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Breaking down Southeast Asia's trends, conflicts and absurdities
Introduction
Based in Bangkok, I'm Global Post's senior Southeast Asia correspondent.

My job is to document a region in flux, where despots experiment with democracy (Burma/Myanmar), communists excel at capitalism (Vietnam) and cell phones are rife among peasants surviving on $2 a day (half of Indonesia).

Southeast Asia's importance is unquestionable. Its jungles and sea lanes supply China with energy and raw materials. Its factories supply the West with food and cheap goods.

Its modern appetites and old codes clash daily as Thailand's Buddhists pray for winning lottery numbers and Malaysia's Muslim mall rats color code their sneakers with their hijabs.

And as the U.S. and China intensify a diplomatic chess game from Laos to the Philippines and everywhere in between, Southeast Asia's strategic significance is set to surge.

As the "Pacific Century" unfolds, I'm attempting to help break down Southeast Asia's conflicts, trends and absurdities for a Western audience.

My work has also appeared in or on: The L.A. Times, The Village Voice, PBS, NHK Tokyo, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Atlantic (online), USA Today, Vice Magazine and many other outlets. My earlier career played out North Carolina's News & Observer and Gannett's Military Times magazines.

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Bangkok's first Waldorf Astoria designed to be protester proof.

If all goes to plan, the towers will rise over the intersection most associated with Thailand's modern-day protest violence: Ratchaprasong.
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In the eyes of a well-known Catholic "spiritual advisor" to top-tier Philippine politicians, becoming "worthy of the fires of hell" is rather easy.

You just call someone a "gago."
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What's pissing off Filipino dog lovers this week? A dog, in a sack, in traffic
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VIDEO: Indonesia's call-in karaoke radio.

Too broke for a karaoke outing? Croon over the airwaves for free.
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Vietnam fish farmer goes Scarface on 100-man police squad sent to seize his land.
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Global Post just published my report on a covert bomber cell that accidentally destroyed its own safe house. Moments after their hideout exploded, one of the members marched down a busy Bangkok street lobbing bombs at police, one of which bounced back to blow both of his legs off.

In summary, the cell is either a) an Iran-funded assassination squad dispatched to kill Israeli diplomats or b) agents of Zionist regime plot to malign Iran and forment conflict or c) none of the above. It all depends on whether you choose to believe Iranian officials, Israeli officials or, well, none of the above.
Photo: Bangkok bomber's gutted safe house
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Have them in circles
53 people
Bernard Lopez's profile photo
avesh ali's profile photo
AfricaBeauties's profile photo
Sophat Soeung's profile photo
Sample Resume Directory's profile photo
Guilin Tours's profile photo
Ian Mccabe's profile photo
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Barry Wilson's profile photo
 
As the 2012 US presidential race ramps up, President Barack Obama is already presenting Burma, Southeast Asia's pariah on the mend, as the premier example of a nation led out of the dark by America's bright moral light.
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In Burma, officially titled Myanmar, the creation of a new National Human Rights Commission begs the question:

Can an army-backed government really create a commission to help scrub away the stain of human rights abuses?

Even when those abuses were largely committed by the same army?
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Ta da. Won two awards for my "Burma Rebooted" series from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in the "investigative" and "explanatory" categories.

Global Post tied Bloomberg and the Financial Times for the most awards, ahead of the Wall Street Journal and CNNMoney.

Just skip to part three for the "investigative" reporting on censors, girls, booze and hip hop.
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Just got back from Karen army outpost in Burma.

The world's longest-running civil war isn't ending anytime soon.

In the coming days, I'll be writing more about the potential for pushback from armed ethnic groups if Western investors rush into post-sanctions Myanmar.
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Here's my full account of how an opulent Bangkok neighborhood got sucked into a covert Israeli-Iranian feud now spilling over into the world's capitals.
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Series from 2009 helps explain recent dog trafficking stings.

"Dog Meat Mafia" three-part series: Capture, Corruption and Conscience

"Long-haul trucks chug into town with stinking loads, bound for makeshift platforms on the Mekong. Though tarps cover their cargo, there is no mistaking it: the nuclear-strength musk of fur, urine and frightened animal. Each truck can carry more than 700 dogs."
Inside the seedy world of Southeast Asia's booming dog meat trade
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