Flag

A Danish newspaper refused to apologize to China on Tuesday over a satirical cartoon it ran about the deadly new virus that has killed dozens and infected thousands more.

Singapore Apologize for ‘Positive’ Virus Text Message Error

Singapore has apologized to more than 350 people who contracted COVID-19 for accidentally sending them a text message saying they had tested positive again, the health ministry said.

‘I Feel Nothing’: Virus-Stricken Wuhan Buries Its Dead

As China’s coronavirus epicenter Wuhan awakens from its long nightmare, formerly locked-down citizens are beginning to reemerge, but for many, their first outdoor act in more than two months is grim: burying loved ones.

Snow Problem for Japan’s Ice Sculpture Festival

Every year, tens of thousands of tourists flock to the snow festival in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo, attracted by some 200 large, but intricate ice sculptures.

What is Chloroquine and Could it Cure the Coronavirus?

Could a pair of decades-old, relatively inexpensive drugs be the solution to the novel coronavirus pandemic?

BIGBANG, Rich Brian, Peggy Gou, Among Asian Artists Performing in Coachella

Legendary music festival Coachella recently released its 2020 lineup – its most diverse ever. Take a look at all Asian artists that will take the Coachella stage by storm.

Human Rights Watch Chief Barred from Entry to Hong Kong

China on Monday defended barring the head of Human Rights Watch from entering Hong Kong, saying non-governmental organizations were responsible for political unrest in the city and should “pay the proper price”.

Thousands Defy Mask Ban at Hong Kong Halloween Showdown

Hong Kong democracy activists donned Halloween masks lampooning the city’s pro-Beijing leaders on Thursday, defying an emergency law that bans face coverings and sparking renewed clashes with police.

Philippines: A Case of Hunger in a Country with Rich Land and Farmers

Why are some Filipinos starving and eating recycled meat?

K-Pop Star Jung Joon-young Convicted for Six Years for Gang Rape and Spycam

South Korean singer-songwriter Jung Joon-young was convicted Friday of gang rape and distributing videos of the assaults and other sexual encounters, and was jailed for six years in a scandal that has rocked K-pop.

The Rundown: All about China

With thousands of years of history, China has become one of the most fascinating countries to study. From its dynasties, culture, and wildlife, here’s everything you need to know about the Land of Dragons.

China’s Sci-fi Quarantine Watch with Robots and Cameras

Robots delivering meals, ghostly figures in hazmat suits and cameras pointed at front doors: China’s methods to enforce coronavirus quarantines have looked like a sci-fi dystopia for legions of people.

Indonesia: Kids Given Baby Chicks to Wean Off Smartphones

Officials in one Indonesian city have hatched a plan to wean children off smartphones — by giving them their own fluffy chicks to raise.