LSE Southeast Asia Week 2020: Politics and Economics of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia

Hosted by the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre

Online Event


Natalie Black CBE

Natalie Black CBE

Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific, UK Government

Prof John Sidel

Prof John Sidel

Sir Patrick Gillam Chair in International and Comparative Politics, LSE Department of Government

Prof Lutfey Siddiqi

Prof Lutfey Siddiqi

Visiting Professor in Practice, LSE IDEAS

Dr Adrian Paul Rabe

Dr Adrian Paul Rabe

Managing Director, Global Health Focus

Professor Simon Hix

Professor Simon Hix

Pro-Director(Research), LSE


Prof Hyun Bang Shin

Prof Hyun Bang Shin

Professor of Geography and Urban Studies and Director of Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre, LSE

For the first event of LSE Southeast Asia Week 2020, SEAC is hosting a roundtable panel discussion, chaired by SEAC Director Prof. Hyun Bang Shin on 26th October 2020. The event invites regional experts to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on regional politics and economic performance in Southeast Asia, and how these are entwined with health concerns.

The roundtable also welcomes Professor Simon Hix, Pro-Director for Research, who will give welcoming remarks to all attendees joining the LSE Southeast Asia Week programme this week. 


The future of UK-ASEAN trade relations (Natalie Black CBE)

Over the last ten years, trade between the UK and ASEAN has grown by almost 70% to just under £42 billion. As the region responds to the COVID19 pandemic and focuses on its economic recovery, Natalie will consider the implications for UK-ASEAN trade relations both in terms of challenges and opportunities - with a particular focus on key areas of potential collaboration including technology, infrastructure and education.

Never Let a Good Crisis Go To Waste: The COVID-19 Pandemic and Urban Transport Reform Advocacy in the Philippines (Prof John Sidel)

Since March 2020, the Philippine government's response to the COVID-19 global pandemic has entailed various forms of 'community quarantine' which have included restrictions on public transport, drastically restricting movement in major conurbations such as the seventeen cities of Metro Manila. Against this backdrop, and amidst considerable ambiguity, uncertainty, and inconsistency in government planning to loosen restrictions on mobility, urban transport advocacy groups have succeeded in exploiting the ongoing crisis to make unprecedented -- and potentially irreversible -- progress on the advancement of their agenda for wholesale reform of urban transportation systems in the Philippines, especially in Metro Manila.  This success stands as an interesting example of forms of 'pandemic politics' which involve civic activism and reform advocacy rather than aggrandizement and abuse of power by incumbent officials.

Economic policy in the crucible of Covid-19: The Singapore experience so far (Prof Lutfey Siddiqi)

Covid-19 has accelerated certain trends and disrupted certain others. In the immediate economic response to the pandemic, several taboos have seemingly been broken around the world. What will recovery look like? What are the enduring changes in attitude and outlook, shaping a new compact between government, business, and society? On a backdrop that was already characterized by heightened geo-political tension, technology-driven disruption, and demographic change, Singapore’s challenges and approach, while work-in-progress, might provide some general lessons.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Health Systems in Southeast Asia – An overview (Dr Adrian Paul Rabe)

COVID-19 is a global pandemic inflicting its impact on all sectors. Southeast Asia presents a mixture of challenges when it comes to COVID-19, with significant variation in health systems. The differential impact of COVID-19 will be examined on health systems in South East Asia, using the “building blocks” model recommended by the World Health Organization, including service delivery, health workforce, health information systems, access to essential medicines, financing, and governance. Both short- and long-term challenges will be briefly discussed as COVID-19 continues to rampage in the region.


  • Natalie Black CBE was appointed Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner (HMTC) for Asia Pacific, covering North-East Asia, South-East Asia and Australasia in September 2018. Natalie has held a number of posts in Her Majesty’s Government, including Deputy Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit; Director of the Internet Harms Unit; Director of the Office of Cyber Security, Cabinet Office. Before joining the Civil Service, Natalie was the Chief of Staff for Security at the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, London2012, and a management consultant. Natalie is a graduate of the London School of Economics (BSc International Relations) and Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a Fulbright scholar.
  • Prof John Sidel is the Sir Patrick Gillam Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Professor Sidel received his BA and MA from Yale University and his PhD from Cornell University. He is the author of Capital, Coercion, and Crime: Bossism in the Philippines (1999), Philippine Politics and Society in the Twentieth Century: Colonial Legacies, Postcolonial Trajectories (2000), Riots, Pogroms, Jihad: Religious Violence in Indonesia (2006), The Islamist Threat in Southeast Asia: A Reassessment (2007), Thinking and Working Politically in Development: Coalitions for Change in the Philippines (2020, with Jaime Faustino) and a forthcoming book Republicanism, Communism, Islam: Cosmopolitan Origins of Revolution in Southeast Asia.
  • Prof Lutfey Siddiqi is a Visiting Professor in Practice at LSE IDEAS, a co-investigator at LSE Inclusion Initiative and an advisory board member at LSE Systemic Risk Centre. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the National University of Singapore (Risk Management Institute) and advisory board member of the Centre for Governance (CGIO) at NUS business school. He was previously Global Head of Emerging Markets for Foreign Exchange, Rates & Credit at UBS Investment Bank and prior to that, a Managing Director at Barclays Bank in charge of a business-line across Asia Pacific.
  • Dr Adrian Paul Rabe is a physician specialised in general internal medicine with nearly a decade of experience in clinical practice. He has since shifted to epidemiology, health policy and health economics research with a focus on large healthcare datasets globally. Adrian teaches at Imperial College London where he sits as Honorary Research Fellow. He manages a non-government organisation called Global Health Focus, which aims to fulfil the third Sustainable Goal of Health for All through educational and research initiatives in global health knowledge, skills, leadership and practice, directed at developing countries. Adrian is also a graduate and currently a mentor at the LSE.
  • Prof Simon Hix is the Pro-Director for Research and the Harold Laski Professor of Political Science at LSE. An LSE alumnus, he  was awarded a BSc(Econ) in Government and History in 1990 and an MSc(Econ) in West European Politics in 1992, before gaining a PhD at the European University Institute in Florence.  After periods in Brussels and Washington, DC, Simon took his first academic position at Brunel University in 1996 and a Lectureship at LSE in 1997.  He was promoted to Professor in 2005 and became the inaugural Harold Laski Professor of Political Science in 2015. Simon is one of the leading researchers, teachers, and commentators on European and comparative politics in the UK.  He has published over 100 books and articles and among many others he has received prizes for his research from the US-UK Fulbright Commission, the American Political Science Association, and the UK Economic and Social Research Council.  He is also a prize-winning teacher, and continues to teach “Introduction to Political Science” to over 300 first-year undergraduate students. Simon has held visiting professor positions at Stanford, Berkeley, UC San Diego, Sciences Po in Paris, the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, and the Korean Institute for International Economic Policy in Seoul.  He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Arts, Chairman of VoteWatch (an NGO tracking voting in the European Parliament) and Associate Editor of the journal European Union Politics. 
  • Prof Hyun Bang Shin is Professor of Geography and Urban Studies in the Department of Geography and Environment and Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research centres on the critical analysis of the political economic dynamics of speculative urbanisation, the politics of redevelopment and displacement, gentrification, housing, the right to the city, and mega-events as urban spectacles, with particular attention to cities in Asian countries such as South Korea, China, Vietnam and Singapore. His recent projects on ‘circulating urbanism and (Asian) capital’ have also brought him to work on Quito, Manila, Iskandar Malaysia, Kuwait City and London. Prof Shin has published widely in major international journals and contributed to numerous books on the above themes. He has coauthored Planetary Gentrification (Polity, 2016), edited Anti-Gentrification: What Is to Be Done (Dongnyok, 2017),and co- edited Global Gentrifications: Uneven Development and Displacement (Bristol University Press, 2015) and Neoliberal Urbanism, Contested Cities and Housing in Asia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). He is a board member (trustee) of the Urban Studies Foundation, and sits on the international advisory board of the journal Antipode as well as on the editorial board of the journals International Journal of Urban and Regional Research; Urban Geography; CITY; City, Culture and Society; Space and Environment [in Korea]; China City Planning Review [in China]. 


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