The many reading materials that I have read regarding ASEAN Integration made me realize that even I as a Filipino is not much aware of the whole concept of ASEAN. Though, it’s quite sad that even if there is an association like ASEAN which aims to promote prosperity and foster relationship that will help in boosting the economy of the ten neighboring countries namely: Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.
However, the more I get to know about this program, the more I realized that we have a long way to go before we perceived that ASEAN with its ten countries have an identity because from the looks of it, we are quite divided with the ideology and knowledge about these Asian countries.
For one, according to Prof. Benjamina Flor’s paper, “The Asian Media Landscape”, one thing that somehow makes this association crucial is the difference in beliefs and values, characteristics, and even stereotypes.
But as individuals, I believe that we know how to conform and follow rules and thanks to technology, we are in tuned to the latest news about our neighboring countries which makes it easier to foster good relationship.
Mass media especially the digital media through social media like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter keeps the connection open. Especially when it comes to travel, we become one with the country we are currently in. We immersed ourselves in their food, their culture. When I went to Hongkong last 2014, I made it a point to research the following do’s and don’ts in the country. I know for a fact that some of Hongkong nationals or perhaps Chinese in Mainland China visiting the place can be snob and “rude” because of certain manners, like not falling in line, or spitting just anywhere, but as a tourist, I may feel disgusted and perhaps irked with them, however, as someone who is visiting the country for the first time, you have to understand that it could be one of their personality as a country. It what’s makes them up and perhaps there is more to see than meets the eye, and indeed, Hongkong is one of the most favored destination.
And that also goes to other South-East Asian countries, they have their own rules that we need to abide and them also when they are visiting the Philippines.
I guess what would make the whole ASEAN Integration work is have these different countries immersed in different tourism projects that will promote the awesomeness of each neighboring country. Also, it would help if curriculum in our school would include ASEAN lessons so that youth will have an idea on how other people from different Asian country lives, their culture, their jobs, etc.
Perhaps, I would not mention about documentaries featuring these countries because they are a lot right now.
It is interesting that even of there are differences in our characteristics, beliefs, us Asians, know how to mingle and create wonderful relationships. And due to more work opportunities available to us, it can help our economy and other SEA countries to have better economy.