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The ASEAN Year

2008 is the ASEAN Year, two (out of three) major events occured many of us were not aware. The taking into effect of the ASEAN Charter and our first ASEAN Anthem (not that there will be a second or a third).

ASEAN Charter in full effect

The first was the full ratification of the 1st ASEAN Charter which took effect on December 14, 2008, a month after Thailand submitted the last Instrument of Ratification.

With the Asean Charter now in effect it solidifies the need to go back to the grassroots, the very reason why it exists - We, the Peoples of Asean. For years, ASEAN has become just another news-item many people simply ignore. One reason, lack of information as well as the fact that it has become so far away - an elite, top-minds group.

But could they do it? I think this is where the grassroots comes in, we have ideas how to bring ASEAN to our level which the elite and top-minds can not even fathom. If you read a lot of books, from fiction to philosophy, there is always this concept wherein someone who's way up there, so intelligent, fails to understand or think of the simplest things. In my Point-of-View, this is exactly what is happening.

For example, August 8 is ASEAN Day, and the ASEAN Charter simply stated that we must observe it. No member country has yet declared it as an official Holiday, which is very important in my opinion. Simply observing it is not enough, we need to make the people aware that there is something special every 8th of August.

What's declaring it an Official Holiday got to do with ASEAN awareness? People will ask what is the new Holiday about - ASEAN Day. They may just go to the malls or sleep, but at the bottom of it the people were made aware of "ASEAN" (and "ASEAN Day"). We are all busy people. Most of us only take notice of something "new", something that we haven't heard before, and if our daily routine was disturbed - like a Holiday. And being busy people that we are, we remember by heart the Holidays and we expect these holidays every year.

Eventually, we can use this awareness and expectation to launch more projects or events to further the goals of ASEAN, especially the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Pillar. People will talk about it, ask things about it, and will get involved or express their opinions about it - especially today via Blogging and Micro-blogging.

These simple things can make a huge difference and impact to bringing ASEAN back to its grassroots. I've said this one year ago, December of 2007 to make August 8 an Official Non-Working Holiday and I am going to repeat this over and over until all 10 member Nations do so. And I am not alone, many ASEAN Citizens as well.

(More about this on my summary of the ASEAN Awareness Survey.)

We also have an identity crisis here, what is (being) an ASEAN Identity? We, the Peoples of ASEAN, must get involved, and with the ASEAN Charter now in force, we can finally help shape the region and establish the true ASEAN Spirit.

The ASEAN Anthem

The second was the announcement and first singing of the new ASEAN Anthem entitled "The ASEAN Way" (very fitting for our diverse region). For the first time in our region's history, we now have an Anthem to sing to help us identify ourselves as "ASEAN Citizens", and show the world that we are one despite our diverse culture and differences.

If you were not aware of how the ASEAN Anthem was chosen, there was a regional competition where the chosen entry will win U$20,000 and will become the official Anthem. Do not worry, the dissemination wasn't that effective for some countries.

For example, ASEAN-Philippines disseminated the information to various schools of music and Philippine composers. They also coordinated with the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA). A job well done. However, it is sad that somewhere along the effort and the enthusiasm ended.

I don't remember seeing news about it or reading it from major newspapers (I could have missed it, but how many times was it reported). The PIA could also have sent the information to all the Philippine companies, that is one major way of getting the information out.

I think it is time that we have a serious "ASEAN Information Campaign". True, there are budget concerns, the other agencies were busy and have other more important issues to address. Then why not send the information to Bloggers and Micro-Bloggers? Why not tap the local online gaming companies? I highly doubt no one will talk about a U$20,000 award for creating ASEAN's first-ever Anthem!!

The information was passed on which is great, a job well done. However, there are other channels that could have been used and exploited. ASEAN is better marketed (if that's the right word to use) to the youths, the new generation. Where are most of them? Playing online games. How about the new social media? Then we have the Bloggers and Micro-Bloggers which disseminated faster than any traditional media the De la Paz vs Pangandaman brawl.

I am not sure how it is in other ASEAN countries, but if our respective ASEAN offices will say that they did everything they can and still the information wasn't disseminated enough, then we really have a very serious problem here - no one simply care about ASEAN anymore.


Is the Official ASEAN Anthem. Composed by Thai musicians Kittikhun Sodprasert and Sampaw Triudom, the winner out of 99 entries from all the 10 member Nations.

The lyrics (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore):

Raise our flag high, sky high
Embrace the pride in our heart
ASEAN we are bonded as one
Look-in out-ward to the world.
For peace, our goal from the very start
And prosperity to last.

We dare to dream we care to share.
Together for ASEAN
we dare to dream
we care to share for it's the way of ASEAN.

Download MP3 (1.1mb)
Download Score (77kb)

The Philippine Entry: ASEAN Reigns!

Happy New Year to all and 2009 will be the ASEAN People's Year!!

Related news/links not included above:
Thailand joined in a ceremony to welcome the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter
New ASEAN Anthem Sung


Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone.

This year has been our year of hard-working and mass dedications to the sake of ASEAN.

I wish everyone in this community as well as other people from other regions, a best wishes that may flourish their lives to a better stage.

Let's enjoy the new year and the happiness it may brings.

We promise a more reliable blog next year.


Last Sunset Photo Activity - Come and Join

You are invited to participate in the first "Last Sunset Photo Activity"! The idea is simple, take photos of this year's (2008) last Sunset together with your love ones. They could be your family, friends, co-workers, anyone.

Then upload it on Google PicasaWeb and/or Yahoo! Flickr and let the whole world know how you put a close to 2008 so you can welcome 2009 Fresh and New.

Want to know more? Continue reading...

Here are the mechanics:
  • Take photos of the 2008 Last Sunset together with your love ones
  • The following information must be included with the photo (NOT a digital edit):
    • [Where you took the photo]
    • [City], [State if applicable] [Country]
  • All photos must be licensed under: CC By-SA 3.0 Unported (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License)
  • Upload your photos at Google PicasaWeb and/or Yahoo! Flickr
  • Tag all your photos with: 2008_Last_Sunset
  • Tag all your photos with: CC_By-SA_30

To check the Sunset for your local city, visit this website. Later on, check all the photos uploaded by visiting this and this.

Finally, spread the news! Post this on your blog, tell your families and friends to visit this blog (or your blog), and encourage them to participate and join the rest of the world as we end 2008 Happily and Welcome 2009 Fresh and Renewed!!

Oh, feel free to add a short message, your blog URL, favorite game, etc. when you take your photos ;) Just keep it general patronage okay?

Happy New Year!


Some Khmer paintings

These are some of my collections of Khmer paintings. They are not the kinds of world-class ones but these are drawn from the hand of professionals here. Most of them focus on on rural lifestyle and society. However, these paintings use much in room decorations and the like. Here are them:


Michelle Yeoh: South Eest Asian of the month for December

From Malaysia to Hong Kong, China, to even Hollywood, this bond's girl has had a story to share.

Born in Ipoh Malaysia, Michelle Yeoh Choo-Kheng travels half the world to be one of the greatest asian actresses the world ever known. She was part of an award-winning Chinese film "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon."

In 1983, she won the Miss Malaysia beauty pagant at the age of 21, which was a defining moment for her afterlife. Born with a passion to dance, she chose to enter entertainment area and eventually was chosen for a TV commercial along with Jackie Chan.

In 1993, she began her filming career for Hong Kong industry, mostly in action fighting films. She used her dancing background as a source to act the "fighting" themes on her own. Like Jackie Chan, she managed most of her own stunts in the shooting process for a film.

She introduced herself to Hollywood in the masterpiece "Tomorrow never dies" and "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon," which won her a nomination places. Her first English film "the Touch(2002)" came as a great influences for her latter filming. From there, she began to stars in many Hollywood (English speaking) Asian film such as "Memoir of a Geisha" and "Mummy 3: Tomb of the dragon emperor."

For her personal life, she married once in but divorced. Just recently that she announced that she is engaged to Jean Todt.

Michelle Yeoh has had every reasons to become "bond girl," despite she could even surpass "Bond" in reality. She truly is a noble South East Asian.


Some music for the blog

Played by Denith

Just wanted to add some more colour this blog. So I added this clip.

This song is "Canon in D" which is one beautiful piece of music.



Miss Earth is Southeast Asian!

Once again, a Southeast Asian beauty stood out. At the 2008 Miss Earth Pageant, Karla Henry of the Philippines won the coveted crown.

The Miss Earth pageant is an annual international beauty pageant promoting environmental awareness. The pageant originated in the Philippines in 2001 and is considered one of the 3 largest beauty pageants in the world in terms of the number of participating countries alongside Miss Universe and Miss International.

Karla Henry, 24, won the title and was declared the first Filipino and Asian to win the Miss Earth title last November 9, 2008 at the Clark Expo Ampitheater in Pampanga, Philippines. Miss Henry beat 84 others.

We are very proud of you Miss Henry. You are a Southeast Asian jewel!


Paula Malai Ali: Southeast Asian of the Month for November

Paula Malai Ali Othman

A Veejai Queen or a super talent girl... Paula Malai Ali has all the abilities to become more than that.

Born in Brunei, grew up in Malaysia and graduated in Singapore, she has numerous mixed cultural inputs and outputs to share to the world. Her voice is enough to seduce all men in the world and not to mention her beauty. And it is still a good news to all men in the world that she is currently single. What is more, the very good news is that she has an identical twin sister. So go home and prepare your CVs.

She is someone who is imbued with a great personality. She feels no stranger in every places she set foot and feels no pressure to new people she works with. She and her sister share the same dreams and work toward the same career. She values her twin as "the most amazing gift" from her mother.

In 2002, Paula married one prominent figure of Malaysia who is also a member of a Royal Family. He is the Malaysian film producer Tunku Azudinshah Tunku Anuar. But in June 2006, after 4 childless marriage year, they divorced.

She began her career as a guest at Channel V. Her talent and charm has promoted her to important position of the program. She is the presenter of the US BillBoard Countdown. Her fame spreads to every corners of the world and she is caught by many other TVs, who are eager to sign her for their service. She often depicts as Malaysian girl, due to her background. Even Paula herself admits that Malaysia is her root but also thanks Brunei for being her homecountry.

Finally, she is now working for ESPNstar and presenting mostly about Formula one racing.

Paula Malai Ali Othman is truly a noble Southeast Asian.




This time of the year, Filipinos celebrate the All Soul's Day or Halloween. This is perhaps one of the Philippines' most important holidays as we remember our dead loved ones and offer them prayers and respect.

But being the jolly people that we are, the Halloween here is always noisy. People from all over the place swarm over the cemeteries laden with foods, drinks and karaoke machines.

Some also bring tools to clean plots and tombs of their loved ones and gather for a feast after it. Filipinos also light candles on their doorstep in honor of their dead relatives for guidance throughout the rest of the year.

In the provinces, people prepare native delicacies like suman (rice cake) and bibingka.

Children also go to malls in their halloween costumes and ask candies and goodies from stores.

The Halloween in the Philippines has always been regarded as one of the country's most important holidays as families get together and remember the times when they're dead still lived.


This date, 4 years ago

It was early in the morning, perhaps 6am, that we were gathered at the Sisowath High School ground. The school principals then ordered students to find themselves a small-short stick fits enough for a small flag. After that they gave out number of flags, two kind of flags they are: the national Cambodian one and the Royal sign one. It is free-rule for students to handle both or just one of them.

Then we marched off the school, down to the quiet eastern road toward the park in front of the royal palace. It was 8 am and there were already countless number of people over there. We also noticed the Khmer Royal Armed Force there, they were to perform the national anthem and other important rhythm for this special occasion. The seats were still empty, however, because other students from other schools haven’t arrived yet. We found ourselves appropriate places to seat, hope for a full view to the palace, where the king would emerged. We were waiting for over an hour before a proper protocol started and we witnessed the biggest event of the year.

At near noon time, the king appeared at the upper front of the palace and made a speech. Every stood up and cheered our new king. Then, the balloons were released to help celebrate the king. Everyone was very happy to be at that special occasion. I don’t even believe that I could be there for such a great moment.

A few moment later, the whole gathering was dismissed. Everyone went home with pride.

Here are the pix:

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What's up for 1 year anniversary

Hello everyone, and it is including you Ryan.

It has been a year of actions and achievements. Today, I am very happy that this blog is one year old.

To date, we have made a tremendous progress, far from what I have imagined. Despite some of you being busy with daily life and work, the blog is not as dead as it looks. Your spirit and contribution has kept this blog alive until today.

I remembered the time in AsiaFinest Forum, in ASEAN Clan section when we were starting the discussion about the potential blog, the supersede idea. Thus far, we know only one thing: WE MADE IT.

"Effort does pay-off," this is what I have learned, my friend. And everyone has part of this achievement.
- John and Ari are always the best people I have known in my life.
- Hafiz has done incredible job covers our progress
- Allen has brought us many many great ideas
- Dee Dee and Sovanna has part in the encouragement and supports for the blog
- And Ryan, the new soul, will adds more to the blog

We are one community, even we are living in great distance, but nothing seems to hinder our communication and our move to the future ASEAN.

I believe that ASEAN citizens may want to thank us for all these efforts and we also believe that ASEAN is our true home.

Long Live ASEAN

Long Live AC Blog

Thanks everyone, for making this dream come true

Happy 1 year anniversary

Man! This is totally near stupid... hehe,

We started this blog on 8th October 2008 and now, its been one year already.



Southeast Asia's Great New Show

In an attempt to blur the borders of Southeast Asia, here comes a drama series set in two of the region's most beautiful countries. The jointly-produced drama series entitled Kahit Isang Saglit (A Time For Us) is a masterpiece in the world of entertainment.

Kahit Isang Saglit is set in Malaysia and the Philippines, jointly produced by Double Vision Malaysia and ABS-CBN Philippines this year. The lead roles are played by Filipino actor, model and singer Jericho Rosales and Malaysian actress and model Carmen Soo.

The synopsis goes like this;

Rocky Santillan's (Jericho Rosales) father was a policeman who was murdered. His mother suffered from a fatal heart attack as she mourned her husband’s lifeless body on the beach. Margaret/Garie (Carmen Soo) was very happy to see her father, Ronaldo Dimaandal (Albert Martinez, again and was excited to spend time with both her mom & dad, but she awoke the next morning to find out he had gone again. Garie & her mom then went to live with a relative who didn’t too think much of her dad (Garie's Grandmother & Eunice's mother).

After 15 years, Rocky has become a police officer and gone to Malaysia for an important assignment. While in Malaysia, he secretly leads an investigation into his father’s death, which remains unsolved though Rocky can still remember the face of the man who visited his dad before he was murdered (Garie’s dad). Meanwhile, Garie still yearns for her father. She still believes that her father left against his will and plans to go to the Philippines to look for him.
One busy day, when both of them are in a rush, they collide and fall into each other’s arms.

It was first aired in the Philippines on primetime from Monday through Friday and will soon be aired in Malaysia, Singapore and HongKong on weekends. The drama series is mostly in Filipino and partly in English and Bahasa.

With this new drama series, the beauty of two countries were shown in a very ecstatic mood revolving in the romantic ambience. It was directed by Gilbert Perez and Jerry Lopez Sineneng.

Watch The Full Trailer Here:

Belait District and Kuala Belait

Belait District and Kuala Belait

Brunei Darussalam is divided into four districts. The largest one is the Belait District which located western-most of the country, and covers half of the country’s total size. Being a direct neighbour to Malaysia, Belait District provides land for 70,000 people to live and being the 2nd most populous district, behind Bandar Seri Begawan’s host district. On the contrary, this district has the lowest density than others, due to its huge size of available land.

For Brunei, the Belait District is the heart of oil and gas industry. The Royal Dutch Shell Company has installed major business operations there.
Most inhabitants of Belait District live in Kuala Belait, its main and administrative town. This city is also the 2nd largest town of Brunei. The biggest one is none other than Bandar Seri Begawan.
Kuala Belait located in the western most region of the Belait District. This town functions as the administrative city for the Belait District. This town used to be a small fishing village for the Malays back in 1920s. At that time, the administrative body was Kuala Balai, the city which is southern to Kuala Belait. The cause of changing its administrative center was of the discovery of oil and gas in the Seria region, which leaded to the establishment of a new city for accessibility to the area of oil and gas, as Kuala Belait has a better potential for infrastructure, especially roads. After the Second World War, more commercial buildings were constructed, as well as administrative constructions in order to house local Brunei governmental service providers such as officials.
Today, this municipality is divided into 8 sub-districts and many suburbs. The town also has several tourism sites such as the Silver Julibee Park, The Monument, The Kuala Belait Boat Club, and the Teapot. There are other places to visit, and Belait District and Kuala Belait is surely a good place to experience.


Charter is one step closer

Despite threats of not ratifying it, the Philippines did it yesterday.

Now, only two countries have yet to ratify the ASEAN Charter. Indonesia is one and has made similar threat due to its concern with the status in Myanmar. The other is Thailand.It is unclear when the Thai legislation will do it, given the unrest there.

BAGUIO; Your Perfect Destination

Way up north, in about 1500 meters above sea level lies the Philippines' Summer Capital, Baguio City.

With just over 200,000 residents, Baguio City is a highly-urbanized Philippine city situated at the heart of Benguet Province and capital of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Baguio was founded in the 1900 by the Americans in the mountainous part of Luzon Island. Because of its location, it is cold all year round with lush pine forests and mossy grounds. Just like the Genting of Malaysia, Baguio is foggy.

The City is commonly accessible via zigzag roads along steep ridges and valleys which makes the trip more exciting. It is also reachable via the Loakan Airport.

Baguio boasts of its ethnic merchandise, beautiful parks and mountain views and several educational institutions that are among the best in the region. Landmarks are abundant in Baguio like the Burnham Park, with a large lagoon designed by David Burnham, The Mansion, the Philippine President's official summer house, Mines View, a small viewing deck overlooking the Cordillera mountains, the Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral, a majestic pink church at the heart of the city and many other tourist attractions that make Baguio a popular destination for expats.

What's mostly peculiar about Baguio is that airconditioning systems at most establishments are minimal that even the largest Mall has canopy roofing. Taxis here does not have airconditioning too, making it cheaper than in Manila.

The people of Baguio are very friendly and honest. They like to talk to people, especially to tourists and are very eager to show you around. The value peace very much that the police roam around at night for noise makers. They speak Tagalog, English and Ilocano, a native dialect.

The people of Baguio are composed mostly of Ilocanos, Koreans, Chinese and Igorots, an ethnic group.

So whenever you feel pissed off by all this hot Southeast Asian climate, visit Baguio and experience the fun it has to offer!


Visiting our beloved teacher for Internationl Teacher's Day

Firstly, before starting the story, noted that it is FOR, not ON the International Teacher's Day. We went to meet him on 4th, not 5th.

Okay, so, it was the afternoon that we gathered our friends at Paragon Super Market. Then, we set off to buy something for our teacher.

Let me introduce Teacher Keo Narin first. He is a teacher at Preah Sisowath High School, and he teaches "Khmer Literature Study." He is chosen to teach for the honored student of Khmer Literature class (one of the three) for many years, and up until now. He is very good at both lessons and essays. His essay is different but a true standard one. He is very strict when teacing, but very friendly when off-work. That is why we love him.

As the Internationl Teacher's Day draws near, we decided to pay some tributes to him as his students. We missed him so much, and since after passing the exit exam, we never had a chance to visit him. Today is imminent.

The first thing to do is to pick something for him. It was quite a hard choice since we had only 4 companions (including me). So, we decided to buy a nice pen and a perfume. Teacher needs them.

Luckily, we got Kannitha who would carry us with her Tico to school (and that also fit for us 4 ). We arrived at school and searched for our teacher. We saw him at the same time he noticed us. From distant, he could not recall who were us, but when we came near to him, he suddenly remembered. We havent changed at all is what he told us. We chatted with him for 2 hours and mainly talk about our progress in university and the progress of the school. He mentioned alot about his former students and current students, he compared them and he praised us all. He also gave us many advices about future career.

(Left to rite: S.Visal, C. Samsokrith, Teacher K. Narin, and V. Kannitha)

Acutally, we got two intentions to visit him at school that day. The other one was to visit our old classroom. And I couldnt' wait.

I'm coming

As I set my foot to the front of the class, images appeared. They seems as if to greed us, to welcome us home and to appreciate our love. I have seen myself back to that day, and try to think about my mistakes. I have had such a wonderful time with the 12F2, and I am going to remember it for life.

This is the place where I am:

Preah Sisowath has not changed much in structure, but changed very much in appearance. In just 4 years, the school has added new ambiences.

The most interesting addition to the school is the statue of King Javarman VII on the well.

Visiting our old school, paying respect to our teacher, and appreciating our past and eduction, is the principal of living. Like history, people should learn about it, and treasure it.

We, on behalf of the whole PS Group, would love to serve the country. It is our time to.