Are you ready for ASEAN 2015?
Last year, I was one of the aspiring students who had submitted her documents for the ASEAN Student Forum 2012 to be conducted in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Only 60 participants will be chosen among the ASEAN nations. I have no idea about the complete percentage for each country like the Philippines,but a rough estimate is about ten students each. Any interested participant should answer an official form distributed by ASEAN Community in Facebook, and submit an essay about himself prior to the application.
Anyways, I never really expected to be chosen. I just submitted my answers because I like ASEAN’s development goals in 2015, primarily the ASEAN Economic Community which will relax the economic ties of all SEA nations and form an integrated market where every country can benefit from one development of the other. I have much pride in my ASEAN heritage as much as I am in my Filipino lineage, and with its continuous stride for its lofty ambitions, I felt I can be part of its vision and implementation.
One morning, weeks after the application, I received this email:
Unfortunately, due to my financial situation and thesis, I wasn’t able to participate 😦
But I know I can still be part of ASEAN in other ways, and I will be more of help if I became a professional. 2015 is still far from now, and there are plenty of ways to be part of the promising change it will bring not only to the Philippines but to the SEA nations as well.
So anyways, I will share in this blog some of my answers from the ASEAN forum. Not to be bragging or anything (oh, alright, i’m bragging) but I’ll try to infect you guys with my enthusiasm on ASEAN with my answers. Still, I have no idea why I was chosen. Maybe because I put ASEAN’s goals to heart, and I’m very excited to the changes it will initiate in 2015.
The theme for last year’s ASEAN Forum is: Molding the ASEAN Mind
1. In your opinion, what is the “ASEAN Mind”?
In the Philippines, we have a practice we call “Bayanihan” in Filipino. You would often see the term under a picture of people carrying a nipa hut (a house made up of straws and bamboo that is a common sight in most ASEAN nations) on their shoulders and bring it to a common destination; a common goal. It’s quite synonymous with working together, collaborating with each other and sharing the same goal or vision. It’s the symbol of unity and brotherhood, of being able to help one another despite the differences and diversity. Just like the physiological structure of the mind, it consists of neurons connected together, closely intertwined and interconnected; with one neuron malfunctioning meant the failure of the whole system. It’s what I like to call as a sharing of vision, contributing to that vision, and achieving that vision through strong brotherhood and unity. Despite all the cultural and ethnic differences, we all stand as one through our intertwined past and the great dreams we have for our future.
2. What has inspired you to apply for 2012 ASEAN Student Forum?
My interest in ASEAN rapidly grew when I joined the ASEAN Community Group Page on Facebook and the ASEAN Youth Volunteers Network. I was once an ordinary, silent student yet, during my college days, you can say that I’ve experienced a great “awakening”. I became quite immersed with my nation – its current problems, social issues, politics, trade relations with other countries and its own developmental goals. Afterwards, I became interested on the countries just outside the Philippines. I began thinking, why can’t we foster more intimate partnerships with our own region? One that goes beyond the economics, or the call for a formal association. Our connection with each other traces back to our ancient, cultural origin born out of our geography. Despite the years of colonialism and occupation, we are still essentially the same. Our countries are facing the same problems, the same social issues and educational woes. Perhaps, we also share the same solution too, if we all together make it a mission to uncover it. I want to be in company with the students from these regions, to hear their opinion and come up with a common goal not only for my country but to the region as a whole. Just as Dr. Jose Rizal once said, the youth are the hope for the future. This I want to share with my fellow ASEAN students as well.
3. How would you implement knowledge you gain from this forum?
I am a person who believes in revolution for innovation. Here in the Philippines, we revolutionized our way of information dissemination and social consciousness method through the use of social media. Being a journalism student, I often utilized the new media to discover the truth, analyze the facts and share my thoughts or opinion for the people to see and discuss. I am a firm advocate of developmental journalism, of seeking truth through education and comprehensive, coordinated implementation. The internet has so much social and educational impact to the whole world. If we can properly utilize its unimaginable potential, we can build a community of nations whose plans for development are interchangeable and cohesive with each other. As a future practitioner of this emerging new media, I can connect with my ASEAN brothers and sisters of building the vision. Through simple, little things, I believe we can move mountains, overcome the wide expanse of sea separating us nor ideologies barring us. Unity can be achieved through communication, communication can be achieved through electronic connections, connections that pass through from one country to another, one neuron to another, to form the ASEAN Mind.
4. After the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), what would be the impact to all ASEAN citizens?
I would say it has a tremendous impact to all ASEAN Citizens. We are a community of promising growth and influence. I think the global community is carefully watching our next move because of the overflowing potential we possess. Through the Economic Community, ASEAN citizens will realize that they are not alone on this crucial moment of their country’s history; that they are not alone on facing such an ambitious endeavor. The Philippines’ economy is highly influenced by domestic labor and human resources, yet we are still earning investors to provide jobs locally. We are not as export-dependent as Thailand and Singapore who are giants in manufacturing. Through EAC, the Philippines can easily send labor to neighboring countries that are in need of human resources, and be benefitted through the goods and jobs produced. It is mutually-exclusive; ASEAN nations will benefit from the regional market. AEC is very important right now when the West is in decline, and the Eurozone crisis. Recessions are experienced because of these economic fluctuations with other countries outside Asia. With AEC, we can build a sustainable market of nations depending on free trade with each other. AEC will also further grow as a thinking tank to solve major undertakings like finding alternative sources of energy and increasingly breaking away from oil-dependency. AEC is such a big move, but just a small part of what I believe a bigger plan in ASEAN Mind. We will be able to help one country after another and more importantly, form connections to build a sustainable community of nations and a home for ASEAN citizens.
Anyway, you can learn more about ASEAN through: https://www.facebook.com/ASEANCommunity?fref=ts
Or if you are interested to join upcoming ASEAN-related forums and events, visit: http://www.asean.org/
Be prepared for 2015. Mabuhay Pilipinas, Mabuhay ASEAN! 🙂
Posted on March 21, 2013, in My country, story and tagged 2015, ASEAN, ASEAN Community, ASEAN Economic community, ASEAN Nations, Philippines, Southeast Asian Nations, Student Forums. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.