Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

ASEAN seeks to create one big village


ASEAN/ A pink dragon-like alien from outerspace (who for some odd reason is called “Blue”) is driving through space one day when he gets into a traffic accident with some space debris and falls to earth. The creature lands in Southeast Asia (where bizarre traffic accidents are commonplace) in a place called “ASEAN Village”. It is here, waiting for his spaceship to be fixed, where Blue learns about ASEAN and its acheivements over the past 40 years, and its aspiration to become one big happy ASEAN Community.

Environmental activists dressed in orangutan suits at the ASEAN summit in Hua Hin, Thailand, Feb. 28, 2009. REUTERS PHOTO/Adrees Latif

This is the storyline from a new comic book and animated cartoon for schoolchildren that the ASEAN Secretariat has commissioned to propagate the idea of an ASEAN Community, one not so unlike the European Community, which the leaders of today are hoping to bequeath the children of tomorrow. And as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations gets set to host its annual pow-wow with other Asia-Pacific powers this weekend in Thailand, the story of a stranger in a strange land seems apt.

At the risk of being snide, observers can sometimes feel like they’ve dropped out of the sky and landed in a puzzling world where people speak in a profusion of arcane acronyms at ASEAN’s confabulations. (North Korea barked at ARF. AWGEE issued an impressive enviornmental paper. BIMP-EAGA went to CARD, connected the DOTS, and an agreement was nearly in their GRSP before they had to go back to the KRIBB for a ZOPFAN)