David Hutt is a freelance journalist and columnist who has been based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, since 2014. He reports on Southeast Asian political and business affairs, specializing in mainland Southeast Asia. His focus is on Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Timor-Leste.
He is the Southeast Asia Columnist at the Diplomat and a regular writer for the Asia Times. As a freelance contributor he has written for Forbes, the World Politics Review, the Nikkei Asian Review, New Mandala, the Mekong Review, Saigoneer, Ozy, Southeast Asia Globe, and more.
Previously, he worked as a reporter for Southeast Asia Globe and the editor of Focus Asean magazine.
He also works as a freelance political risk analyst.
To contact him for interviews, quotes, or just correspondence, Email: davidhutt1990[at]gmail[dot]com
Signal/Whatsapp: +855 96700 9161
NEWS & ANALYSIS
Risks and returns in China’s digital designs for SE Asia
Beijing aims to build a ‘digital silk road’ to neighboring region but trade wars, censorship and cyber-espionage point to a perilous path
Is Cambodia moving towards a one-party military state?
In recent weeks senior military figures have resigned from their posts to run in the July 29 national elections, a move seen to tighten Hun Sen’s grip (June 20, 2018)
Vietnam to boot its military out of business
New legislation requires the armed forces to divest their economic holdings, a move aimed at asserting Communist Party power and revolutionary ideology (June 14, 2018)
Vietnam drives to revive its ‘moral’ revolution
Nguyen Phu Trong is on a crusade to purge corruption, reaffirm ideology and restore revolutionary purity as the Communist Party seeks to regain its flagging legitimacy (May 20, 2018)
Behind the lobbyists who drew Trump to Vietnam
Washington-based law firms retained by Vietnamese military and with top ties to Trump add intrigue to a bilateral warming trend (May 4, 2018)
Vietnam’s socialist dream hits on hard times
Mounting debts, low tax collection and years of wasteful spending have forced public spending cuts at a time wealth inequality is rising (April 18, 2018)
The drive to recentralize Vietnam
The Communist Party is reasserting central command in a reversal of the doi moi reforms that allowed for free markets and limited local democracy (December 31, 2017)
Aung San Suu Kyi: Culpable of ‘Genocide’?
Will the international community contend with Aung San Suu Kyi’s culpability for the violence in Rakhine State? (December 19, 2017)
Where Are Southeast Asia’s Loyal Oppositions?
A closer look at opposition dynamics at play in the subregion (November 22, 2017)
Why the Return of Partisanship in Timor-Leste is a Good Thing
Opposition has an important role to play in the young country’s ongoing political development. (October 19, 2017)
East Timor’s “Red Rosa”
“They [the Indonesian soldiers] were dragging women on to the barges. One woman wouldn’t go. She was Muki… Small, intense, very Timorese, the Portuguese called her “the petite revolutionary” and “Rosa Luxemburg” for her contribution to the talks. When she resisted the Indonesians she was shot on the wharf and her body thrown into the harbour.” (August 18, 2017)
Is Laos’ New Leader Really a Reformer?
The answer is much more complicated than a surface glance might suggest. (April 12, 2017)
The Trouble With Cambodia’s Two-Party System
The lack of a formidable third party is hurting the country’s opposition. (April 12, 2017)
Will the Environment Be the Vietnam Government’s Downfall?
Environmental protests are proving a tough challenge for the communist regime. (March 22, 2017)
SOCIETY AND CULTURE
Drinking in Hanoi: Alcohol and Politics in Vietnam
A very short history of alcohol and politics in Vietnam. (December 27, 2017)
Gopal Baratham: “Orwell of the Orient”
The novelist’s work remains a useful window on the politics of freedom of (and from) speech in Singapore. (December 9, 2017)
The Trouble With John Pilger’s The Coming War on China
A closer look at a new documentary. (December 23, 2016)
That Time I Got Arrested in Laos
When the business end of an AK-47 is pointed at you, the invitation of a lift back to your hotel cannot be turned down (December 09, 2016)
Mexico’s most-feared drug cartels are infiltrating the region
Notorious for beheading rivals and massacring civilians, Mexican drug cartels are expanding into Southeast Asia (April 7, 2016)
Revealing Cambodia’s secret Khmer Rouge resistance
The prevailing image of Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge is one of dignified suffering and passivity. But many resisted the regime in ways often overlooked by historians (March 17, 2016)
Holy sin: child abuse in Cambodia’s Buddhist pagodas
Recent cases of monks committing child abuse have focused attention on the response from authorities and the Buddhist hierarchy (February 5, 2016)
The believers: Southeast Asia’s UFO enthusiasts
UFOs were first reported in the region in 1810. Nowadays, aliens are calling on the telephone, cloning using only their fingers and preparing to lend a hand in the aftermath of World War Three. Welcome to the hospitable world of Southeast Asia’s UFO enthusiasts (January 16, 2016)
The battle for Timor-Leste’s past
In 1975, Indonesian forces invaded Timor-Leste, heralding an occupation that lasted 24 years and claimed the lives of up to a third of the population. Forty years later, another clash is underway: an internal “history war” over the official narrative of the country’s turbulent past (December 30, 2015)
Blood and Feathers: Cockfighting in Timor-Leste
In Timor-Leste, young men used to prove their worth by decapitating members of rival tribes. Now they do battle via the country’s legal cockfighting pits. David Hutt delves into a world of masculinity, spiralling debt and martial arts gangs (September 16, 2015)