Straight Talk Southeast Asia is a weekly podcast series that covers politics in Southeast Asia, analysing elections, conflict, political risk, governance and human rights. Along with dissecting the political muck, Bridget Welsh engages with those shaping politics and political narratives in the region.
This show is produced by Renegade Radio.
Published: 10 January 2024
This episode reflects on political developments in Southeast Asia in 2023 and highlights key issues that will shape the year ahead.
Published: 10 January 2024
This episode is a primer on the coming presidential polls in Indonesia, highlighting the personalities and factors shaping the campaign five weeks before the first round of elections.
Published: 17 January 2024
This episode with Professor Duncan McCargo looks back at politics in Thailand in 2023, discussing different interpretations about what happened in the May election and deals associated with the formation of the government, and looks ahead at key issues facing Thai democracy and political stability.
Published: 23 January 2024
This episode looks back at what happened in 2023 in the Philippines, from Bongbong Marcos’s leadership, growing elite infighting to the creation of a new investment fund and local government elections, reflecting on the trends in Philippine politics with Professor Ronald Holmes.
Published: 30 January 2024
This episode looks at Myanmar on the third anniversary of the political coup, with a conversation with economist Sean Turnell. We discuss his fabulous new book, The Unlikely Prisoner, where he tells his story of 650 days jailed by the military junta, as well as discuss broader changes taking place in the country this past year.
Published: 6 February 2024
The focus of Indonesia’s elections has been on the presidential race. This episode with CSIS’s Dr Arya Fernandes focuses on the legislative elections, the changing fortunes of different political parties, factors shaping party voting and how the result may transform Indonesian politics.
Published: 12 February 2024
This episode with Dr Tu Nguyen looks back at Vietnam politics in 2023 and ahead, with a special focus on ongoing reforms of the social safety net. While the traditional focus of analysing politics has centred on elites, with attention to the recent anti-corruption campaign, this discussion highlights changes in policy and greater demands from Vietnam’s changing society.
Published: 20 February 2024
Prabowo Subianto won the presidential elections in the first round, with the preliminary results suggesting the fortunes of political parties did not fundamentally change. This episode looks at what happened, why and what to expect next in Indonesian politics with Dr. Philips Vermonte.
Published: 23 February 2024
Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) celebrated its 5th anniversary last month and the peace process will mark ten years this year. This region of 5 million people located in the Philippine southern island of Mindanao with 18 million people has a long history of conflict and violence. This episode looks at the status of the peace process, the challenges facing the interim Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) and other stakeholders with Georgi Englebrecht, Senior Analyst of the Crisis Group based in the Philippines.
Published: 7 February 2023
In this trailer episode, host Dr. Bridget Welsh introduces the premise of this show and what we will discuss every episode. It can range from news and current affairs within the Southeast Asian region, to issues on politics, governance, inequality, and more that we believe to be of the upmost importance if you want to be informed about Southeast Asia.
Keep up to date with the latest episode to be informed of the latest news, so we can understand this region, its nature, politics, and each other in the process as well. See you in the next episode!
Published: 8 February 2023
Three years on, Myanmar’s crisis is far from over. This episode discussed different dimensions of the crisis, and speaks with seasoned Myanmar journalist Thin Lei Win and Malaysia’s former Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah on what steps need to be taken to respond to the crisis.
YB Saifuddin Abdullah is the MP for Indera Mahkota and Malaysia’s former Foreign Minister from 2018-2020, 2021-2022.
Published: 15 February 2023
In the wake of annual reports on human rights, for this episode Bridget Welsh speaks to human rights activists, Phil Robertson and AICHR Chair Yuyun Wahyuningrum on the region’s human rights challenges and evolving strategies.
HE Yuyun Wahyuningrum is a human rights activist, chair of ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission of Human Rights (AICHR) and the representative from Indonesia.
Published: 22 February 2023
With a new peace talk facilitator from Malaysia and Thailand’s national elections coming in May, there are new opportunities to address the protracted conflict in southern Thailand. Join Bridget Welsh and security expert Don Pathan discussing the conflict and obstacles ahead.
Don Pathan is an independent security and conflict analyst based in Thailand.
Published: 1 March 2023
Cambodia has shut down its last independent media organization, VOD. Episode 4 discusses what this means for national politics and the impact on media with scholar Sophal Ear and human rights activist Sopheap Chak.
Published: 8 March 2023
This episode looks at why Southeast governments have been reluctant to criticise Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Bridget Welsh is joined by regional scholars Ian Chong and Hoo Chiew Ping who offer different perspectives of responses and Russia’s influence in Southeast Asia.
Ian Chong is associate professor of political science at NUS and a non-resident fellow of Carnegie China.
Hoo Chiew Ping is a Senior Lecturer at Strategic Studies and International Relations at National University Malaysia (UKM).
Published: 15 March 2023
In this episode, Bridget discusses more on the recent political violence in the Philippines, from political assassinations to guns for hire. She speaks with Peter Kreuzer from the Peace Research Institute in Frankfurt as well as with Ross Tugade from Ateneo de Manila University, to share different perspectives on these issues.
Killing Politicians in the Philippines: Who, Where, When, and Why, PRIF Report 2/2022
Published: 17 May 2023
In this episode, Dr. Bridget Welsh talks with seasoned US diplomat Scot Marciel, who shares insights from his latest book Imperfect Partners on US-Southeast Asia relations. Marciel is based at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center in Standford and served over 37 years across the region.
Published: 18 May 2023
UMNO is one of Southeast Asia’s oldest parties. For decades it failed to reform from within. Now new political conditions are forcing change, making the party address hard issues of its narrative and its place in Malaysia’s politics. Join a conversation with on-the-ground journalist Amirul Ruslan and Dr Bridget Welsh on the challenges the party faces, Zahid’s vision and the primacy of survival.
Published: 22 May 2023
On May 14 Thais overwhelmingly rejected conservative/military rule at the polls. Join me for a conversation about how this election reflects broader changes in Thai society, the emergence of new political forces, and compares to its past with historian Dr. Chris Baker.
Published: 27 May 2023
In this episode, Dr. Bridget Welsh is joined by Dr. Michael Leach, Professor of Politics from Swinburne University of Technology, Australia, in an analysis of Timor Leste’s May elections – the results and factors shaping the polls and the challenges ahead for this young country that stands out for being the most democratic in Southeast Asia.
Published: 2 June 2023
One of the most targeted populations in the world, Rohingya continue to be at risk. After victimization from human trafficking, genocide, refugees lacking mobility, right to work and education, this month they were in path of Cyclone Mocha, facing reduction of humanitarian support and renewed calls for repatriation. Join me in conversation of risks and responses with experts and advocates Tun Khin and Lilianne Fan.
Published: 8 June 2023
Every year defence ministers meet in Singapore as part of the annual Shangri-La Dialogue organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). In this episode with IISS Senior Fellow Aaron Connelly we discuss the geopolitical issues raised, with special attention to Southeast Asia.
Published: 16 June 2023
Singapore will decide on its next president this year. Join me with Dr. Gillian Koh to discuss recent entrants into the race, the role of the Singapore presidency and issues tied to a possible election.
Published: 29 June 2023
It’s Pride month. This episode looks at the unique challenges the LGBTIQ+ communities in Southeast Asia face and how the debates over rights and forms of activism have changed. We discuss these issues with academic Anthony Langlois who has written widely on gender and sexuality rights in the region and human rights activist Thi Laga who leads JusticeforSisters.
Published: 4 July 2023
This episode features a primer on Malaysia’s upcoming state elections by Bridget Welsh and a discussion of political developments in Thailand with political analyst Ken Lohatepanont as its parliament meets after the historic May 2023 elections.
Published: 17 July 2023
This episode looks at developments in Thai politics surrounding the first vote for the prime minister and the blocking of Move Forward’s Pita Limjaroenrat as prime minister. In a continued conversation with University of Michigan scholar Ken Mathis Lohatepanont.
Published: 24 August 2023
This episode looks at the ongoing political and economic transition taking place in Cambodia. Bradley Murg shares his insights on the challenges ahead for Cambodia’s political economy, while Bridget shares her thoughts on facets ahead for the political change in leadership.
Published: 18 September 2023
Singapore has inaugurated its ninth president, Tharman Shanmugaratnam who was elected by a resounding majority earlier this month. Join Bridget in conversation with Professor Terence Lee discussing the election and what it means for Singapore politics.