Abby Seiff is an award-winning editor and journalist with a decade of experience, primarily in Asia. Her writing has appeared in publications like Time, Columbia Journalism Review, Pacific Standard, and many more. Read more >>
At a Cambodian Lake, a Climate Crisis Unfolds
When I first met Ly Heng in May 2016, the forest behind his house was still smoldering — the remnants of the worst drought to hit Southeast Asia in decades. Heng lived along a small river at the top of Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake, in a protected area known for its rich biodiversity. At 45, he had never seen wildfires, and never seen the water level of the lake dip so low.Charred sticks and leaves crunched underfoot while Heng led me through the woodland, recounting his neighbors’ efforts to keep the fire from incinerating their houses.
On a cloudy Sunday morning in early October, the first real strains of autumn playing through, I met the writer and activist Wilfred Chan at the edge of New York City’s Chinatown, where it bleeds into the far wealthier neighbourhood of SoHo. The area has been locked in an intense battle against gentrification, and it was losing this block — an upscale market pushed against cheap clothing stores, a skate shop around the corner selling a pack of boxers for $58.
Nearly 12,000 kilometres away, Hong Kong had just begun its eighteenth week of protests.
Letter from Kathmandu: The Omnipresence of Dust
It's the middle of winter, and the wards of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in downtown Kathmandu, Nepal, are full of people who can't breathe.
On the third-floor pediatrics ward, Basanta K.C. balances his baby daughter, Bursa, in his right arm and deftly threads a narrow plastic tube into her nostrils. As she struggles for air, her eyes bulge slightly, and her skin pulls tautly against tiny neck muscles.
"Sometimes she plays a lot, but within minutes she has problems breathing," says Bursa's mother, Dipa, surveying the pair. Bursa curls against her father with a look of preternatural calm; Dipa's forehead is knitted in concern. At 24, Dipa retains a measure of good humor, but faint worry lines run from the edges of her lips. Both she and Basanta, 29, have small, dark rings beneath their eyes.
A PARTIAL SELECTION OF CLIPS
Abby Seiff is an award-winning editor and journalist with nearly a decade of international experience, primarily in Southeast Asia. Her writing and photography have appeared in Newsweek, Time, the Associated Press, Al Jazeera, Pacific Standard, among others. She served as an editor for several years at The Cambodia Daily and The Phnom Penh Post, before going on to work at UCANews, Devex, and Asia Society.
In recent years, she has reported on Thailand’s southern insurgency, food security in the Mekong region, and migration in Nepal. Her work has garnered several awards and grants, including an International Reporting Project fellowship, a Logan Nonfiction fellowship, and a residency at Yaddo. She is currently writing a book about Cambodia's imperiled Tonle Sap lake and the fate of the millions who live off its fisheries, forthcoming from Potomac books.
To view a CV, click here.