The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in Singapore has published an article by Evelyn Ho, a current Master of Journalism student.
Ho’s article was about Hillary Clinton’s forthcoming visit to Myanmar in early December and what it means.
Originally written as an assignment for JMSC 6048 International News, a class taught by Assistant Professor Thomas Abraham, Director of the JMSC’s Public Health Media Project, it was published on Abraham’s newly-established class website, World Watch.
It was then picked up by the ISEAS website.
“My focus was on a recent statement made by White House official, Ben Rhodes, that Clinton’s visit would not automatically be translated into the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on the country (Myanmar),” said Ho.
“I highlighted the small, progressive and shrewd steps that Myanmar has taken in recent months to court the favour of the world’s biggest power,” she said.
“I also referred to an article by an expert from Georgetown University, which suggested some reasons for Myanmar’s transformation. In addition, I quoted the views of an expert from the ISEAS about his views that any political reform in Myanmar would have to stem from the country itself, independent of any other external push and pull factors.”
It was this quote by Dr. Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Fellow of Regional Strategic and Political Studies and Lead Researcher for Political and Strategic Affairs of the ASEAN Studies Centre at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, that caught the attention of the ISEAS.
Ho was required to write four stories for Professor Abraham’s class.
“I chose to work on Myanmar because it is a country I know so little of but am intrigued by,” she said.
“I also wanted to have a series of four articles on how the Myanmar government has been carrying out political reforms, how it is reinventing itself to become a credible chair of ASEAN in 2014 and a responsible member of the global community, and to examine if its political reforms can be sustained.”
The article on Clinton’s visit was the third in her series.
When the report was published on the JMSC’s World Watch site, Ho informed Dr Chachavalpongpun.
The ISEAS picked up on it and posted her report on its website.
“I am thrilled because the ISEAS is a well-regarded regional research centre on socio-economic and political trends in Southeast Asia,” said Ho. “To have my news report posted on the website could only mean that Dr Chachavalpongpun was happy with how he was quoted in my article and that I can look forward to more insights from him for my final analytical piece on Myanmar.”
Ho has been particularly pleased with Abraham’s class this semester.
“I have a lot to thank Thomas Abraham for,” she said. ” He is an extremely good tutor who helps students get to the crux of the news in double-quick time. He is also an excellent editor who is able to highlight discrepancies and any incoherence in our reports.”
“I think the World Watch website is a testimony to how he has helped me and my course-mates grow from having near zero-journalistic skills to be able to put up articles fit for publication.”