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Eluding Censors, a Magazine Covers Southeast Asia’s Literary Scene

For its fall factor, Mekong Review expanded its editorial focal point past mainland Southeast Asia — Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam — to incorporate Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. It additionally switched to a printer in George Town, a former British colonial outpost within the Malaysian state of Penang, from one at the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

The transfer has additional sophisticated supply logistics. “Now we have the South China Sea to contend with,” Mr. Jones mentioned with a snigger.

But the mag punches above its weight: Its participants come with one of the most best-known authors, reporters and lecturers who observe the area, together with Viet Thanh Nguyen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, and Emma Larkin, the pseudonym for a Bangkok-based American author who has revealed a number of nonfiction books on Myanmar.

Ms. Larkin mentioned that Mekong Review avoids the “easy clichés through which the West views Southeast Asia and offers instead a rich, in-depth and nuanced portrait of the region.”

Mekong Review is exclusive partly as it serves as a bridge between the instructional international and Southeast Asia’s literary scene, mentioned Judith Henchy, the top of the Southeast Asia segment on the University of Washington Libraries in Seattle. “It’s an attempt at a kind of regional cosmopolitan voice,” she added.

The mag’s critiques have coated books about Khmer historical past, Asian street-food tradition, the Thai monarchy, ethnic-minority communities and far else. The spring factor incorporated a translated excerpt from “Crossroads and Lampposts,” a 1960s novel by way of Tran Dan, a Vietnamese author whose works have been banned in Vietnam for many years.

Other articles take deep seems at native information. The fall factor comprises “Facing the End,” a diary of The Cambodia Daily’s remaining days by way of Jodie DeJonge, the newspaper’s remaining editor in leader, and a Q.&A. wherein the blogger Nguyen Chi Tuyen criticizes Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party and describes what he says is repression by way of its secret police.

Mr. Jones mentioned he struggled with that Q.& A. as a result of he frightened that the Vietnamese government may punish Mr. Tuyen for making such provocative feedback. But he determined to submit anyway, he mentioned, as a result of he felt that it highlighted the most important human rights factor.

“I anticipate a lot more repression in the days ahead” in Vietnam, he mentioned.

Mr. Jones, 48, whose circle of relatives fled to Australia from Vietnam in 1978, mentioned in a Skype interview that he started his journalism occupation as a researcher and manufacturer for SBS, an Australian public broadcaster, after which labored as a reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald. He later based or co-founded 4 magazines that fascinated about present affairs in Asia, together with The Diplomat, which went virtual after he left in 2005.

He joked that he was once a “serial offender” for publishing such a lot of print magazines in such a virtual technology. “There is something, for me anyway, rather magisterial about this tactile form,” he mentioned from his house place of work.

“And, also, everyone told me that it’s impossible to make money on the internet,” he added. He wore black-rimmed glasses and a Cambodian shawl that brushed in opposition to his salt-and-pepper beard.

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