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22.05.20 - 28.05.20 Sup SEAkers!


The construction of a 17.44km-long tunnel on the Laos-China railway was completed in Southwest China's Yunan province.



This Week's News Spotlight:

Brunei braces for ‘new normal’ Hari Raya festivities | Cambodia has nearly $175 million of new investments but can’t keep pace with increasing unemployment | Indonesia's Bali fights virus same way it attracts tourists – with local customs | Railway Tracks Laid Through Tunnel in First for Laos-China Railway | Malaysia's fight against Covid19 shifts to migrants | Myanmar’s schools to reopen in July | Philippines's DepEd emphasises no face-to-face until safe |Singapore's S$33b Fortitude Budget aimed at providing jobs, supporting workers and firms through 'difficult period' of covid19 | Thailand to end lock down completely on July 1 | Vietnam's Hanoi may hold F1 in November


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Brunei braces for ‘new normal’ Hari Raya festivities

Members of the public shop at The Mall in Gadong last night


Despite a less joyous mood in the run-up to the festivities, Bruneians were seen at shopping centres yesterday shopping for festive food and drinks. Long queues were observed at several supermarket counters yesterday.


This will be the first time for Hari Raya revellers to celebrate the festival in a ‘new normal’ environment with safe distancing measures in place and only held with immediate family members.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Hari raya is one of the most important festivals in Brunei, it is comforting that the Bruneians are willing to sacrifice their personal interests for their greater good, celebrating a noticeably muted Hari Raya.


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Cambodia has nearly $175 million of new investments but can’t keep pace with increasing unemployment

Investments in solar panel production and solar power projects continue to boom



Five more investment projects worth $174.8 million have been approved, according to a press release of the Council for the Development of Cambodia issued on May 22. The newly-approved projects are expected to generate in total 2,458 jobs for the locals.


However, despite the continued inflow of foreign direct investments into Cambodia amid the COVID-19 economic uncertainty, tens of thousands of migrant workers unable to return to Thailand to work and the looming EBA crisis in August, the employment opportunities created by these new investments are a far cry from meeting the number of unemployed.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Apart from the rising unemployment rate amongst the unskilled workers, the Cambodian government has also announced that it will be not be hiring in 2020, adding to unemployment woes among the educated populace.


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Indonesia's Bali fights virus same way it attracts tourists – with local customs

Several 'pecalang' (traditional Balinese guards) warn a passing motorist for not wearing face mask, at Intaran traditional village in Sanur, Bali, on April 27.


Bali’s successful containment efforts have largely been attributed to the active role played by traditional villages, which make up the majority of the island’s settlements, as the majority of people are Hindus who comply with local religious customs.


The villages have a well-defined leadership structure, complete with pecalang (traditional guards), who work voluntarily in the service of the people – known as ngayah in Balinese culture. Village leaders and the pecalang are tasked with screening visitors seeking to enter the villages, monitoring people in quarantine, preventing large gatherings and making sure people follow health protocols, such as wearing masks and washing their hands frequently.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: This reminds me of the Indonesians who dressed up as 'pocongs' (ghosts) at night, at a village in Central Java, their role was to check on anyone who passes through the village gate and spray disinfectant on them.


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Railway Tracks Laid Through Tunnel in First for Laos-China Railway

Photo shows the construction site for Laos-China railway.


Railway tracks have been laid through a tunnel along the Laos-China Railway for the first time, marking a historic achievement for the project.


Lao and Chinese engineers from China Railway No. 2 Engineering Group laid track through the Ban Nong Khay Tunnel in Vientiane Province, 60km north of Vientiane Capital on Saturday.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: This is in line with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, with this railway, we can expect to see a boost in land trade between Laos and China. Entire townships that are situated along this railway will benefit, boosting local employment, trade and investments.


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Malaysia's fight against Covid19 shifts to migrants

Photo shows the Selangor Mansion which reportedly has more than 80 infected cases.


The fight against Covid-19 is now focused on migrants as the bulk of new cases involved foreigners at Immigration detention centres and construction sites, says Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. From now on, all new detainees entering the Immigration detention centres will be screened for Covid-19


He said this following a rise in Covid-19 cases at three Immigration detention centres in Bukit Jalil, Semenyih and Sepang. Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry was focusing not just on the Immigration detention centres but also prisons and other types of detention centre.

Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Singapore is the best case study of how things can go wrong very quickly when the virus starts to spread within confined areas such as dormitories.


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Myanmar’s schools to reopen in July

Students walk home after school in Yangon


Schools in Myanmar will reopen in July, starting with basic education high schools on July 21 followed by middle and primary schools two weeks later, according to the Department of Basic Education.


Government schools will be opened on July 21 and this will also include private and monastic schools, said education minister U Myo Thein Gyi during a meeting.

Previously, the education ministry had planned to reopen primary schools first, but decided against doing so after the public expressed concerns.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: This comes after our article just last week which we mentioned that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi firmly rejected online lessons. Therefore, this announcement should not come as a surprise, life goes in Myanmar. Although, we wonder universities were left out of this schedule?


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Philippines's DepEd emphasises no face-to-face until safe

Education Secretary Leonor Briones


To allay the fears of parents and learners on school opening, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday, May 28, clarified that there will be no face-to-face classes when schools reopen this August.


The blended/distance learning approach, Briones added, will be consistent with President Duterte’s “preference that we do not send our children to school until it is safe to do so.”


Earlier, the President said that he will not allow a school opening where students may have to attend classes physically and that there will be no school opening until a vaccine against COVID-19 is made available.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Again, we see a tale of 2 cities when we compare Philippines and Myanmar’s response to the reopening of schools. Philippines’s blended approach seems to be the one that most countries will undertake as they

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Singapore's S$33b Fortitude Budget aimed at providing jobs, supporting workers and firms through 'difficult period' of covid19

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat speaks in Parliament as he launches the Fortitude Budget to tackle the COVID-19 crisis, May 26, 2020.

A new S$33 billion Budget focused on providing jobs and helping to tide workers and businesses through the “difficult period” of COVID-19 was unveiled in Parliament by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday (May 26).


Part of the next phase of Singapore’s fight against COVID-19, the Fortitude Budget, which is Singapore’s fourth of the year, aims to help businesses and workers adapt, transform and seize new opportunities in order to emerge stronger, said Mr Heng.

Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: This is Singapore’s 4thbudget this year, necessary as the nation braces itself for the worst economic recession ever since independence.

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Thailand to end lock down completely on July 1

Thai police distribute free face masks and food to poor people amid restrictions set up to halt the spread of the coronavirus in Bangkok on April 9.



The government has set July 1 for the lift of all business and activity lockdowns ordered earlier to cope with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid19), said the National Security Council chief. These include interprovincial and international travel, as well as the end of emergency decree and curfew.


NSC secretary-general Gen Somsak Rungsita said on Thursday that the lift of restrictions would be a complete reopening of the country. Officials would next month prepare measures for the reopening.

Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: Thailand has controlled the situation relatively well, as they slowly remove the lockdown, citizens have to cooperate with the government to prevent a new round of outbreak.

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Vietnam's Hanoi may hold F1 in November

Hanoi's PIT Building under construction back in 2019 for the upcoming Formula 1 VinFast Vietnam Grand Prix.


The Vietnam Formula One Grand Prix could take place this year – but without any international spectators. Organisers of the race, which should go ahead in April but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are looking at ways it can be held.


Plans may be submitted to Hà Nội’s People’s Committee and the International Automobile Federation (FIA) to host the race in November, if a number of safety conditions can be met.


Sup SEAkers! editor's thoughts: This is about cutting loss, if this really happens, we wonder if this will be the first time in history where a F1 race has no international spectators?

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