“ASEAN” had been mentioned increasingly and quite often a few years before 2015. The Thai government and media had promoted and educated Thai citizens regarding the ‘ASEAN Community’ which was launched on 31 December 2015 to prepare ourselves for the upcoming change.
Thai students have to study on the topic of ASEAN in the secondary school. We know that ASEAN, or The Association of Southeast Asian Nations was established in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao, Myanmar, and Cambodia joined later and currently, there are 10 member states of ASEAN. The ASEAN Community consists of three pillars, the ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community which are all related and supporting each other. We learn about other ASEAN countries’ traditions, cultures, history, economy, politics, sports, and etc. as well. It helps us to understand more when we have to deal with people from other countries.
I like the proposes of The ASEAN Community that aim to strengthen the bargaining power and competitions of ASEAN countries, promote collaboration and support regarding various fields such as the economy, social, environment, and culture. It makes all of the ten member states become ‘a whole family’ and have a better standard of living.
Thailand is located at the center of most ASEAN countries (Lao and Cambodia on the east, Myanmar on the west and Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia on the south). Moreover, Thailand has the nearby countries like China and India. These will make Thailand as a gateway to Asia with the free flow of goods, capital, stock exchanges, trading and skilled labor. Not only for the economic aspect but also for the tourism industry, Thailand will become the center of tourism.
With all the changes, people of member states have to adjust and improve themselves to cope with and make ASEAN success.
By Natcha Poompradit, ASEAN Correspondent from Thailand