Explained

A meeting between Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah and his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi in October 2021. Photo: AP
Explainer | What’s Indonesia’s border dispute with Malaysia and the Philippines about?

Indonesia’s top diplomat has put land and maritime boundary talks with the country’s Asean neighbours high on her agenda again this year.

12 Jan 2022 - 8:45AM
A member of the security forces keeps watch as Thai Muslims pray in Narathiwat province on March 15, 2016. File photo: AFP
Explainer | Can Thai separatists and Bangkok agree on peace in talks brokered by Malaysia?

On January 11, the BRN and other Malay-Muslim separatist groups from Thailand’s southern provinces hope to seek a peace deal with Bangkok.

11 Jan 2022 - 9:53PM
British Prime Minister David Cameron pays respects at the Jallianwala Bagh massacre site in Amritsar in 2013. Photo: AP
Explainer | What happened in the 1919 massacre of Sikhs in British-ruled India?

A man held for breaking into Queen Elizabeth’s Windsor Castle claimed in a video he would attempt to ‘assassinate’ her as revenge for the incident in British-ruled India.

29 Dec 2021 - 5:46PM
The Omicron variant has been detected in several countries around the world. Photo: AFP
Explainer | Why it’s too early to panic about Omicron’s ability to evade vaccines

We won’t know whether Omicron evades Covid-19 vaccines for another few weeks as scientists around the world race to find answers.

3 Dec 2021 - 2:28PM
A woman receives the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine  in Quezon City, the Philippines. Photo: DPA
Explainer | What Asian countries are doing to fight the Omicron variant

From Singapore to Japan, Australia to India, This Week in Asia’s writers have the latest as countries across the region tighten entry requirements for travellers.

2 Dec 2021 - 2:04PM
Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran. Photo: AP
Explainer | What to expect as stalled Iran nuclear talks resume

China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and the US will hold talks with Iran in Vienna on Monday, at a meeting chaired by the EU.

29 Nov 2021 - 11:00AM
A health worker gets vaccinated against Covid-19 in Quezon City, Philippines. Photo: AP
Explainer | Why vaccinated people are not as infectious as unjabbed if they get Covid

Inoculated people are less likely to get Covid-19, are less contagious, and clear the virus faster.

18 Nov 2021 - 12:31PM
The Covid-19 Memorial Wall in London, Britain. Photo: EPA / Andy Rain
Explainer | How the world is getting tough on unvaccinated people

Singapore gives them the bill, New Zealand says ‘no jab, no job’ and the US says ‘please’.

17 Nov 2021 - 11:04AM
A Malaysian Navy ship takes part in an exercise in the South China Sea. Photo: DPA
Explainer | How to oppose Beijing’s South China Sea claims? Malaysia, Indonesia differ

Some say Indonesia’s more cautious approach is related to Chinese investment and Covid aid. Some say it’s a rejection of ‘megaphone diplomacy’. Others wonder if it has a set policy at all.

5 Nov 2021 - 10:36AM
Muslims protest against the alleged desecration of the Koran in Dhaka on October 16, 2021. Photo: EPA-EFE
Explainer | What’s behind Bangladesh’s worst bout of communal violence in two decades?

A social media post showing the Koran at the feet of a Hindu god inflamed tensions in the Muslim-majority nation in October.

20 Oct 2021 - 6:17PM
A tourist on a boat on the southern Thai island of Koh Phi Phi in 2019. Photo: AFP
Explainer | As Asian nations open up, where is travel allowed – and how can I do so safely?

Here are the experts’ views on how to make sure you’re best protected, and what to be mindful of at all times.

17 Oct 2021 - 9:10PM
Could Philippine boxing icon and Senator Manny Pacquiao knock out more established political rivals from the presidential race? Photo: Xinhua
Explainer | Philippine presidential election: the candidates and their China policies

The deadline to enter has passed and among the big names in with a shot are Panfilo Lacson, Ferdinand Marcos Jnr, Isko Moreno, Manny Pacquiao, Ronald dela Rosa and Leni Robredo.

9 Oct 2021 - 3:11AM
Singapore has become the first Southeast Asian state to enact such a law. Photo: Facebook
Explainer | What’s covered in Singapore’s foreign interference law and who does it target?

Fica aims to prevent foreign actors from interfering with local politics by shutting down hostile information campaigns and dealing with actors that uses local proxies.

5 Oct 2021 - 1:56PM
Fugitive Malaysian businessman Nicky Liow Soon Hee. Photo: Weibo
Explainer | Malaysian fugitive Nicky Liow and his links to ‘Broken Tooth’ Wan Kuok-koi

Two figures with underworld ties have stood out amid the scandals involving Malaysia’s anti-corruption agency this year – but just who are Nicky Liow and Wan Kuok-koi?

6 Oct 2021 - 9:28AM
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has announced he will resign after a year in the job. Photo: AP
Explainer | Suga resigns: what happens now and is Abe poised to return?

The immediate question of who succeeds Suga may be complicated by speculation that Abe is preparing for a third stint as prime minister.

7 Oct 2021 - 10:31PM
Even if immunocompromised people are protected with a third coronavirus vaccine dose, other measures such as shielding, immunoglobulin replacement treatment and high vaccine uptake among the rest of the community will also help. Photo: Reuters
Explainer | Covid-19: why a third shot is important for the immunocompromised

Some people with immunodeficiencies generate a lower immune response to Covid-19 vaccines, leading to increased breakthrough infections among them.

2 Sep 2021 - 8:56AM
US Air Force service members prepare to board evacuees onto a C-17 Globemaster lll at Al-Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Qatar played an out-size role in US efforts to evacuate tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan. Photo: AP
Explainer | Can Qatar be a bridge from the Taliban to the world?

The emirate may suddenly be in the news, but it has been eyeing a role as a global mediator for over 25 years.

8 Sep 2021 - 3:31PM
Afghan refugees board a bus taking them to a processing centre upon arrival at Dulles International Airport in the US state of Virginia on Saturday. Photo: Reuters
Explainer | How US exit from Vietnam offers hope for Afghan refugees

Advocates say an ‘orderly departure programme’, like those previously run in Vietnam and Cuba, could offer safe passage out of Afghanistan for would-be refugees.

30 Aug 2021 - 12:16PM
US Vice-President Kamala Harris visits the littoral combat ship USS Tulsa in Singapore on August 23, 2021. Photo: US Navy/Handout
Explainer | What is the ‘Indo-Pacific’ and why does the US keep using this term?

The vast stretch of territory between Australia and India was long referred to in Washington as the Asia-Pacific, before the ‘strategic lexicon’ shifted under Trump.

26 Aug 2021 - 2:45PM
The US embassy in Havana, Cuba. Photo: AFP
Explainer | Havana Syndrome: a mystery illness that’s hit US diplomats from China to Vietnam

US Vice-President Kamala Harris’ trip to Vietnam was delayed by reports of the illness, that a report commissioned by the US State Department said was most likely caused by ‘directed, pulse radio frequency energies’.

25 Aug 2021 - 7:08PM