PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-Cha yesterday launched “Asean Cultural Year 2019” at Government House, as Thailand takes its turn chairing the 10-member regional grouping.
Artists from Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia showcased regional diversity with performances that offered a glimpse of this year’s theme – “Asean: Oneness to the World”.
“We [Thailand] are very grateful and honoured to chair the Asean Summit this year. We, Asean, will strengthen our cooperation under the ‘3Ms’ strategy – mutual trust, mutual respect and mutual benefit – to achieve this year’s goal of ‘Advancing Partnership for Sustainability’,” Prayut said in his opening speech.
“Moreover, we will turn our cultural diversity into creative industry and turn our region into Asean 4.0,” he added.
Thailand will also promote cultural cooperation among Asean members, as well as hold Asean roadshows in Europe and China.
Representatives from Asean member states and international diplomats joined the launch in Bangkok, kicking off a year-long exhibition of cultural events in the Thai capital.
Presented by the Culture Ministry, among the highlights are a trailer of the new animated film “Rama Avatar”, an “Asean Street Food” exhibition, the “Asean Puppet Festival” and the “Asean Film Festival”, as well as “Asean Heritage: The World Heritage”.
At the launch, Prayut also presented English- language book “Vivid Asean” to representatives from around the region.
While reviewing the musical performances, the junta leader – who has released seven of his own songs during his five-year rule – showed off his musical talent by playing the ranad ek (Thai xylophone) and singing a song.
The Asean Cultural Year is Thailand’s “soft-power” push to boost economic and political solidarity in the region as it seeks trade leverage with the rest of the world.