Veteran New Zealand journalist John McBeth has covered Southeast Asia for half a century – that included coups, a genocide and the downfall of dictators – for publications like the once revered and feared Far East Economic Review.
He spoke with Luke Hunt about the “salad days of journalism”, which began on the Taranaki Herald in 1962, and of his bitterness over people who denied the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.
McBeth’s work spans a wide range of topics. His first stories included the 1972 bombing of Cathay Pacific Convair 880 and the smashing of a heroin ring involving U.S. serviceman which formed the basis of the movie American Gangster. From his first base in Bangkok, McBeth moved to Manila, Seoul and eventually Jakarta where he wrote Reporter: Forty Years Covering Asia, and was a keen observer at the recent elections which resulted in a likely second term for Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
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