I was invited to give a talk at the Plenary Session of the ISEOH2020, organised by UPM. I spoke on the topic of “How Hazy is our Future?: Haze, Health and the Climate in Southeast Asia”. The talk was based on my article with Dr Tom Smith (LSE) on a possible socioenvironmental-epidemiological feedback loop between COVID-19 and haze.
I was honoured to be invited to attend the 6th International Conference on International Relations and Development at the beautiful Mae Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Here, I delivered the first keynote address, focusing on the transboundary haze problem in the southern part of Southeast Asia, and I also later acted as a panellist on a regional forum entitled ” Haze, Smog, and PM2.5: Transboundary Issues”.
The forum was especially enlightening for me as I learned a lot about the transboundary haze problem in the northern part of Southeast Asia. Beyond just academia, speakers at the forum included civil society representatives and members of the community.
While there are many similarities to the air pollution context in terms of source, motivation, and dangers in the north and south of the region, it is still important to understand the local context to facilitate batter understanding and cooperation at the regional level. I have come away with a better understanding of the importance of nuances in addressing transboundary haze in the region.
It was my great honour to accept the invitation by Fakultas Ilmu Sastera dan Sains Politik, Universitas Andalas, Sumatera Barat to be one of the Keynote Speakers at their first International Conference on ASEAN, held on 5-6 September 2019.
I joined an esteemed and international cohort of invited keynote speakers including Dr Nur Hassan Wirajuda, Former Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Prof Dr Ir Helmi from Universitas Andalas, Dr Brune Jetin from Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Dr Kumar Ramakrishna from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and Prof Herman Joseph Kraft from University of Philippines Diliman. I spoke on “The Political Future of Peatlands and Haze in Southeast Asia”.My heartfelt thanks and admiration for the organisers for putting together an excellent and productive conference.
On 1-4 July 2019, I joined the Transboundary Commons in Southeast Asia (TECSEA) team in Bangkok for a panel on Hybrid Governance of Transboundary Environmental Commons in Southeast Asia. The panel was co-chaired by Dr. Michelle Miller (Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore) and myself. I presented a paper on “Envisioning tropical environments: Representations of peatlands in Malaysian media”, co-written with Dr. Kate Manzo and Dr. Rory Padfield. The other speakers on the panel were Prof. Dr. Jonathan Rigg who spoke about sand mining in the region and Dr. Thong Tran Anh who discussed water governance in the Mekong, while Dr. Louis Lebel acted as discussant.
The Association for Asian Studies annual conference this year was held in Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, D.C. from 22 to 25 March 2018. It was my first time attending this grand conference, and I was fortunate to be selected to receive a travel grant from the Southeast Asia Council (SEAC) to take part in a Rising Voices in Southeast Asian Studies Panel on Environmental Issues and Human Health in the region. The panel was entitled “Airs, Waters, Places and the Peoples Who Use and Abuse All of Them in Southeast Asia” chaired by Professor Michele Thompson of Southern Connecticut State University.
I was invited to speak at the EU-Malaysia International Discourse on Palm Oil Sustainability, organized by the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry in conjunction with the International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition & Conference (IGEM) 2017. I was part of the panel discussing “Better understanding of the different points of views of palm oil in the foreign market”. I offered the academic POV and discussed ideas like Environmental Hyperopia and Eco-Imperialism in explaining how academicians would frame the perception problem in the palm oil industry.
I was invited to be part of a new book project on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) led by Prof Dr. Ronald L. Holzhacker at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. As part of this project, a Working Conference on Regional and National Approaches toward the Sustainable Development Goals in Southeast Asia and ASEAN was organised in Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Jogjakarta in October.
I attended the 8th Centre for International Law Studies (CILS) International Conference on State Boundary Affairs held at the Faculty of Law, Universitas Tanjungpura, as one of the invited speakers. Even though I have limited expertise on legal issues, I was asked to speak on the international relations surrounding transboundary air pollution (haze) crossing the boundaries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The title of my talk was entitled “Revisiting the ‘Myth’ of the ASEAN Way: Recent Legal Developments on Transboundary Haze”. The Prezi for my talk can be found here.
PAHMI is one of the conferences that I try to attend every year if possible. The subject matter is a close fit with my research interests and the conference is an excellent opportunity to hear and reflect on scholarly views from ‘across the pond’. This year, the conference was held at the Faculty of Humanities, Universitas Indonesia.
I presented a paper entitled “Palm Oil Intensification and Expansion in Indonesia and Malaysia: Environmental and Socio-Political Considerations”. The paper will be expanded into a full-length article for publication, as one of the outputs for the British Academy Project on Evidence-Based Forestry in Indonesia. The Prezi for the presentation can be found here.
ICAS 10 was a very productive academic experience for me. During the convention, I had the opportunity to be part of two panels. The first was a panel organized by the Southeast Asian Studies Regional Exchange Program (SEASREP) entitled Emerging and Continuing Trends in Southeast Asian Studies. I was invited to share my thoughts on the position of Environmental Politics in the field. I shared a paper entitled “Trends in Environmental Studies in Southeast Asia: Transboundary Haze”. The paper offered a rough literature review of Environmental Politics in Southeast Asia and also some recommendations for more inclusion of the area in the syllabi of Southeast Asian studies programmes around the region. The piece will also be included in an upcoming special edition of SEASREP’s Regional Journal of Southeast Asian Studies.