Johanna Son, based in Bangkok, is a Filipina journalist and editor who covers issues relating to Asia and Asean. She has been based in Thailand for 16 years.
'So which wave of Covid-19 are you in?" is a question Southeast Asians ask of one another these days. A year after the lockdowns that their countries went into, many of them are, well, back in them again, even as vaccinations are underway in all countries in the region.
Thailand finds itself in a pressure cooker these days, dealing with pre-Covid-19 economic weaknesses, the lack of longer-term responses to the economic and social crises from the pandemic, and uncertainty about how much longer people can hold on before falling into poverty, losing jobs or closing small businesses.
'A global reset", "a sick planet", "health security" are huge, heavy phrases that have been swirling in the global psyche for most of this Covid-19-marked year. They speak of the "must-do-something" type of issues that weigh on the minds of people everywhere, including in Southeast Asia, as they hope for a post-pandemic period to come.
When the Myanmar Journalism Institute held a discussion on the Rohingya crisis, it had to be an "invitation only" event instead of a public one. In Myanmar media, it has become mainstream to avoid using the word Rohingya and keep some distance from a topic that is too sensitive and too risky for the political and financial survival of news outlets.