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SSEAC Stories

SSEAC Stories

Author: Sydney Southeast Asia Centre

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SSEAC Stories is a podcast series produced by the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre at the University of Sydney. Experts join us in every episode to explore the latest research and share their insights on a wide range of topics pertaining to Southeast Asia.Visit our website for more information or to browse additional resources: sydney.edu.au/sseac.

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Fungal infections are amongst the leading infectious disease killers globally. They result in more deaths than malaria, and almost as many as tuberculosis. However, they are often overlooked, and receive less research attention and funding than viral or bacterial infections. Over the past decade, this has started to change as the emergence of resistance in fungal pathogens has caused global alarm. New, resistant organisms have emerged, and old familiar ones have become harder to treat - agricultural antifungal use is thought to be driving these trends. Dr Justin Beardsley spoke to Dr Natali Pearson about the problem of resistant fungal infections in Vietnam, describing how agricultural practices are contributing, and what can be done to mitigate the risks. Justin is a New Zealand trained infectious disease specialist and clinical researcher. From 2012 to 2017, he was based in the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City, where he was focused on fungal infections. There, he conducted a multinational randomised clinical trial into adjunctive steroid therapy for Cryptococcal Meningitis in Southeast Asia and Africa, alongside other work on the epidemiology of fungal infections, immune responses in Cryptococcal Meningitis, pharmacokinetics of anti-fungal drugs in the central nervous system, and temporal trends in cryptococcal drug susceptibility. His current research focuses on the emergence of anti-fungal drug resistance, especially in Southeast Asia. You can follow Justin on Twitter: @_jbeardsley_. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website: www.sydney.edu.au/sseac.
On 13 January 2020, Thailand confirmed the first known case of COVID-19 outside of China. As one of the world's most popular tourism destinations, with the majority of its travellers coming from China, this news came as no surprise. One year on, COVID-19 cases and related deaths have remained remarkably low in Thailand, and the country’s management of the pandemic has been hailed as a striking success. So what's the secret behind Thailand's COVID-19 response? Dr Anjalee Cohen joined Dr Natali Pearson to explore the many factors that have contributed to Thailand’s success in managing COVID-19 thus far, including the country’s long history of public healthcare, the overturning of medical elitism, the influence of certain cultural practices, and the critical role played by Thailand’s village health volunteers. Anjalee Cohen is a senior lecturer in the anthropology department at the University of Sydney. She joined the department in 2010 following research positions at the Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales. She specialises in medical anthropology and Northern Thailand. She has published on youth mental healthcare experiences in Australia, methamphetamine use among northern Thai youth, as well as northern Thai youth subcultures, including violent youth gangs. She is author of Youth Culture and Identity in Northern Thailand: Fitting in and sticking out (Routledge 2020), which explores how young people in urban Chiang Mai construct a sense of community and identity at the intersection of global capitalism, national ideologies and local culture. Her current research focuses on the role and success of Thailand’s village health volunteers in preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website: www.sydney.edu.au/sseac.
From drugs, communism and terrorism, and now the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines under Duterte can been characterised as a rolling series of security threats. To manage these threats, the Duterte administration has relied heavily on the military. So what is the role of the military in Philippine politics under Duterte? How does it compare with the role of the military in other Southeast Asian countries? And what does it mean for democracy in the Philippines? Professor Aries Arugay joined Dr Natali Pearson on SSEAC Stories to discuss civil-military relations and the erosion of democracy in the Philippines under the Duterte presidency. Aries A. Arugay is Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean for Research, Extension, and Publications in the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy from the University of the Philippines in Diliman. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Asian Politics & Policy, an academic journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Policy Studies Organization. His main research interests are comparative democratization, civil-military relations, ASEAN regionalism, and Philippine foreign and security policy. Since 2014, he has also been a regular lecturer and trainer of military and police officials of the Philippines in institutions such as the National Defense College, Command and General Staff College, and the Philippine Public Safety College. You can follow Aries on Twitter @ariesarugay. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website: www.sydney.edu.au/sseac.
For the next five weeks, SSEAC Stories will be hosting a mini-series of podcasts on research partnerships in Southeast Asia. In the context of COVID-19, it has become clear that working in partnership is a critical part of being able to do research in Southeast Asia. Through interviews with University of Sydney academics working across all disciplines and at all stages in their careers, this mini-series will highlight strategies that our members have used to build and sustain partnerships with collaborators in Southeast Asia. In our final episode in this mini-series, Dr Thushara Dibley speaks with Dr Elisabeth Kramer about her collaboration with Indonesian partners on tobacco control in Indonesia, the challenges she encountered as an Early Career Researchers, and how she shifted her approach to academic research to focus on positive impact on real-world problems in Southeast Asia. Disclaimer: This interview was recorded in December 2020. Some of the data mentioned may not be up to date. Dr Elisabeth Kramer is Deputy Director at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre at the University of Sydney. Her research focuses on the intersection between discourse, identity and politics in Indonesia. Current research interests include corruption, the tobacco industry and political empowerment for people with disabilities. You can follow Elisabeth on Twitter @liskramer. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website: www.sydney.edu.au/sseac.
For the next five weeks, SSEAC Stories will be hosting a mini-series of podcasts on research partnerships in Southeast Asia. In the context of COVID-19, it has become clear that working in partnership is a critical part of being able to do research in Southeast Asia. Through interviews with University of Sydney academics working across all disciplines and at all stages in their careers, this mini-series will highlight strategies that our members have used to build and sustain partnerships with collaborators in Southeast Asia. For our fourth episode in this mini-series, Dr Thushara Dibley speaks with Dr Fiona Lee about a unique research project she's been managing on cultural archives in Malaysia, where her research partner is also the subject of her research. In the podcast, Fiona mentioned that the ad was published in the mid-20th century; however, the correct date is 1934, as can be seen on the Malaysia Design Archive website: https://www.malaysiadesignarchive.org/advertisement-tiger-beer/. Dr Fiona Lee is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney. She researches and teaches in the fields of postcolonial studies, 20th and 21st-century literature, and cultural studies. Her research explores the history of decolonisation and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, with a particular interest in Malaysia and Singapore, through the prisms of literature and the arts. She earned her PhD in English and a Women’s Studies Certificate at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) in 2014. At CUNY, she taught literature and writing courses, as well as participated in various digital teaching and learning initiatives. From 2014-2016, she held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cultural Studies at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website: www.sydney.edu.au/sseac.
For the next five weeks, SSEAC Stories will be hosting a mini-series of podcasts on research partnerships in Southeast Asia. In the context of COVID-19, it has become clear that working in partnership is a critical part of being able to do research in Southeast Asia. Through interviews with University of Sydney academics working across all disciplines and at all stages in their careers, this mini-series will highlight strategies that our members have used to build and sustain partnerships with collaborators in Southeast Asia. In the third episode in this mini-series, Dr Thushara Dibley interviewed Associate Professor Jeffrey Neilson about a new collaborative project investigating sustainable agricultural production in Vietnam. He talks about the challenges of building relationships with partners you’ve never met before, beyond language barriers and closed international borders, and how this has had unexpectedly positive consequences for the project. Jeff's research focuses on economic geography, environmental governance and rural development in Southeast Asia, with specific area expertise on Indonesia. Jeff’s research interests are diverse and include issues of food security and food sovereignty, the global coffee industry, the global cocoa-chocolate industry, agrarian reform movements, sustainable livelihoods and alternative measures of well-being, agroecology, and environmental governance. He is currently leading a five-year research project examining the livelihood impacts of farmer engagement in value chain interventions across Indonesia. This research is contributing to cutting-edge international debates on the development effects of sustainability and certification programs, Geographical Indications and direct trade initiatives. Jeff is a fluent Indonesian language speaker and has conducted extended periods of ethnographic field research in the Toraja region of Sulawesi, where he pursues research in cultural change, landscape history, the ceremonial economy and oral poetic traditions. You can follow Jeffrey on Twitter @JeffreySydney. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website: www.sydney.edu.au/sseac.
For the next five weeks, SSEAC Stories will be hosting a mini-series of podcasts on research partnerships in Southeast Asia. In the context of COVID-19, it has become clear that working in partnership is a critical part of being able to do research in Southeast Asia. Through interviews with University of Sydney academics working across all disciplines and at all stages in their careers, this mini-series will highlight strategies that our members have used to build and sustain partnerships with collaborators in Southeast Asia. In the second episode in this mini-series, Dr Thushara Dibley interviewed Professor Michael Dibley about a collaborative project looking at food security and malnutrition in Myanmar - a country he had previously never worked in before, and where he had to rely on local partners to navigate an array of complex challenges. Michael Dibley is a Professor in Global Public Health Nutrition and an internationally renowned nutritional epidemiologist with major research outputs and translation over the past 30 years. Professor Dibley is Co-Director of the Global Health & Nutrition Research Collaboration (GHNRC) at the Sydney School of Public Health and the founding member of The South Asia Infant Feeding Research Network (SAIFRN). Professor Dibley’s contributions have illuminated the double burden of under and over-nutrition prevalent in many countries across the Asia-Pacific. He has conducted many large multi-centre trials and has in-depth knowledge of the conduct and analysis of large-scale community-based cluster RCTs. He has also directed research assessing the magnitude of childhood and adolescent obesity, micronutrient deficiencies in women and children, infant and young child feeding practices, and a wide range of associated environmental, social and behavioural risks factors and their effects on health in South and Southeast Asia and Africa. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website: www.sydney.edu.au/sseac.
For the next five weeks, SSEAC Stories will be hosting a mini-series of podcasts on research partnerships in Southeast Asia. In the context of COVID-19, it has become clear that working in partnership is a critical part of being able to do research in Southeast Asia. Through interviews with University of Sydney academics working across all disciplines and at all stages in their careers, this mini-series will highlight strategies that our members have used to build and sustain partnerships with collaborators in Southeast Asia. In our first episode, Dr Thushara Dibley speaks with Associate Professor Jenny-Ann Toribio about a ten-year long research collaboration that she’s developed with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Timor-Leste to combat animal diseases. Jenny-Ann is Associate Professor in Epidemiology at the University of Sydney. Jenny-Ann has conducted extensive applied research focused on biosecurity, emergency animal diseases and zoonoses in Australia, Indonesia, Philippines and Timor-Leste. Recent research of note in Australia includes evaluation of avian influenza risk for commercial chicken farms in New South Wales and risk awareness and risk mitigation practices among horse owners in relation to Hendra virus. Further afield, she has led collaborative research in eastern Indonesia on the evaluation of the risk for highly pathogenic avian influenza and classical swine fever with poultry and pig movement respectively; in Timor Leste on smallholder pig production and health; and in Fiji on evaluation of zoonotic tuberculosis risk for dairy farmers. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website: www.sydney.edu.au/sseac.
What exactly is an archive? Who and what are involved in the making and naming of memory projects as archives? What kinds of stories become told through archives, and what stories are muted? Dr Beth Yahp chats with Dr Thushara Dibley about her work with Malaysia Design Archive, exploring the inner workings of the archive-making process, and inviting us to pay closer attention to the everyday stories of objects around us. This conversation is based on Beth’s participation in a series of Living Archives workshops developed in collaboration with Dr Fiona Lee from the Department of English and Ezrena Marwan and jac sm kee from Malaysia Design Archive. Originally from Malaysia, Beth Yahp is an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction, whose work has been published in Australia and internationally. Her novel The Crocodile Fury was translated into several languages and her libretto, Moon Spirit Feasting, for composer Liza Lim, won the APRA Award for Best Classical Composition in 2003. Beth was the presenter of ‘Elsewhere’, a program for travellers on ABC Radio National (2010-2011). Her latest publication is a collection of short stories, The Red Pearl and Other Stories (Vagabond Press, 2017). Her travel memoir Eat First, Talk Later (Penguin Random House, 2015) was shortlisted for the 2018 Adelaide Festival Award for Literature (Non-Fiction). Beth teaches Creative Writing at the University of Sydney. Find out more about Malaysia Design Archive on their website: www.malaysiadesignarchive.org/ For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website: sydney.edu.au/sseac.
After decades of economic and political isolation, Myanmar’s rural economy is rapidly shifting from a narrow reliance on low-productivity agriculture, to a more diverse array of farm and non-farm activities. This transition poses urgent policy and scholarly questions for the analysis of inequality, livelihood patterns and food security among the country's rural population. Despite some gains, poverty, landlessness, access to non-farm job opportunities, and food insecurity remain significant challenges for rural Myanmar. Assistant Professor Mark Vicol caught up with Dr Thushara Dibley to discuss his work investigating the changing relationships between livelihood patterns, land, poverty and food security in Myanmar, arguing that in order to create impactful change, we need to rethink food and nutrition security and adapt to the local context. Mark Vicol is Assistant Professor in the Rural Sociology Group at Wageningen University, and an honorary associate of the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney. Mark is a human geographer by training and his research focuses on the intersections between rural livelihoods, smallholder agriculture and patterns of agrarian change in South and Southeast Asia. You can follow Mark on Twitter @markvicol. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website: sydney.edu.au/sseac.
As a Thai-Australian woman artist, Phaptawan Suwannakudt has long battled prejudice and discrimination relating to her gender. This disappointment with society’s dictates features at the heart of Phaptawan’s artistic practice. Spanning more than four decades, Phaptawan’s rich body of work includes paintings, sculptures and installations, informed by Buddhism, women’s issues and cross-cultural dialogue. Now her talents are on display on the global stage once again, in ‘The National 2021: New Australian Art’ from 26 March to 5 September 2021. In this episode of SSEAC Stories, Phaptawan Suwannakudt chats to Dr Natali Pearson about identity, power, and placemaking in the space in-between, recounting how she overcame hurdles to her artistic education and practice in what was once a male-dominated art scene, to become one of Australia’s and Thailand’s most prominent female artists. Phaptawan Suwannakudt (born in Thailand, 1959), is an internationally acclaimed Thai contemporary artist. She trained as a mural painter with her father, the late master Paiboon Suwannakudt, and subsequently led a team of painters that worked extensively in Buddhist temples throughout Thailand in the 1980s-90s. She was also involved in the women artists group ‘Tradisexion’ in 1995, and later in ‘Womanifesto’. Phaptawan relocated to Australia in 1996 where she completed a Master of Visual Arts at the Sydney College of the Arts. She has exhibited extensively in Australia, Thailand and internationally. Most recently, her work was featured in 'Beyond Bliss', the Inaugural Bangkok Art Biennale in 2018-2019, as well as in the 2020 Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts in Melbourne, Australia. Many of her works are held in public and private collections locally and overseas, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Gallery of Thailand, the National Gallery Singapore, and the Thai Embassy in Paris, among others. You can find more information about Phaptawan Suwannakudt on her website: phaptawansuwannakudt.com/. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website: sydney.edu.au/sseac.
Around the world, orangutans are widely recognised as an iconic species for environmental and wildlife conservation efforts. The rainforest in the Malaysian state of Sarawak is one of last remaining habitats of the nearly extinct Bornean orangutan. While conservation efforts have made the region a top priority for protecting orangutans, these efforts often sideline the indigenous peoples who live along the great apes. Dr June Rubis speaks with Dr Natali Pearson about her lifelong work in orangutan conservation, and reflects on mainstream conservation narratives, politics, and power relations around orangutan conservation in Sarawak and elsewhere in Borneo. In describing the more-than-human relations that link the indigenous Iban people and endangered orangutans, Dr Rubis encourages us to rethink our relationship to the environment, and to learn from indigenous knowledge to decolonise conservation and land management practices. June Rubis is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Indigenous Environmental Studies of the Sydney Environmental Institute at the University of Sydney. She researches Indigenous conservation and land management practices from a decolonial perspective, with a particular focus on Malaysian Borneo. Her recent project has focused on the human-environment and human-animal relationships within the multi-scalar forces of conservation in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. She is a former conservation biologist, with twelve years of conservation fieldwork and Indigenous rights issues in Borneo (both Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo), and was born and raised in Sarawak. She is currently the co-chair of "Documenting Territories of Life" programme with the ICCA (Indigenous Communities Conserved Areas) consortium. You can follow June on Twitter @JuneRubis. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website here.
Since it first arrived in Asia in 2018, African swine fever virus has caused a devastating pandemic resulting in more than a quarter of the global pig population being killed by this disease. As there is currently no vaccine or treatment for this disease, which has a nearly 100% mortality rate in infected pigs, a strong focus has been placed on preventative biosecurity measures. But this strategy has proved particularly challenging in Timor-Leste, where pigs often roam freely around villages. In this episode, Associate Professor Paul Hick speaks to Dr Thushara Dibley about his work reducing the impact of African swine fever and other animal diseases on local livelihoods in Timor-Leste. Paul Hick is an Associate Professor in veterinary virology at the Sydney School of Veterinary Science. Paul’s skills in field epidemiology and laboratory tests for animal disease are used to provide better understanding of complex multifactorial diseases across a range of farming systems. The goal is to reduce the burden of disease and promote ethical and sustainable animal production. Paul has 10 years’ experience studying disease in aquaculture in Indonesia where he aimed to help adapt to a food secure future through improved health, welfare and production of aquatic animals. Recently he has embarked on the new challenge of improving disease surveillance in Timor-Leste. A focus of these activities will be capacity building of the veterinary service to support diagnosis of disease and provide preventative advice for improved health, welfare and production. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website here.
Financial inclusion has been one of the most prominent issues on the international development agenda in recent years, as access to payments, remittances, credit, savings and insurance services have been shown to improve economic resilience and livelihoods. While bank account access remains low in many developing countries, widespread access to mobile phones is providing a platform to push financial access even into remote areas. The Covid-19 pandemic has only reinforced the importance of digital finance, which provides a safe, socially-distanced means to transact, including for distribution of social assistance transfers. In this episode, Dr Russell Toth spoke to Dr Thushara Dibley about his work on digital finance schemes and how owning a mobile phone can help lift people out of poverty in Myanmar. Russell Toth is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Economics at the University of Sydney. He is a development microeconomist, focusing on the development of the private sector in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, on topics such as financial systems, digitisation, agricultural value chains, and small and medium enterprises. His research often involves partnering with private and public sector organisations to evaluate programs intended to improve private sector development outcomes. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University. You can follow Russell on Twitter @russell_toth. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website here.
Long praised for their splendid plumage, birds of paradise are a rare sight only to be found in the remote rainforests of New Guinea and associated islands. They are among the earliest animals to have the inglorious honour of obtaining legal protection against their trade. While the trade in the species is more than a millennium old, it was only in the late 19th century that globalisation pushed some bird of paradise species towards extinction. In this episode, Jude Philp, Senior Curator at the Chau Chak Wing Museum, explores the dark history of the trade in birds of paradise, the destruction of their habitat, and the ways in which local people have tried to protect the species. About Jude Philp: As Senior Curator of the Macleay Collections at the Chau Chak Wing Museum, Jude Philp is interested in stimulating research into the collections and increasing the purposefulness of museum holdings through exhibition, research, and events. Jude's current research is in the world of 'British New Guinea' and the 19th-century practice of natural history for museums. She recently published Recording Kastom: Alfred Haddon’s Journals from the Torres Strait and New Guinea, 1888 and 1898 (2020, Sydney University Press) in collaboration with Anita Herle. In 2021, Jude will publish a chapter entitled ‘Circulations of Paradise (or How to Use a Specimen to Best Personal Advantage)’, in the book Mobile Museums: Collections in Circulation (2021, University College London Press, edited by Felix Driver, Mark Nesbitt, and Caroline Cornish). For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website here. Dr Natali Pearson is Curriculum Coordinator at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, a university-wide multidisciplinary center at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research focuses on the protection, management and interpretation of underwater cultural heritage in Southeast Asia.
COVID-19 has had such far-reaching impacts that it can be, and has been, studied from the perspective of almost any academic discipline. For geographers, the ways in which COVID-19 affects place, space and movement is particularly consequential. It is at once a global phenomenon, yet it also ties us to localities in a way not experienced for a very long time in our increasingly mobile and interconnected world. In Southeast Asia, the impact of COVID-19 has been particularly severe for migrant workers, who have found themselves un- or under-employed and sometimes stranded as economic activity has shut down and borders have closed. Professor Hirsch is part of a wide-ranging review of the implications of COVID-19 for migrant workers across the Asia-Pacific region, bringing in four main dimensions: what does it mean in terms of governance/rights, gender, public health and the environment? On the occasion of International Migrants Day on 18 December, Professor Philip Hirsch spoke to Dr Natali Pearson about the impact that the pandemic has had on migrant workers in mainland Southeast Asia, and how we can better protect this vulnerable community. Philip Hirsch is Emeritus Professor of Human Geography at the University of Sydney, where he taught from 1987 to 2017. He has written extensively on environment, development, natural resource governance and agrarian change in the Mekong Region. He is now based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Books published over the past 10 years include the (edited) “Handbook of the Environment in Southeast Asia” (Routledge 2017), (co-authored) “The Mekong: A socio-legal approach to river basin development” (Earthscan 2016), (co-authored) "Powers of Exclusion: Land dilemmas in Southeast Asia" (NUS Press and Hawaii University Press 2011) and (co-edited) "Tracks and Traces: Thailand and the work of Andrew Turton" (Amsterdam University Press 2010). In 2021, University of Washington Press will publish his co-edited, “Turning land into capital: development and dispossession in the Mekong Region”. Professor Hirsch is fluent in Thai and Lao, speaks intermediate Vietnamese and elementary Khmer. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website here.
As environmental emergencies go, the explosion of plastic waste is right up there. With global plastic production exceeding 300 million tonnes each year, the world has generally looked at it as an unsightly menace to be removed, but Professor Thomas Maschmeyer has gone beyond that idea. His work challenges our perceptions of waste, by turning plastic into an asset that people actively seek out to recycle because it can make them money. What he created might just clean up the planet and lift people out of poverty. Professor Thomas Maschmeyer speaks to Dr Thushara Dibley about his ground-breaking work developing catalytic technology that can recycle any kind of plastic and turn it into a valuable resource, and how he is helping Timor-Leste become the world's first plastics-neutral country. Professor Thomas Maschmeyer is Founding and Executive Chairman of Gelion Technologies (2015), Co-Founder of Licella Holdings (2007) and inventor of its Cat-HTRTM technology. He is also the Principle Technology Consultant for Cat-HTR licensee’s Mura Technologies and RenewELP. In 2001 he was one of the founding Professors of Avantium, a Dutch High-tech company. Most recently he was awarded Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation (2020) – Australia’s top prize in the field. He concurrently holds the position of Professor of Chemistry at the University of Sydney, where he established and leads the Laboratory of Advanced Catalysis for Sustainability and served as Founding Director of the $150m University of Sydney Nano Institute (2015–2018). In 2011 he was elected youngest Foreign Member of the Academia Europea as well as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) and, in 2014, of the Royal Society of NSW. In 2019 he received an Honorary Doctorate from the Universities of Ca’Foscari Venice and Trieste in recognition of his scientific and societal contributions in chemistry. He has authored 330+ publications, been cited 13,000+ times, including 24 patents. He serves on the editorial/advisory boards of ten international journals and received many awards, including the Le Févre Prize of the Australian Academy of Sciences (2007), the RACI Applied Research Award (2011), the RACI Weickhardt Medal for Economic Contributions (2012), the RACI R. K. Murphy Medal for Industrial Chemistry (2018) the Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science (2018), the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies’ Contribution to Economic Development Award (2019). For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website here.
Globally, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, with over 1 million cases detected annually. The disease is particularly worrisome in Vietnam, where breast cancer incidence has more than doubled over the last two decades, making it the leading cancer among Vietnamese women, ahead of cervical and uterine cancers. It has also demonstrated a high level of aggressiveness, with over 80% of breast cancer patients presenting with local or distant metastases, while only 28% of breast cancers in Australia were diagnosed in late stages. Thus mortality rates are twofold higher in Vietnam compared with developed countries. Professor Patrick Brennan talks to Dr Natali Pearson about his decade-long work on improving breast cancer detection in Vietnam. Professor Patrick Brennan is a leading researcher at the University of Sydney's School of Health Sciences. His research involves exploring novel technologies and techniques that enhance the detection of clinical indicators of disease, whilst minimising risk to the patient. His research has involved most major imaging modalities including X-ray, computerised tomography, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging, with a particular focus on breast and chest imaging. His research findings have translated into improved diagnosis and management of important disease states such as cancer, musculo-skeletal injury, arthritis and multiple sclerosis. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website here.
In her latest book, Projectland: Life in a Lao Socialist Model Village (University of Hawaii Press), due out in May 2021, Associate Professor Holly High argues that socialism remains an important consideration in understanding “the politics of culture and the culture of politics” in Laos. She contends that understanding socialism in Laos requires moving past the ideological condemnations and emotion-laden judgements that marked the Cold War era, as well as paying attention to everyday experience. In this episode, Associate Professor Holly High talks to Dr Natali Pearson about her decades-long anthropological fieldwork in rural parts of Laos, recounting little-known stories of life in a remote village in Sekong Province. She explores the role of the State in shaping local aspirations, world views and beliefs, as well as discusses notions of gender and how socialist values of equality, unity and independence have influenced the lives of women in one of Laos' model villages. Warning: This episode contains discussions of gender-based violence which may be distressing to some listeners. Listener discretion is advised. Associate Professor Holly High is Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Sydney. She has been researching Lao PDR since the year 2000. Her work has been characterised by long-term fieldwork in rural and remote Laos, where she studies everyday experience in relation to larger issues in Laos and the world. Her research has looked at poverty reduction projects and agricultural, cultural, and health policies. In 2020, Associate Professor Holly High was awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship for her work on reproductive health policy rollout in Laos. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website here.
Social media has become a crucial avenue for political discourse in Southeast Asia, given its potential as a “liberation technology” in both democratising and authoritarian states. Yet the growing decline in internet freedom and increasingly repressive and manipulative use of social media tools by governments means that social media is now an essential platform for control. “Disinformation” and “fake news” production is growing rapidly, and national governments are creating laws which attempt to address this trend, but often only exacerbate the situation of state control. In this episode, Dr Aim Sinpeng and Dr Ross Tapsell discuss their new book, From Grassroots Activism to Disinformation: Social Media in Southeast Asia (ISEAS Publishing, 2020), with Dr Thushara Dibley, and explore some of the more recent controversies surrounding social media use in Southeast Asia. Aim Sinpeng is a Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the University of Sydney. Her research interests centre on the relationships between digital media, political participation and political regimes in Southeast Asia. Aim is particularly interested in the role of social media in shaping state-society relations and inducing political and social change. Aim received Facebook research grants to study hate speech in the Asia Pacific (with Fiona Martin) and the effectiveness of countering misinformation strategies (with Denis Stukal). Her other scholarly works examine popular movements against democracy in democratising states. She is co-editor of From Grassroots Activism to Disinformation: Social Media in Southeast Asia (ISEAS Publishing, 2020). She is the author of a forthcoming book, Opposing Democracy in the Digital Age: the Yellow Shirts in Thailand (University of Michigan Press). You can follow Aim on Twitter: @aimsinpeng. Ross Tapsell is a Senior Lecturer and researcher at the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific, specialising in Southeast Asian media. He is the author of Media Power in Indonesia: Oligarchs, Citizens and the Digital Revolution (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) and co-editor of Digital Indonesia: Connectivity and Divergence (ISEAS Publishing, 2017) and From Grassroots Activism to Disinformation: Social Media in Southeast Asia (ISEAS Publishing, 2020). He has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, VICE and other publications in the Southeast Asian region. Ross is currently Director of the ANU's Malaysia Institute, and is involved in the ANU's Indonesia Project and the academic blog New Mandala. You can follow Ross on Twitter: @RossTapsell. For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website here.
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