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The New Post-Pandemic Poor – The ASEAN Post

Posted: September 5, 2020 at 12:50 pm

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Kaveh Zahedi Van Nguyen

Children cross a canal passage holding food donations handed out during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in a low-income neighbourhood in Bangkok on 4 May, 2020. (AFP Photo)

After decades of impressive growth, for the first time, Southeast Asia is experiencing a drop in measured human development. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will likely take months to reveal itself and years to put right. Yet, a legacy of mobilising under constraints is leading Southeast Asias pandemic response.

During the first two months of COVID-19 lockdown, the once bustling streets of Bangkok were unusually quiet. In the alley nested between two high-end shopping malls in downtown Bangkok, an elderly couple were not at their usual rice cart. Their regulars, motorbike taxi drivers and shop assistants, were absent. The couple have not returned now that things have eased. A Thai blind massage team shared, in our recent dialogue, that for them, no tourism equals no clients and no income.

Similar tales of woe can be heard in many other poor communities across Southeast Asia. Garbage pickers in the slums outside Manila; temporary workers living outside industrial zones in Ho Chi Minh city; undocumented migrants and refugees living along the borders of Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand. They are among the 177 million people (below the US$5.5 poverty line) that the World Bank now estimates will slip into poverty.

No Strangers To Calamities

Southeast Asian communities are no strangers to calamities. In those times, they could probably turn to a relative, a friend or a neighbour for help. Or work extra to make up for the lost income. But the usual informal safety net only works if some are spared from the disaster. The COVID-19 pandemic does the exact opposite, striking everyone down at the same time.

Closed restaurants need no kitchen hands; street hawkers and motorbike taxis are idle when all stay at home; empty hotels need no cleaning. The new brief by the United Nations (UN) Secretary General shows that Southeast Asias gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to contract on average by 0.1 percent in 2020 with 218 million informal workers having their livelihoods at risk.

The informality of work means that they are not protected by any formal social safety nets. Even before the crisis, our analysis shows that 60 percent of the population in Asia and the Pacific had no protection when they become sick, disabled or unemployed. Many are so invisible that they would not even figure in the statistics.

The prolonged drought in much of Southeast Asia and the looming monsoons in the coming months may risk sweeping away the few assets they have left. Their hopes for the future, investment in their childrens education, look grim. Poor children without internet access, computers and smart phones cannot readily jump into remote learning during school closures. Without safety nets, either formal or informal, to fall back on, many will inevitably slide into poverty with no clear respite in sight.

Yet good news has come from Southeast Asia. The region was among the first to be hit by the pandemic and contains some of the countries with the greatest success in curbing it, including Vietnam and Thailand. Governments have been quick to roll out fiscal packages to help affected businesses and households.

Local Initiatives

Our review of COVID-19 responses reveals a diverse mix of relief packages including support for health responders, subsidies for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), wage subsidies and direct cash transfers for vulnerable populations.

The myriad of local initiatives is another source of great hope. In Thailand, local voluntary groups have quickly come together to locate and provide essential packages to the most in-need communities, including those unregistered. New ways of providing health support have emerged such as teleconsultation for rehabilitation in Singapore and targeted telehealth services for children with disabilities in Malaysia.

These good practices were shared in our recent dialogue for protecting and empowering persons with disabilities. Permeating these practices is a strong sense of coming together from both the public and private sector.

The crisis has also shown that limited fiscal space and resources have not stopped countries from supporting their people. Measures that once were thought to be expensive such as establishing universal health care and broadening social protection coverage are now rightly seen as essential investments in people.

Measures that were seen as luxuries such as securing internet for all are now recognised as a lifeline especially for poor and vulnerable communities including refugees and migrants. Measures that would help us respond faster to crises such as providing people with basic legal identity are now a must.

Southeast Asias long road to recovery has started. Time will tell if the emergency measures can be locked in to help address the regions deep inequalities and put it on a green recovery path as advocated by the UN Secretary General in his recent brief on COVID-19 in Southeast Asia. Only then will the people of Southeast Asia be more resilient in any future crisis.

Related Articles:

COVID-19: Pushing Millions Into Poverty?

Preventing A Global Education Disaster

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The New Post-Pandemic Poor - The ASEAN Post

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September 5th, 2020 at 12:50 pm

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First Avani+ Upscale Resort to Open in Vietnam –

Posted: August 25, 2020 at 8:55 pm

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Avani Hotels & Resorts, one of Asia's fastest-growing contemporary hotel brands, has announced the signing of the first Avani+ upscale resort in Vietnam.

Avani+ Ho Tram Resortwill expand Avani Hotels & Resorts' already robust development pipeline in Vietnam when it opensin the third quarter of 2023.

Currently, the brand has a total of three properties under construction in Ho Chi Minh City, Doc Let, and Cam Ranh, as well as two hotels in operation in Hai Phong and Quy Nhon.

Developed and owned by Hai Vuong Tourism Joint Stock Company, a German-Vietnamese developer with an established track record for high-end property development in Vietnam and Asia, Avani+ Ho Tram Resort is located in the serene beach town of Ho Tram in Ba Ria, Vung Tau Province, less than a two-hours' drive from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's largest metropolitan conurbation.

Occupying a scenic beachfront site, the 200-key Avani+ Ho Tram Resort is located in an area that is a rapidly developing destination given its proximity to Ho Chi Minh City, pristine wide beach, and the appeal of the action-packed Ho Tram Strip 2.5 kilometers away.

The latter is home to a convention center, Vietnam's first open table casino, shopping precinct, restaurants, bars, and a world-class 18-hole golf course designed by Greg Norman. A new water park under development will undoubtedly add to the destination's appeal. The resort is an excellent base for day trips and half-day adventures: exploring the natural hot springs at Binh Chau, beach-hopping along the coastal road or touring fishing villages and fruit plantations.

Once completed, Avani+ Ho Tram Resort designed by leading German-Vietnamese designers Korn Architects will be the focal point of Hai Vuong Tourism's 'Sanctuary' villa development that will include a lazy river, a beach club, a conference center, and a pier. The property's 200 standard rooms and five 90-sqm bungalows will operate as a resort, while 268 one, two and three-bedroom managed residences in two towers will be available for purchase by individual homeowners and investors.

Avani+ Ho Tram Resort makes good use of Vietnam's sunshine with extensive leisure facilities including two pools, a fitness center, a kids club, and a third-party destination beach club. A spacious, all-encompassing spa will offer re-energizing treatments and facials using indigenous ingredients and drawing on regional wellness traditions.

The resort's signature restaurant will serve Thai-Vietnamese seafood, while the all-day dining venue and Pantry by Avani will specialize in international cuisine and refreshments, respectively. The pool bar will be serving up tropical concoctions, mocktails and Vietnam's famous craft brews on tap.

From conferences to product launches, the development offers extensive banquet and meeting facilities that can comfortably accommodate up to 500 guests theatre-style in the state-of-the-art 684-sqm ballroom that is divisible by three. Two additional meeting rooms are ideal for board meetings, teleconferences, and more intimate events.

Due for completion in 2025, Long Thanh International Airport is located approximately 40 kilometers east of the center of Ho Chi Minh City and is a 1.5-hour drive from the resort. In addition to serving domestic and international holidaymakers, it is expected to become a vital commuter airport for business and MICE travelers.

Avani currently operates over 30 hotels and resorts in 18 countries. The brand recently debuted in Cambodia and South Korea. Avani currently has a pipeline of over 15 upcoming hotels, including recently announced projects in Doc Let - Vietnam, Koh Lanta - Thailand, and Nairobi - Kenya.

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August 25th, 2020 at 8:55 pm

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Thai Joints rule in the Heights – San Diego Reader

Posted: August 14, 2020 at 11:55 pm

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A family style spread picked up from Thai Joint

It sits within an inconspicuous stucco strip on Adams Avenue, smack in the middle of Normal Heights, with a generic sign bearing a generic name: Thai Joint. How many times have I driven past without stopping?

I had to be told its a sister restaurant to the University Heights Thai spot, Plumeria, and to Chi Extraordinary Kitchen, which is also on the stretch of Adams spanning the upper end of North Park (we might as well call it North Park Heights). Ive been fond of Plumerias vegetarian and vegan Thai Cuisine since it opened in 2012. And in the past five years, Ive also been wowed by Chi Extraordinarys focus on Thai seafood dishes. In other words, Thai Joint is worth stopping for.

A bland storefront and an almost forgettable name

Turns out, the original Thai Joint opened more than 15 years ago at a different Adams Avenue location. This ones only been open since 2018, but it doesnt seem like the residents of Normal Heights forgot the brand. Thai Joint has no patio or parking lot space to dress up as outdoor seating. Nevertheless, during the current pandemic closure, I continue to find a steady stream of customers picking up take-out.

Plastic sheeting covid fortifies the Thai Joint's ad hoc take out counter.

Theres a steady stream of delivery drivers representing pretty much every delivery app Thai Joint works with all of them. One of the drivers I meet while picking up an order shares how challenging it can be to lose weight while running deliveries. How hes on an intermittent fasting diet, which means he fasts during the day and only eats in the evening. He used to drive people around for Lyft, but switched to food during the pandemic. Now every time he picks up great smelling meals, it makes him hungry.

House made "e-sarn" Thai sausage

Thai Joint is one such challenging place, he says. When he clocks out, he occasionally returns as a customer. He vouches for the crispy tamarind wings ($).

I vouch for the house made E-sarn (a.k.a. Isan) style sausage. The ground pork sausage has a crispy skin, flavored with ginger, galangal, lemon grass, chilis, and herbs. You can spot the occasional grain of rice in there, responsible for a satisfying tang distinct from that of hot dogs. The $7 appetizer will appeal to sausage fans, and while you may find the same wings at Chi Extraordinary Kitchen, the sausage is exclusive to Thai Joint.

Coconut based red curry, with bell peppers, bamboo shoots, eggplant, and chicken.

Entrees represent the usual suspects of American Thai restaurants: coconut and lemongrass soups; curries of red, yellow and green; noodles and rice dishes featuring ginger, soy, and/or chili based sauces. To some extent these are all better than average, and cost $10 to $12 apiece, depending on your choice of protein, which at this location includes chicken and BBQ pork. Or, you can order a vegan version of just about any of them.

I dont know how the heights came to be blessed with such abundance, but its an easy area to pick up a great family-style feast. Just be warned, these Thai Joints revel is spice: anything higher than level 3 should truly burn.

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Thai Joints rule in the Heights - San Diego Reader

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August 14th, 2020 at 11:55 pm

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Covid 19 Impact on Durian Powder Market Research Region Wise Analysis of Top Players In Market By Its Types And Application | Thai Foods Product…

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Durian PowderMarket 2020: Inclusive Insight

Los Angeles, United States,August 2020:The report titled Global Durian Powder Market is one of the most comprehensive and important additions to Alexareports archive of market research studies. It offers detailed research and analysis of key aspects of the global Durian Powder market. The market analysts authoring this report have provided in-depth information on leading growth drivers, restraints, challenges, trends, and opportunities to offer a complete analysis of the global Durian Powder market. Market participants can use the analysis on market dynamics to plan effective growth strategies and prepare for future challenges beforehand. Each trend of the global Durian Powder market is carefully analyzed and researched about by the market analysts.

Durian Powder Market competition by top manufacturers/ Key player Profiled: Thai Foods Product International, THAI AO CHI FRUITS, Sunshine International, Siam Oriental food and Beverage, Jinhua Huayang Foods, TanTan Food, Naturalin

Get PDF Sample Copy of the Report to understand the structure of the complete report:(Including Full TOC, List of Tables & Figures, Chart) :

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Durian Powder Market Segment by Type covers: Ordinarily Powder, Ultrafine Powder

Durian Powder Market Segment by Application covers:Desserts & Ice-creams, Soft Drinks, Bakery, Confectionery, Snacks

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*Major drivers and restraining factors, opportunities and challenges, and the competitive landscape *New, promising avenues in key regions *New revenue streams for all players in emerging markets *Focus and changing role of various regulatory agencies in bolstering new opportunities in various regions *Demand and uptake patterns in key industries of the Durian Powder market *New research and development projects in new technologies in key regional markets *Changing revenue share and size of key product segments during the forecast period *Technologies and business models with disruptive potential

Based on region, the globalDurian Powder market has been segmented into Americas (North America ((the U.S. and Canada),) and Latin Americas), Europe (Western Europe (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, UK and Rest of Europe) and Eastern Europe), Asia Pacific (Japan, India, China, Australia & South Korea, and Rest of Asia Pacific), and Middle East & Africa (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, South Africa, and Rest of Middle East & Africa).

Key questions answered in the report:

What will the market growth rate of Durian Powder market? What are the key factors driving the global Durian Powder market size? Who are the key manufacturers in Durian Powder market space? What are the market opportunities, market risk and market overview of the Durian Powder market? What are sales, revenue, and price analysis of top manufacturers of Durian Powder market? Who are the distributors, traders, and dealers of Durian Powder market? What are the Durian Powder market opportunities and threats faced by the vendors in the global Durian Powder industries? What are sales, revenue, and price analysis by types and applications of Durian Powder market? What are sales, revenue, and price analysis by regions of Durian Powder industries?

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Table of Contents Section 1 Durian Powder Product Definition Section 2 Global Durian Powder Market Manufacturer Share and Market Overview 2.1 Global Manufacturer Durian Powder Shipments 2.2 Global Manufacturer Durian Powder Business Revenue 2.3 Global Durian Powder Market Overview 2.4 COVID-19 Impact on Durian Powder Industry Section 3 Manufacturer Durian Powder Business Introduction 3.1 Thai Foods Product International Durian Powder Business Introduction 3.1.1 Thai Foods Product International Durian Powder Shipments, Price, Revenue and Gross profit 2015-2020 3.1.2 Thai Foods Product International Durian Powder Business Distribution by Region 3.1.3 Thai Foods Product International Interview Record 3.1.4 Thai Foods Product International Durian Powder Business Profile 3.1.5 Thai Foods Product International Durian Powder Product Specification 3.2 THAI AO CHI FRUITS Durian Powder Business Introduction 3.2.1 THAI AO CHI FRUITS Durian Powder Shipments, Price, Revenue and Gross profit 2015-2020 3.2.2 THAI AO CHI FRUITS Durian Powder Business Distribution by Region 3.2.3 Interview Record 3.2.4 THAI AO CHI FRUITS Durian Powder Business Overview 3.2.5 THAI AO CHI FRUITS Durian Powder Product Specification 3.3 Sunshine International Durian Powder Business Introduction 3.3.1 Sunshine International Durian Powder Shipments, Price, Revenue and Gross profit 2015-2020 3.3.2 Sunshine International Durian Powder Business Distribution by Region 3.3.3 Interview Record 3.3.4 Sunshine International Durian Powder Business Overview 3.3.5 Sunshine International Durian Powder Product Specification 3.4 Siam Oriental food and Beverage Durian Powder Business Introduction 3.5 Jinhua Huayang Foods Durian Powder Business Introduction 3.6 TanTan Food Durian Powder Business Introduction Section 4 Global Durian Powder Market Segmentation (Region Level) 4.1 North America Country 4.1.1 United States Durian Powder Market Size and Price Analysis 2015-2020 4.1.2 Canada Durian Powder Market Size and Price Analysis 2015-2020 4.2 South America Country 4.2.1 South America Durian Powder Market Size and Price Analysis 2015-2020 4.3 Asia Country 4.3.1 China Durian Powder Market Size and Price Analysis 2015-2020 4.3.2 Japan Durian Powder Market Size and Price Analysis 2015-2020 4.3.3 India Durian Powder Market Size and Price Analysis 2015-2020 4.3.4 Korea Durian Powder Market Size and Price Analysis 2015-2020 4.4 Europe Country 4.4.1 Germany Durian Powder Market Size and Price Analysis 2015-2020 4.4.2 UK Durian Powder Market Size and Price Analysis 2015-2020 4.4.3 France Durian Powder Market Size and Price Analysis 2015-2020 4.4.4 Italy Durian Powder Market Size and Price Analysis 2015-2020 4.4.5 Europe Durian Powder Market Size and Price Analysis 2015-2020 4.5 Other Country and Region 4.5.1 Middle East Durian Powder Market Size and Price Analysis 2015-2020 4.5.2 Africa Durian Powder Market Size and Price Analysis 2015-2020 4.5.3 GCC Durian Powder Market Size and Price Analysis 2015-2020 4.6 Global Durian Powder Market Segmentation (Region Level) Analysis 2015-2020 4.7 Global Durian Powder Market Segmentation (Region Level) Analysis Section 5 Global Durian Powder Market Segmentation (Product Type Level) 5.1 Global Durian Powder Market Segmentation (Product Type Level) Market Size 2015-2020 5.2 Different Durian Powder Product Type Price 2015-2020 5.3 Global Durian Powder Market Segmentation (Product Type Level) Analysis Section 6 Global Durian Powder Market Segmentation (Industry Level) 6.1 Global Durian Powder Market Segmentation (Industry Level) Market Size 2015-2020 6.2 Different Industry Price 2015-2020 6.3 Global Durian Powder Market Segmentation (Industry Level) Analysis Section 7 Global Durian Powder Market Segmentation (Channel Level) 7.1 Global Durian Powder Market Segmentation (Channel Level) Sales Volume and Share 2015-2020 7.2 Global Durian Powder Market Segmentation (Channel Level) Analysis Section 8 Durian Powder Market Forecast 2020-2025 8.1 Durian Powder Segmentation Market Forecast (Region Level) 8.2 Durian Powder Segmentation Market Forecast (Product Type Level) 8.3 Durian Powder Segmentation Market Forecast (Industry Level) 8.4 Durian Powder Segmentation Market Forecast (Channel Level) Section 9 Durian Powder Segmentation Product Type 9.1 Ordinarily Powder Product Introduction 9.2 Ultrafine Powder Product Introduction Section 10 Durian Powder Segmentation Industry 10.1 Desserts & Ice-creams Clients 10.2 Soft Drinks Clients 10.3 Bakery Clients 10.4 Confectionery Clients 10.5 Snacks Clients Section 11 Durian Powder Cost of Production Analysis 11.1 Raw Material Cost Analysis 11.2 Technology Cost Analysis 11.3 Labor Cost Analysis 11.4 Cost Overview Section 12 Conclusion

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Covid 19 Impact on Durian Powder Market Research Region Wise Analysis of Top Players In Market By Its Types And Application | Thai Foods Product...

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August 14th, 2020 at 11:54 pm

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COVID-19 Impact Assessment: Urban Refugees and Asylum-seekers in Thailand – Multi-sector Rapid Needs Assessment and Post-distribution Monitoring of…

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The COVID-19 outbreak started in Thailand in midJanuary 2020. The pandemic has had a significant impact on all sectors of Thai society, including refugees and asylum-seekers. In the urban context, UNHCR has been working with a range of partners, including Asylum Access Thailand (AAT), the Catholic Office for Emergency Relief and Refugees (COERR), HOST international, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Tzu Chi Foundation and UNICEF to ensure that the protection needs of urban refugees and asylum-seekers are met and thereby support the Royal Thai Government (RTG) in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Having observed increased levels of vulnerability relating to restrictions on movement, loss of livelihood opportunities and access to healthcare, these organisations, led by UNHCR, carried out a multi-sectoral Rapid Needs Assessment (RNA) to strengthen understanding of the situation of this oftentimes hidden population. This focused on a range of areas, including: COVID-19 knowledge, experience, behaviour and norms, health, education, employment and access to basic necessities. The findings, outlined below, provide a stronger evidence base from which to design protection and programme interventions.

Since May 2016, UNHCR, through its implementing partner, COERR, has been using multi-purpose cashbased interventions (CBI) to provide protection,assistance and services to the most vulnerable refugees in the urban context. The number of urban refugees approaching UNHCR and COERR for financial support has more than doubled since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is anticipated that the financial needs of the urban refugee population will grow as the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt. To ensure that UNHCRs multipurpose CBI framework for urban refugees in Thailand is as effective as possible, a Post-distribution Monitoring (PDM) exercise was conducted simultaneously with the RNA. PDM is a mechanism to collect and understand refugees' feedback on the quality, sufficiency, utilization and effectiveness of the assistance - in this case cash assistance - provided to them by UNHCR. The findings of the PDM will support assessment of the impact of CBI for urban refugees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the appropriateness of funding levels, distribution modalities and the use of cash to support refugees.

The report provides an overview of findings from the RNA and PDM exercise and proposes a series of recommendations to strengthen efforts by UNHCR, other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the RTG to better support refugees and asylum-seekers during this unprecedented and particularly challenging time.

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COVID-19 Impact Assessment: Urban Refugees and Asylum-seekers in Thailand - Multi-sector Rapid Needs Assessment and Post-distribution Monitoring of...

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August 14th, 2020 at 11:54 pm

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Gojek refocuses its regional ambitions in Vietnam is Thailand next? – Tech Wire Asia

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Gojek is rebranding its Vietnam operations as it renews its SEA expansion. Source: Shutterstock

Last week, Indonesian unicorn Gojekfinally announced that its official Gojek mobile app is now accessible in Vietnam.

The announcement was expected, coming on the heels of Vietnamese affiliate GoViets recently revealed plans to merge its app and branding with its parent firm. The unification of services and brand identity resolves a period of upheaval at GoViet, which burst unto Vietnams ride-hailing scene in 2018 with plenty of promise.

GoViet was originally envisioned as a local, autonomous Vietnamese partner for Gojek, offering ride-hailing and logistics services at the outset, with food delivery and digital payments being added later on. The launch of GoViet two years ago complete with its own standalone branding and management team was the start of Gojeks ambitious, US$500 million international expansion plans, with Thailand set to be the second standalone market.

Gojek co-founder and CEO Nadiem MakarimtoldChannel NewsAsiaat the time that the firm would put a lot of trust in the autonomy of the local teams and have them make autonomous and critical strategic decisions about where to go.

Even then, some analysts expressed reservations over this autonomous partnership model for entering new territories, worrying that a lack of a cohesive regional strategy might see the Gojek brand itself become damaged or diluted.

GoViet, at the time, was one of a score of ride-hailing operators entering a competitive space that had just been vacated by Uber, and where regional heavyweight Grab was by the far the dominant operator with a 73% market share, in the fourth-largest ride-hailing market in Southeast Asia according to a report by Google, Singaporean state-owned holding company Temasek, and US management consultancy Bain.

After 2 years in the driving seat, GoViet is giving way to parent entity Gojek in Vietnam. Source: AFP

Despite scoring 100 million rides on its ride-hailing service in just over a year of operation (a 400% growth from its launch kickoff), GoViet failed to break Grabs dominance in Vietnam and subsequently went through two experienced CEOs last year as it attempted to achieve its expansion mission directives of maintaining growth, retaining riders, and satisfying customers enough to pry market share away from Grab.

Gojek, the most valuable startup from Indonesia, finally succumbed to absorbing its first autonomous unit and is replacing GoViets offerings with its on-demand, all-in-one app platform that has become synonymous with digital services in its native Indonesia. The Gojek app will provide customers in Vietnam with access to its GoBike motorbike ride-hailing service, GoSend logistics service, and GoFood food delivery options for the time being.

Thanks to GoViets two-year imprint in the Vietnamese scene, the Gojek app will come with out-of-the-box access to over 150,000 riders and at least 80,000 food merchants in the cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, ready to serve local clientele.

Joe Devanesan | 9 June, 2020

At the announcement, it was also revealed that the Gojek app will be made available in Thailand over the coming weeks. Like GoViet in Vietnam, Gojeks initial entry into the Thai market was as the standalone GET app, with its own founding team and supplying motorcycle-taxi and food delivery services in urban parts of Thailand.

After two years of operations, the service is ready to be rebranded as the Gojek app, as Indonesias most valuable startup readies to bring its super app offering iterative additions to new markets. Like Chinas WeChat app to which it is often compared, in Indonesia Gojek is a one-stop mobile platform offering in excess of 20 services (and counting), linking up over 170 million users, 500,000 merchant partners offering myriad products and services, plus over two million driver-partners providing rides and deliveries across its diverse ecosystem.

Unifying our apps and brands across Southeast Asia is by far the biggest project weve undertaken at Gojek, involving a huge on the ground effort as well as a technically challenging overhaul of our platforms, said Gojek co-founder Andre Soelistyo in his LinkedIn post commemorating the Vietnam launch.

Joe Devanesan | @thecrystalcrown

Joe's interest in tech began when, as a child, he first saw footage of the Apollo space missions. He still holds out hope to either see the first man on Mars, or Jetsons-style flying cars in his lifetime.

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Gojek refocuses its regional ambitions in Vietnam is Thailand next? - Tech Wire Asia

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August 14th, 2020 at 11:54 pm

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Tatler Hot List: 12 Trailblazers Who Have Overcome Adversity to Reach Their Personal Best – Tatler Hong Kong

Posted: July 3, 2020 at 5:46 pm

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From goatherd to Olympic medalist

The son of a pedicab driver and a market stall attendant, Eko Yuli Irawan didnt dream of much beyond tending to goats, which he did every day after school to help his family make ends meet. Seeing potential, a local coach let Irawan train for free at his weightlifting gym, a decision that changed Irawans life.

Today, the 30-year-old athlete from Sumatra is a three-time Olympian, having won bronze medals in Beijing and London and a silver in Rio de Janeiro. The fact that hes done this and more despite his tiny stature of 5ft 2in has made him a national hero in his native Indonesia. After winning gold at the 2019 World Weightlifting Championships, he has his sights set at the top of the podium in Tokyo next year, and eventually wants to be recognised as the greatest of all time, a different kind of GOAT altogether.

See also: TatlerHot List: The Most Influential Voices In Asia Right Now

Grassroots activist giving hope to the hopeless

Singaporean Noor Mastura had a tumultuous childhood, living for years without a home or enough to eat. At one point, it got to be too much, and Mastura ascended the highest building she could find, fully intending to jump. But a voice in my head said Not like this, not now, says Noor. She eventually climbed down from the ledge, telling herself that things would get better.

They did, and after struggling to make herself and her family more financially secure, Mastura vowed to do what she could so that no one else in Singapore would go hungry, founding non-profit Back2Basics in 2013 to deliver free groceries to underprivileged families and homebound older people. Two years later she co-founded her other non-profit, Interfaith Youth Circle, to encourage dialogue between religions. For her work with both organisations, she was named Singaporean of the Year 2018 by The Straits Times. Not one to lay low, Mastura recently launched Being Bravely Woman, a platform to tackle issues of female empowerment specific to the Muslim world.

From gangster to CEO

Chiau Haw Choon grew up in a good family. He spent his days playing in the hardware shop founded by his grandfather in the small Malaysian town of Megat Dewa. But his life went off the rails when he was 13, after his family moved to Alor Setar, a much larger city, so his father could expand the family business into cement trading. Chiau dropped out of school and became involved in gangs. Two years later, he was caught up in a criminal investigation and thrown into a police lockup for five days. He didnt return to school until he reached the age of 17, after a period of self-reflection.

Once he applied himself to his studies, Chiau unexpectedly found himself taking the reins of the family company in his early twenties, when his father suddenly became ill. I didnt expect to be taking over so soon, he says. The only experience I had was as part of a gang. Nonetheless, Chiau quickly expanded the business. Within three years, the Chin Hin Group had moved far beyond cement trading, becoming Malaysias largest distribution company for building materials. The firm eventually evolved into two separate publicly listed companies, making Chiau, who is now 36, the youngest head of a publicly listed company in Malaysia.

Giving hope to millions with mental illnesses

As a child, Hana Alfikih never fit in. Bullied at school and miserable at home, the Jakarta resident turned to drawing to soothe her nerves and distract herself from the impulse to self-harm. Only much later, at university, was Alfikih diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Today, she continues to use art as therapy, but for the benefit of her thousands of social-media followers, who know her by the moniker Hana Madnessreportedly named for her fondness of UK ska band Madness, rather than her global advocacy for mental health causes. Her illustrations feature colourful characters named after mental illnesses and medications, such as Bipo, Skizo and Medico, designed to amuse and disarm. Her mission is to reduce the stigma around mental health in Indonesia, where the practice of pasung, or confining mental illness sufferers in cages and removing them from society, is all too common. Alfikih tackles the issue head on in a recently released documentary, In Chains.

See also: TatlerHot List: 25 Entrepreneurs Who Are Shaping Our Future

Journalist and human rights activist

As a journalist, human rights activist and LGBTQ ally, Nalutporn Krairiksh is a fierce advocate for those who struggle to have their voices heard in her native Thailand, speaking up for inclusion in all its forms.

Frustrated by the lack of access and consideration offered to disabled people, Krairiksh, who was diagnosed with ALS as a child and is wheelchair-bound, is also the founder of, an online platform that publishes news and human-interest stories about disability rights, using her writing to bring awareness to subjects that dont usually receive the spotlightfrom less glamorous issues such as public transport access to systemic bias.

Krairiksh is also a founding member of the Future Forward Party, now the social group Move Forward, which is focused on social justice issues and made significant inroads in the 2019 Thai election.

Showing Hong Kong the Lion Rock Spirit

Elite rock climber Lai Chi-wai was one of the worlds best, regularly winning competitions and ranking in the top 10 professional climbers in the world. In 2011, a traffic accident left him paraplegic when his wife was seven months pregnant with their first child. Seeing his newborn son, says Lai, was all the motivation he needed to continue to live life to the fullest.

Lai continued his rockclimbing career, moving into coaching to help train the next generation. Five years after his accident, in December 2016, he inspired millions by scaling Lion Rock, Hong Kongs most famous peak.

Lai used his arms alone to ascend the 500-metre rock face over a gruelling 10-hour climb. The Lion Rock Spirit has long been a part of every Hongkongers identity, said to represent the tenacity that gave rise to the citys socio-economic development over the decades. In Lai, that spirit is alive and well.

See also: Learning From Lockdown: Lessons From Our Tatler Community

Singapores modern-day Beethoven

Globally recognised concert pianist Azariah Tan has played at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, won numerous international competitions and has a doctorate in piano performance. Something that makes Tan unique among his peers, however, is that he has reached these milestones and more despite having lost most of his hearing ability due to a degenerative condition. Tan only has 15 per cent of his hearing remaining and continues to suffer an additional loss of 5 per cent a year. He is likely to be deaf within the next few years.

Rather than let his condition slow him down, Tan draws inspiration from Beethoven, famously deaf, and wants to perform as often as he can in order to give hope to others. Hes raised funds for hearing-impaired children worldwide and played countless charity and outreach shows. In 2017 Tan was a finalist for the Singapore Youth Award, the nations highest youth accolade, in recognition of the inspirational role he exemplifies.

Dancing into a nations hearts

The 2008 Sichuan earthquake killed almost 70,000 people and left millions devastated. On that fateful day, dancer Liao Zhi was inside a building that collapsed completely. She lost her 10-month-old daughter, whom she was holding in her arms, and both her legs. Liao was the buildings sole survivor, rescued after being trapped for 30 hours beneath the rubble.

Remarkably, she returned to the stage just two months after the incident, her performance inspiring a nation still in mourning. Liao eventually adjusted to dancing with prosthetic legs, learning to accept the constant pain as her new normal. In 2013, she won the nations hearts again, coming in second place in a TV dancing competition, Dance Out My Life. The same year she released an autobiography to tell the world of her ordeal, which was later adapted into a Hong Kong play, Angels Psalm. More than a decade since the earthquake, Liao remains a symbol of tenacity and courage, continuing to inspire millions to never give up.

See also: Tatler Hot List: 16 Women Fighting For Fairness in Asia

From delivery boy to the head of Chinas FedEx

Born in Shanghai and raised in Hong Kong, Wang Wei skipped university to begin a career in the manufacturing industry. After realising how difficult it could be to move goods across the China-Hong Kong border, he founded Shun Feng Express, now known simply as SF, from a small shopfront in Hong Kongs Mong Kok district in 1993. In the early days, Wang, along with his six employees, would personally load boxes into vans and haul freight across the border. Today, the company operates 66 aircraft and employs almost 300,000 couriers.

Known as the FedEx of China, SF is arguably more innovative than its US counterpart. After obtaining Chinas first licence for delivery drones, in February this year the company used the devices, which can travel up to 18 kms and carry 10 kgs, to send medical supplies to Wuhan hospitals at the peak of the citys coronavirus outbreak. Wang still owns 60 per cent of the companys shares and is the tenth richest person in China. Tatler was unable to confirm if he still personally makes deliveries.

From criminal to social-media philosopher

Sean Buranahiran was bullied relentlessly as a child. He learnt martial arts, he says, to bulk up and take on his attackers. It didnt work out exactly as he had planned, as Sean wound up going to jail for his violent conduct.

After serving his time, Buranahiran told himself he needed to turn his mind, rather than his body, into the powerful weapon. I wanted to win the war without fighting, he says, and dedicated himself to learning from the great philosophers. Now he is one of Thailands top social media thought leaders, coming to prominence with 51 Weapons of The Wise, his bestselling book based on his experience of turning his life around. His viral videos on life, love and philosophy have been shared by millions, including, says Buranahiran, dozens of high-profile leaders such as the Crown Prince of Dubai. He is also an in-demand motivational speaker and runs his own life lessons course, IVM: The Way of Sean Buranahiran.

From living on the streets of Manila to the citys youngest elected mayor

As a child, Isko Moreno would rifle through garbage to find his familys next meal, eking out an existence in the alleyways of Manilas Tondo district. After being discovered by a talent scout at a neighbours wake, he began an acting career, making a name for himself in teen-focused movies before graduating to more serious roles. But Moreno felt the call of public duty, and in the Philippines, where celebrity often carries political cachet, he felt the jump to elected office was within reach.

After a couple of unsuccessful runs at the Senate, last year he became Manilas youngest ever elected mayor, building a nationwide profile. A shining light in the countrys scandal-prone politics, Moreno is admired for his everyman style, inspiring millions with his If it happened to me, it can happen to anyone refrain, and avoiding the trappings of his office. His only indulgences, he says, are the cups of Starbucks coffee he drinks to get through his packed schedule. This is my pat on the back, he says. Every cup reminds me to be grateful because now I can afford to spend 120 pesos for coffee, when once upon a time I could not.

Turning personal tragedy into hope for her community

Jazz Tan always knew her father was involved in a criminal gang, but her life turned upside down at the age of 14 when he was murdered by his cohorts in their Penang family home. Losing the familys sole wage earner, Tan took jobs washing plates and whatever I could do to just keep us alive, she says, and eventually won a scholarship to put herself through university.

While at school, Tan established YouthsToday, a platform that raises money to fund creative projects that encourage young people to remain in education, find their passions and stay away from criminal activity. I didnt want other youth to follow in my dads footsteps, says Tan. YouthsToday matches student projects with corporate sponsors; in return, students run campaigns with their newly learned skills, such as photography, to help brands market to the universities. Since it was established in 2013, nine years after the death of her father, YouthsToday has supported 50,000 young people, working with brands including Sony and KFC. If youre revengeful for whats happened to you, youll end up feeling very emptyeven if you take revenge on the person who did you wrong. Instead, channel your energy into making yourself successful, she says.

See also: Tatler Heroes:IndividualsAround Asia Leading The Fight Against Covid-19

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July 3rd, 2020 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Thai Chi

Missing your travel plans? These home self-care practices will make you feel like youre on a Thailand retreat – Well+Good

Posted: June 15, 2020 at 6:47 pm

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Imagine the most relaxing place you can think of. Envisioning your living room? Probably not. The truth is, most of us would prefer to be on a tranquil getaway right now (or, like, any time) rather than dealing with our current reality.

Say it with us: Theres no place like Thailand, theres no place like Thailand, theres no place like Thailand

Assuming you, also, failed to click your ruby red heels and magically arrive at the wellness destination of your dreams, were bringing you the next best thing, courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand: Thai-inspired, self-care practices to create your own at-home wellness retreat (and make your living room feel a tiny bit more like that tranquil oasis).

Thai culture has values that are very in tune with body and mind, heart, soul, and spirit.

Thai culture has values that are very in tune with body and mind, heart, soul, and spirit, says Karina Stewart, founder and chief wellness director at Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa in Thailand. When [those values, the warmhearted people, ancient healing traditions, extraordinary cuisine, and mindfulness practices] come together, there are not many places in the world that can compare.

Of course the tropical climate, diverse flora and fauna, and gorgeous architecture also help make Thailand a top wellness destination, she says. But just because you cant teleport all of Thailands beauty into your living space doesnt mean you cant tap into some of those vacay vibes. Enter: Your very own at-home wellness retreat.

While we could probably all go for a Thai massage right about now, moving your body on your own can achieve almost the same effect. Thai massage therapists include a lot of stretching in their actual massage, Stewart says. A healthy stretching regime, where every joint of the body is stretched on a regular basis, happens when we do yoga, pilates, Tai Chi, or Qigong.

Look up a soothing Tai Chi flow to help you replicate that post-massage Zen feeling. Plus, Khun Sasi, an applied Thai traditional medicine doctor at Kamalaya, says even just changing your posture every 15 to 30 minutes while youre sitting at your computer can help energy flow more freely through your body, according to traditional Thai wisdom.

Yes, eating counts as a form of self care, and Stewart says nourishing your body, Thai-style, is all about simple, plant-forward dishes made with fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of herbs and spices. Adding fresh herbs and spices into our cuisine has an amazing impact on our rejuvenation, in our digestive health, in our immune health, on our emotional balance, and on our mental clarity, she says.

Meal prepping not exactly part of your ideal staycation? Brew an herbal teaanother Thai stapleto sip on whenever you want to relax. Sasi recommends boiling one cinnamon stick and two to three cardamom seeds for 15 minutes, then adding either the juice of one lime (if youre feeling constipated, this works wonders, says Sasi) or half a teaspoon of organic honey (she counts this as a bloat-buster) for a soul-soothing, wellness-supporting brew.

Prioritizing your own needs is important for your mental well-being, but caring for others can sometimes be a major boon for your mood. In Thailand, peoples social network is very strong, Stewart says, which translates to more compassion and warmheartedness. So call a relative you havent spoken to in awhile, write a letter to a friend, or simply wave to your neighbor. Even if it only boosts your mood for a few minutes, thats still a self-care win.

Meditating with an ocean view sounds amazing, but taking a few minutes to focus on your breath can happen pretty much anywhere. Mindfulness practices are a very big part of Thai culture especially with regards to Buddhism, Stewart says. It is regulating stress, helping us sleep, calming our emotions, and also showing us how to be more self aware. And with that we are able to observe ourselves and make better choices in our day to day lives.

Throw on a video or audio track of ocean waves crashing, and carve out some time to sit quietly with your eyes closed. Bonus points if you light a sea salt-scented candle to really soak in the serenity vibes with every deep breath.

Dont wait until youre on a wellness retreat to get in tune with your body. According to Stewart, Thai people are known for listening to their bodies, especially through the understanding of yin and yang energy, adopted from the Chinese. By balancing hot and cold energy, Stewart explains, you can encourage your body to come back to center. And who couldnt use a little more balance in their life?

You can use foods to tap into that energy by sipping on a cooling beverage like coconut water or mint tea when youre feeling hot or irritable (they dont call it being hot-headed for nothing), or cooking with warming spices like cinnamon or ginger when youre feeling down or just straight-up chilled from too much AC.

And with that, were off to stretch, call our mom, and plan our future IRL vacay to Thailand.

Sponsored by Tourism Authority of Thailand

Photo: Getty Images/Cavan Images

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Missing your travel plans? These home self-care practices will make you feel like youre on a Thailand retreat - Well+Good

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June 15th, 2020 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Thai Chi

schools in Asia that stick together during a pandemic – Study International News

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School communities must stick together. The current pandemic is a testament to this.

Through a cohesive campus community, it is possible for students to be safe and healthy, with no compromise to their academic progress.

It goes beyond shifting education online. International schools in Asia are making daily deliveries of schoolwork, even laptops, tablets and Wi-Fi hot spots. Teachers hold daily virtual Zoom sessions with students. Administrators meet daily to check on the academic and emotional well-being of students. Digital learning tools from Google Hangouts to Microsoft Teams are being implemented full force.

Everyone is doubling down to keep learning going.

With team spirit and support, schools are proving that they can remain focused despite lockdowns, with the added benefit of students and faculty learning the true value of community.

A recent study by National University of Singapore psychology researchers Francesca Wah and Tick Ngee Sim also found that teamwork impacts academic performance.

Source: Jerudong International School

Wah and Sim recruited 1,005 students from three government-aided, co-educational Singapore primary schools to see if a common goal of winning encourages students to perform better at tasks. They found that children of all abilities who competed in groups against other teams for rewards such as actual prizes and verbal praise achieved higher scores. Students also said they prefer a team-learning approach to an independent-study approach.

Co-operation plays a key role in cultivating social connectedness, said Wah.

These unprecedented times call for nothing less. Here are four international schools in Asia with supportive campus communities keeping students inspired and engaged.

At International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC), community comes first.

The investments it has made over the past three months to safeguard students and faculty as well as adapt to COVID-19 is exemplary in its depth and breadth.

This stems from ISHCMCs deep-rooted culture of care to balance academic outcomes with the social and emotional needs of the community given the current environment.

Source: International School Ho Chi Minh City

With the support of an experienced Student Support Service team, a number of Wellbeing Guides were developed aimed at keeping parents and students engaged and empowered through challenging times. Emotional support is available to caregivers and learners virtually as needed.

This holistic response is well-received by ISHCMCs students and parents alike. They are grateful to have compassionate leaders at ISHCMC who have offered stability to keep the community spirit alive. This is particularly true for Grade 12 students, who are about to embark into a post-COVID-19 world.

ISHCMC Secondary School Principal Will Hurtardo said, We are defined as humans not by the situations put in front of us but by the way we face them, respond to them and overcome them. More than ever, you have faced adversity with courage and resilience in a way we find truly humbling. The future is full of optimism and hope because you are the people shaping it.

Read more about how ISHCMCs Class of 2020 responded during school closures and their success stories getting accepted to the top universities around the world.

At Jerudong International School, community spirit is at the centre of everything that students do.

For instance, the Middle Years (Years 7-9) community follow the Way of the Meerkat.

Meerkats are renowned for working together, and older meerkats mentor the younger ones. Middle Years students are encouraged to think about the role they each play in creating a community at JIS and influencing Junior School students.

Source: Jerudong International School

In the Upper Years (Years 10-13), the curriculum focuses on the core values of JIS: resilience, positive relationships, thinking, healthy living and mental health. These values help to create an engaging and cohesive learning experience for all.

JIS Wellbeing Captains also receive Mental Health First Aid training and are free to organise events such as Random Acts of Kindness Day and Mental Health Day.

Through its Polio Points programme, students get to earn points by achieving their schools aims. If a student achieves all of the aims, JIS then donates money to UNICEF to pay for one Polio vaccination (sponsored by Aetna) last year, their efforts paid for 8,265 polio vaccinations in developing nations.

These initiatives show the holistic approach JIS takes to instill global citizenship in its students. At JIS, its always an encouraging environment for students to reach out to others and to think about how their actions have a positive impact on their peers.

It did not take long for Bangkok Patana School to act to keep its campus community safe. From mandating temperature scans and providing masks, this international school put its students and facultys safety first and foremost.

And once international schools in Asia are allowed to open again, Bangkok Patana will continue to prioritise the safety of its pupils by abiding the Thai governments safety guidelines.

Source: Bangkok Patana School

Bangkok Patana also prepares students for future challenges through a broad range of subjects explored within the International Baccalaureate (IB) and outdoor learning.

For instance, Year 3 students get to learn in an Outdoor Classroom where they interact with nature, plan gardens and create their own tropical fruit, vegetable and herb patches. Secondary students learn to look beyond their personal needs and make a positive impact on society at large via community service, gaining valuable experience and networking opportunities in the process.

Through this process, students gain a greater understanding of their responsibility to contribute to the global sustainability movement.

Singapore American School (SAS) is an international school with heart.

To keep their community safe during the pandemic, they closed their campus and decided to integrate distance learning into their curriculum.

Source: Singapore American School

Alongside temperature checks, temperature screening slips are issued to ensure that all students, parents and educators are healthy before coming to campus.

Student wellbeing is paramount and the schools eco-conscious campus also shows their community how sustainability helps to build a better world.

Their campus sits by a two-acre natural rainforest that their science classes use as a living laboratory, and they have one million kilowatt-hours of electricity running through their campus solar panels.

Through this commitment to sustainability and student safety, SAS is setting an example for schools around the world.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

ISHCMC: Empowering students to drive the sustainability agenda

3 international schools in Asia that prepare students for future success

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schools in Asia that stick together during a pandemic - Study International News

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June 15th, 2020 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Thai Chi

How to Keep Your Kiddos Busy During the COVID-19 Pandemic –

Posted: April 16, 2020 at 6:47 am

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Has coronavirus sent your kids suddenly home? Are they craving something to do nearly 24/7? Most schools and daycare centers are closed, and many parents have hours and hours of unstructured time with their kiddos. Despite this being a time of crisis, parents have an opportunity to create special memories with their children.

Now is an easy time to resort to lots of screen time, but experts recommend setting healthy limits. Studies show that too much screen time can impact brain development and attention span in children and even delay expressive language development in toddlers.

One challenge is that most parents have fewer community resources available to them than usual. Many libraries, gyms, museums, programs, and even parks are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Parents and caregivers are getting more creative than ever before to keep young minds engaged and hands busy. Here are some fun ideas.

Some are calling the coronavirus quarantine an unprecedented opportunity to let children be children and to have fun. Get them outside in the yard. Now is a wonderful time for children to build forts, do art projects, and dig in the dirt for worms (if possible). Imaginative play involves powering down the devices, providing children with open-ended toys or objects, and conceding to a little bit of chaos.

If your children arent used to playing this way, you can help spark their imaginations to get them started. It might also be helpful to rotate the toy supply of younger children. This makes newly rotated items more exciting and reduces clutter in their play area.

Spring is a wonderful time to get that veggie patch going and you can get the kids involved.

Many grocery stores sell seeds, so this might not even require a special trip to the garden supply or hardware store. Some helpful ways to get children excited about gardening involve including them in planning, reading books about gardening, creating a photo journal of the garden, or starting a compost pile.

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to plant a garden with a minimal amount of work and supplies is with direct seeding. Peas, spinach, lettuce, radishes, carrots, beets, melons, beans, turnips, green onions, and squash are all great candidates. If space is limited, do you have a patio, balcony, deck, or courtyard space you can use? If so, give container gardening a try with pots and planters.

No room for a backyard garden? Try container gardening on a balcony or deck. Image by Phichit WongsunthifromPixabay

Art projects with kids are a wonderful way to engage creativity, but they often consume a lot of resources.

Raiding the recycling bin for artistic inspiration is an easy way to repurpose materials, reduce waste, and avoid trips to the store. Reuse plastic bottles, mason jars, aluminum cans, and cardboard to craft new creations. Make bird feeders out of toilet paper tubes, an egg carton dragonfly, or tin can creatures.

Despite exercise being excellent for the immune system, now is an easy time to become a couch potato.

There are so many resources available online for doing physical activity, such as learning Thai Chi or Qigong, Zumba dance, ballet, karate, yoga, and meditation. Although this does involve some screen time, the kiddos can be active at the same time.

There are many ways to engage children in caring about the planet.

Greenpeace has a Plastic-free Future Global Classroom initiative with lesson plans and games for children of all ages. There are opportunities to celebrate Earth Day remotely. You can even organize a virtual event and promote it on the Earth Day website.

Due to social distancing, many people are feeling disconnected and lonely.

Think about your friends and family that might feel most isolated right now and consider fun and creative ways to connect them with the kids. This can involve making collages out of old magazines, tin can creatures from the recycling bin, or recording songs. Some families are using video conferencing to connect in unique and fun ways, such as playing hike-and-seek or singing happy birthday.

Do you have any torn or soiled linens or clothing? If so, what creations can the kids make from them?

If you have a dog, there are many fun toys you can make, such as a braided toy from repurposed linens. If you have a young child, sewing buttons on socks is an excellent way to improve sewing skills and a good start to creating a sock puppet! Older kids may enjoy sewing a simple pillow, drawstring bag, bean bags, or stuffed creatures.

What activities are keeping your kiddos busy? Share whats working best in the Earthling Forum.

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How to Keep Your Kiddos Busy During the COVID-19 Pandemic -

Written by admin

April 16th, 2020 at 6:47 am

Posted in Thai Chi

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