[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Saturday, January 26, 2008

[ASEAN Yodel]
1. ASEAN had a good presentation at WEF on Friday. Except for Myanmar, it was a full turnout. The three leaders (Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines) sat in front, while the other countries and the Secretary-General sat behind. The hall was packed with many in the audience standing on the sides and behind. The short video clip at the beginning gave them a good impressionistic sense of ASEAN.

2. PM Lee summarized what we are trying to achieve in ASEAN. President Arroyo reinforced the message. However, she made it clear that the Philippines Senate could only ratify the Charter if there were improvements in Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi was released. One could hear murmurs in the audience when she said that. PM Abdullah Badawi reflected on how China, from being a threat, had become an important friend of ASEAN.

3. Following the session, there was an ASEAN reception with ASEAN food (more or less) served on both floors. There were long lines although I didn't know whether the people came to learn about ASEAN or for the food. Expecting poor food at my dinner presentation on Asian integration afterwards, I picked up a plate to sample the fare which was not bad at all considering the circumstances. WEF would not allow outside caterers. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was at the reception. We chatted briefly. British FM David Miliband walked in a few minutes later. He, Kouchner and Rice had issued a statement on Myanmar. We lamented the lack of progress.

View the webcast of The Emerging Asian Community: The Role of ASEAN here

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

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