Growing up in a multiracial country makes me appreciate the presence of ASEAN. A sense of togetherness is shared when meeting people from other countries, despite meeting for the first time; and it sure would not feel the same had there not be any relations between the country where I live, Malaysia and the rest of the countries. It is also because of ASEAN that drives my young soul to explore more things in life; to discover, to learn and also to seek new things-for the hidden gems that can be found everywhere.

I am a proud Malaysian, but it is not complete without ASEAN. Speaking as a joyful youth that I am, it is a factor of ASEAN as well that a lot of online fashion companies are collaborating with influencers, or designers across countries. Emphasizing on this matter, it could not be done alone without the relations of the ten countries. The bond felt too close to the heart, making this wanderlust soul of mine feels complete; or to be exact, confident to walk around the town across countries; because I know, my neighbors and I are shaped to unite as one; we are one.

Circa 2014. A doodle made on a moving van, touring around the country 1,739.5 kilometers.

Circa 2014. A doodle made on a moving van, touring around the country 1,739.5 kilometers.

‘’To me, ASEAN symbolizes unity. I feel that when our countries work together and help each other, we are able to achieve greater things.’’

Farah Aida, 22

Fast forward to a few years later, at the age of twenty; the confidence I have built throughout the years, has made me a social butterfly to venture new things in life and work on my networking. I think it is very important at this age to start making progress as a fellow citizen, instead of simply appreciating and stay within the same circle.In my eyes, I take it as a way of the organization to lead; and the people to follow. There are numerous opportunities out there that can polish one’s social skills; and it is of one’s own will whether to kick in or not. I am glad I did the right move, and I would not trade the experiences for anything else!

A throwback picture taken in 2016, participating as a student delegate with friends from Indonesia, visiting the Selat Mosque, Melaka.

A throwback picture taken in 2016, participating as a student delegate with friends from Indonesia, visiting the Selat Mosque, Melaka.

Following to that, I am happy that the country I admire very much, Korea is making efforts to build stronger relationships with ASEAN countries. I have always enjoyed diversity of culture, and it is also because of that I am learning Korean as my third language, and have made Korean friends as I joined a short film competition recently.

Taken a few weeks back while shooting for the 2017 ASEAN-Korea Youth Film Festival.

Taken a few weeks back while shooting for the 2017 ASEAN-Korea Youth Film Festival.

All in all, the positive relationship between countries is something that I personally treasure a lot, and in the long run I hope to contribute more as a Malaysian to strengthen it for the benefits of a lifetime. Here is to more prosperity, joy and beautiful values; created and shared together.

 

By NISA MARSILLA BINTI SAFIAN, ASEAN Correspondent from Malaysia

 

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