Asian Insider: Sri Lanka crisis | Farewell Abe

Dear ST readers, 

The focus this week is on Sri Lanka where the crisis continues to unfold after months of protests led to the fleeing of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who has just landed in Singapore from the Maldives.

We also pay tribute to the late Japanese ex-premier Shinzo Abe who was assassinated last week.


Sri Lanka in limbo

The presidency of Gota, as the embattled leader is known locally, was one mired in controversy and left him with few friends diplomatically, writes associate editor Ravi Velloor.

Questions remain over who will lead the country that is facing severe food and fuel shortages, reports India correspondent Rohini Mohan.

In this Saturday's Asian Insider special, ST correspondents look at the popular uprising that brought down the Rajapaksa government and what lies ahead for the island state.

ST Explains: How Sri Lanka spiralled into the current crisis

Editorial: Sri Lanka faces a long road to recovery


Goodbye Abe-san

Cloud over G-20

The G-20 summit to be held in November on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali might be anything but calm, if last Friday's Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was an indication of what might be in store, writes Indonesia bureau chief Arlina Arshad. Unlike in previous years, there was no group photo, no final joint communique; top diplomats bickered and the Russians staged a walkout.

Editorial: Staying engaged to ease rising tensions


Doc and cooking oil crunch

Doctors in Malaysia are bracing themselves for a growing manpower crunch, as a shortage driven by transfers and resignations could be compounded by a predicted Covid-19 wave, reports correspondent Ram Anand.

Besides doctors, Malaysia is also facing another type of shortage: cooking oil. Food sellers are feeling the squeeze from the lifting of cooking oil subsidies, reports correspondent Nadirah H. Rodzi.

ST Explains: What's causing cooking oil shortage in Malaysia?


Expats' dilemma

The uncertainty and severity of China's zero-Covid-19 policy have led many foreign residents to leave or consider leaving the country, surveys have shown. China bureau chief Tan Dawn Wei and reporter Faith Pang speak to some of them, including Singaporeans, on their decision to leave the cities they loved.

Meanwhile, Beijing last week announced a rule that bans unvaccinated people from certain venues, only to backtrack a day later following backlash. The flip-flop is a sign of the divide between local officials and the central government, writes China correspondent Elizabeth Law.

Podcast: Public scepticism over China's response to rising Covid-19 cases


Art of diplomacy

Two recent public opinion polls have shown that a majority of countries in the region have an unfavourable view of China, with human rights and security among their top concerns, writes China correspondent Danson Cheong in this week's Power Play column.

Taiwan, meanwhile, has been stepping up its soft diplomacy and parliamentary exchanges, even as its official allies continue to dwindle under Chinese pressure, reports Taiwan correspondent Katherine Wei.


Saving Gunung Raya

A little-known mining project in Malaysia's popular resort getaway of Langkawi is posing a major threat to the island’s water supply as well as a 10-million-year-old forest. Conservationists and locals are fighting the development in the Gunung Raya forest reserve amid concerns that the same loophole in environmental rules could be exploited elsewhere in the country, reports Malaysia bureau chief Shannon Teoh.


K-drama and soju

=If you watch K-drama, you would be familiar with scenes of people drinking the night away as the ubiquitous green bottles of soju fill the tables. This trend has led to concern that the excessive portrayal of alcohol on TV risks "romanticising or encouraging heavy drinking" in a country where its average alcohol consumption is one of the highest in Asia, writes correspondent Chang May Choon in her Letter from Seoul.


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