On The Bird Wire

China’s Vulnerability in the South China Sea

hb-scs-btThe Business Times published an opinion piece by Hornbills’ associate and China specialist, Mr Brendan Forde, on 5 November 2015.

The piece provided a comprehensive summary of the existing arguments and analysis on China’s actions in relation to the South China Sea, which are mostly framed around what China is doing, rather than why.

The piece posits that to understand why China has taken the steps it has, requires a consideration of the significance of the South China Sea, and its relationship to the disposition of China.

On The Bird Wire

Death by a Thousand polls: Australia and the problem of leadership change

Turnbull articleThe Business Times published an opinion piece by Hornbills’ associate, Mr Brendan Forde, on 6 October 2015.

The piece discusses leadership change  in Australia, following the ascension of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister after ousting the incumbent and fellow party member, Tony Abbott.

Originally entitled “Death by a thousand polls”, the piece noted the role that opinion polling has had in exacerbating issues contributing to  leadership change.

On The Bird Wire

Hornbills Co-Founder’s Op-ed on Training in Straits Times

Singapore-  19 September 2015, The Straits Times published an op-ed by Hornbills’ co-founder, Luenne Angela CHOA. The article entitled “All In An Off Day’s Work” looks at the benefits of corporate training can bring to SMEs.

Read more about the article here.

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Pandemic measures during the Hajj

In a think piece “Ensuring Good Health During the Hajj in a Time of the H1N1 Pandemic”, Hornbills co-founder Sofiah Jamil – together with researchers at the RSIS Centre for NTS Studies – commented on the progress and prospects of H1N1 pandemic mitigation efforts in Saudi Arabia leading up to the annual Hajj pilgrimage in 2009.

The piece noted that despite the complex circumstances surrounding pandemic preparedness during the Hajj, successful mitigation of a pandemic spread is possible with efficient multi-sectoral cooperation amongst Hajj officials and pilgrims. Such efforts must also be given greater emphasis in the media so as to ensure accurate and holistic reporting of events thereby reduce the likelihood of media hypes of a pandemic outbreak.

To read the article, click here.

On The Bird Wire

Hornbills Co-Founder’s Op-ed on Climate Change and the Muslim World

ST clipping

On 27 February 2007, The Straits Times published an op-ed by Hornbills’ co-founder, Sofiah Jamil. The article entitled “Not enough heat of a hot issue” discussed the lack of attention that the Muslim World has on the issue of climate change.

Many countries affected by climate change are also members of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), an international organisation of predominantly Muslim states. Environmental degradation has the potential to retard the OIC’s efforts at alleviating poverty and promoting progress in the Muslim world. Moreover, stalled economic development may feed into despair and instability in the Muslim world, which in turn may exacerbate existing political crises in the Muslim world that often hog the media limelight.

The op-ed is based on a piece written under the RSIS Commentaries series entitled Climate Change and the Muslim World: The OIC Can do with ‘Captain Planet’.

On The Bird Wire

Hornbills Associate’s Opinion Editorial in Business Times

Op-ed that was published in the Business Times, 5 August 2015 just after David Cameron’s SEA visit.

5 August 2015, Singapore –Hornbills assisted one of our associates, Mr Loke Hoe Yeong (a free –trade analyst and keen observer of EU – UK affairs), to place an opinion piece into the Business Times today. We worked with him to identify a topic that was timed for release around David Cameron’s visit to Southeast Asia last week.

This op-ed was part of his longer policy brief called, “To leave or not to leave? Contentious debates on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union”. The full text of this policy brief, published by the EU Centre, can be found here.
To read the full text of the above article from the Business Times, please click here.

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Hornbills and “One Doll, One Friend” Project

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Lusi, founder of the foundation explaining to Berita Harian journalist about the project, “One Doll, One Friend”

30 July 2015, Singapore—Hornbills Concepts and Communications (HBCC) facilitated an interview for founder of Cinderella From Indonesia Centre (CFIC)’s founder Lusi Efrani and Berita Harian for a possible feature on her very inspiring work with women on the margins in Batam.

The interview was the result of the successful grant application that Hornbills’ co-founder, Sofiah Jamil, and Lusi Efrani of CFIC, put in for the YSEALI programme in 2014. The project was called, “One Doll, One Friend”. The programme is about providing education and employment to at-risk women and children living in the streets in Indonesia. Currently the One Doll, One Friend Project is providing employment to about 100 female prisoners and women living with HIV in Batam and Jakarta.

A sample of the doll made by the girls in Batam. The project is looking to create more Asian inspired “baju” for the dolls in the next phase of their project.

The project spans across Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei and had the support of the US Embassy in Singapore and Jakarta. HBCC coordinated the public outreach aspect of the programme and through this project. By actively helping to promote the programme, HBCC hopes to help Lusi spread her message of empowerment and second chances to women and children who are at risk and more importantly, to promote a positive image for women in Batam.

HBCC discovered interesting synergies to aid cross-cultural communication and working with partners from different cultural backgrounds.

Sofiah and Lusi are planning to expand the One Doll, One Friend programme to other parts of South East Asia. Stay tuned for more.

For more information on the Cinderella From Indonesia Foundation and Lusi Efrani’s work please go to :

On The Bird Wire

Disasters in Southeast Asia’s Megacities: Protecting the Informal Sector

In the megacities of developing Southeast Asia, the important role of the informal sector in supporting economic development is often under-recognised. Cities seeking to address the economic risks and financial costs of natural hazards have to improve the resilience of the informal sector many of whom are from the low-income groups.

In the wake of the Jakarta floods in 2013, Sofiah Jamil presents her thoughts on not only the plight and resillience of the urban poor during disasters, but also why governments should pay more attention to them.

To read the article (as part of the RSIS Commentaries series) click here.

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Nuclear Energy in SEA: Public Engagement Before Policies

Three Years after the Fukushima Nuclear disaster several Southeast Asian governments have revived their nuclear plans, with Vietnam leading the way for six nuclear plants. The moves have been galvanised by Japan’s U-turn to retain nuclear energy after initially wanting to phase out nuclear power plants after the 3-11 disaster.

Like it or not, the prospects for nuclear energy in Southeast Asia are likely to grow, thus making it necessary for governments to give sufficient attention to their public awareness strategies on nuclear energy.

Click here to read the full article.

On The Bird Wire

Raising environmental awareness amongst Muslims

BH featureOn 13 May 2011, Sofiah Jamil was featured in Singapore’s Malay Newspaper – Berita Harian – on her research and advocacy work on faith-based environmentalism.

In the article, Sofiah noted how countries in the Muslim World largely fall into at least one of three categories in relation to climate change.

  1. Victims of climate change: Countries such as Bangladesh and Indonesia face rising sea levels and flooding, while sub-saharan Africa face drought.
  2. Contributors of climate change: Oil-rich Gulf Arab states have one of the highest carbon emissions per capita in the world, while the rate of deforestation in Indonesia makes its total carbon emissions to be just behind the US and China.
  3. Solutions to address climate change: Despite the bleak scenario, there are still opportunities for countries in the Muslim world to play a more active role in addressing environmental challenges. Resource rich Muslim countries ought to better strategise how they can invest in technology and other solutions. More effort would be needed for forest rich countries like Indonesia to preserve and rehabilitate their forests which act as “carbon sinks”.

In addition, all Muslims can do their part by taking inspiration and guidance from their faith. Despite the wealth of Islamic knowledge on nature and the environment, little has been done by Muslims to operationalise these principles. In this regard, further community action is needed.