Ripped from the Headlines Essay

What can the Southeast Asian media tell us about the modern cultural and political context of a country or set of countries in the region? In this 1,500 word essay, build from a telling example or set of examples from the contemporary Southeast Asian media landscape to introduce a specific “challenge of modernity” facing a country or countries in the region.

In this paper, you should be sure to:

  1. Describe the media event or events under consideration. Map out the issues involved, give the context, and describe major positions and actors involved. Draw on references to news media, blogs, or any other source that pertains to the issue in question.
  2. Make an argument about the political or cultural significance of the event. In doing this, try to highlight elements that you see as specific to the country (or countries) in question and how they grapple with contemporary issues. That is, what is “Thai” (or “Cambodian,” or “Indonesian”, etc.) about the event you have chosen? And how do the way debates  are framed, structured, or represented reveal something unique about the cultural, social, or political context of the country or countries in question?

Got (Breast) Milk?: The Pursuit of Modernity in Philippine Human Milk Banks

            In the past five years, Philippine news on human milk banks in the nation has increased. The government seems to be investing a lot of effort into establishing these banks and encouraging women to donate their excess breast milk. They justify the need for milk banks by explaining that they are for the benefit of vulnerable babies who, for some reason, cannot access their mother’s milk. Furthermore, the natural calamities that regularly befall the Philippines makes most people’s environments unconducive for a formula milk diet.

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