Impacts et réponses en Asie du Sud-Est
Chair/Président: Yves Tiberghien, University of British Columbia
Discussant/Intervenant: Yves Tiberghien, University of British Columbia
Since its discovery in China, the outbreak of COVID-19 caught nations off guard, sparking different responses and measures to control the spread of the pandemic. Here we review the national responses of five Asian nations, namely: China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and the Philippines. Using a scoping review of existing literature, the effectiveness of their responses are evaluated using the frameworks detailed by the World Health Organization’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Both frameworks outline long-term objectives of reducing viral transmission and reducing disaster risks and losses. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, both frameworks provide clear goals to which countries can pattern their responses. Although there are stark differences in terms of the economy across the countries in this study, their varied responses contain lessons that we can derive from to effectively realize the objectives set by both frameworks, particularly: strategic preparedness and wilful implementation and adaptation of the national action plan based on the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation.
Hard lockdowns have a larger negative impact on the ability to work of women who have children who are minors compared to women who do not have children who are minors. Among Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines is among the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, in terms of both the number of infected and its economic toll. A big reason for the relatively large negative economic impact of the pandemic in the country is the hard lockdown imposed at the beginning of the pandemic in the country’s three most populous and economically-important regions: Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon. Using logistic regression on pooled LFS data for these three regions, we show that female household heads or female spouses with children were about 5 percentage points less likely to have work during the hard lockdown when compared to female household heads or female spouses without children, even after controlling for important covariates. Moreover, having more children who are minors increases the negative impact of a hard lockdown on their ability to work. A big part of the explanation is the increased domestic responsibility of women during hard lockdowns, given that children are forced to be at home and to do distance learning.
Spirit mediums of Dao Mau, a Vietnamese indigenous religion, have been officially required to suspend all of their religious activities with other religious practitioners for certain periods since 26 July 2020. The suspension for twice times has been applied with the aim to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in urban and rural communities in Vietnam. Although these mediums have worshipped similar deities and spirits, they have had different interpretation about the invisible response of deities and spirits. Some argue that humans did so much karma that deities and spirits caused the pandemic to threaten humans. They have organized ritual practices and pilgrimages in order to ask for the blessing of deities and spirits. Others propose that deities and spirits are so kind that they always protect their followers. Ritual activities increase the spread of COVID-19 when a number of cases being affected by coronavirus have not been identified. It might distort the image of Dao Mau as an evil religion and mediums as superstitious individuals. Dao Mau practitioners should pray by themselves rather than in a large group when it performs social responsibility of spirit mediums. In spite of different opinions, spirit mediums still show their respect with the acts and thoughts of others. Based on open-ended interviews with three mediums and online observation of 10 public social media accounts of Dao Mau’s practitioners, I argue that various interpretation of spirit mediums about thoughts of deities and spirits reflect Dao Mau’s tolerance with diversity and difference.
For decades, Malaysia has been dependent on unskilled and temporarily-contracted migrant workers to fulfil labour gaps in critical economic sectors. While Malaysia’s economy continues to rely on migrant workers, the alleged discrimination, neglect, and lack of workers’ protection aggravated during the COVID-19 outbreak has changed their (migrants) views of mobility in Malaysia. In-depth interviews with Nepali migrant workers conducted between July 2020 and June 2021 in Malaysia revealed incidence of employers’ abandonment and labour rights violations, compounded by a prolonged isolation, crisis of legal identity, and the absence of redress mechanism. Besides, workers are no longer benefiting from the competitive wages, subsequently limiting the value of their remittance to the origin country. The pandemic has drastically shifted their views on work migration in Malaysia, both monetary and labour conditions, and that they began persuading aspiring Nepali workers to reconsider their migration dream to the country. This raises both empirical and theoretical questions: (i) empirically, what does this imply to future migration landscape, particularly in Nepal-Malaysia migration corridor; (ii) theoretically, how the changing views of mobility among the existing Nepali workers in Malaysia shape the emigration environment in which social construction of migration exists in Nepal? This study reflects the migratory realities in Nepal-Malaysia migration corridor, subsequently responds to the evolution of migration’s aspiration–ability model.
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