Columnnist

Johanna Son

Filipina journalist

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.

Johanna Son
11 Nov 2020

The pressure cooker that is Thailand

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.

11 Nov 2020 36
The pressure cooker that is Thailand
17 Sep 2020

Covid and the climate crisis in SE Asia

'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.

17 Sep 2020 15
Covid and the climate crisis in SE Asia
17 Sep 2019

Rohingya still a 'throwaway people'

The second anniversary of the Rohingyas' exodus from Myanmar has come and gone, exposing how Southeast Asia's biggest humanitarian disaster in recent times has become a festering wound that all see but cannot or will not salve, much less heal.

17 Sep 2019 2
Rohingya still a 'throwaway people'
13 Sep 2018

Not Asean enough

It's not China's bullying but the weak links gnawing away at its insides and undermining 'Asean-ness' that are the group's source of problems.

13 Sep 2018 9
Not Asean enough
20 Aug 2018

Philippines' hollow victory

A new book reveals details of the tense year of 2013 when Manila went for Beijing's jugular, filing suit and winning at an international court at The Hague.

20 Aug 2018 4
Philippines' hollow victory
28 May 2018

The certain uncertainty

Urban asylum seekers and refugees live in urban settings like Bangkok, but some rarely go out, wary of calling attention to themselves.

28 May 2018
The certain uncertainty
19 Apr 2018

The minefield of reporting the Rohingya

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.

19 Apr 2018 4
The minefield of reporting the Rohingya
26 Mar 2018

Asean's Rohingya

All signs indicate that most Rohingya refugees will be living outside Myanmar for good, with accusations of genocide hurled at Aung San Suu Kyi.

26 Mar 2018 5
Asean's Rohingya
9 Aug 2017

Threats to Asean

As the group celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding at Bang Saen, it should consider that the real risk of failure isn't from China but from itself.

9 Aug 2017 1
Threats to Asean
18 Jul 2017

The Philippines' headache over China

Asean and China agreed 15 years ago to have a South China Sea code of conduct but struggles to produce even a list of bullet points on what it should contain.

18 Jul 2017
The Philippines' headache over China