Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Viet Nam Completes ASEAN Chairmanship with an Evening of Celebrations

ASEAN Secretariat, 15 December 2010



Lights came on, unveiling dancers decked out in long, flowing áo dài, followed by the playing of the melodious one-string Đàn bầu. These and numerous other Vietnamese performing arts charmed over 400 guests at Usmar Ismail Hall in Jakarta tonight.


The two-hour “Charming Viet Nam” is the sixth instalment in the “Best of ASEAN Performing Arts” series. Showcasing the richness and diversity of performing arts of the ten ASEAN Member States, the series also reflect the diversity of ASEAN and reflect ASEAN’s shared history that contributes towards building an ASEAN identity and ASEAN awareness. It also recognises the important role that Jakarta has played over the last 34 years as the host city of the ASEAN Secretariat.


The Best of ASEAN Performing Arts, which is open to the public, was the brainchild of the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, who proposed it at the 3rd Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Culture and Arts in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar in January 2008.


“The Member States of ASEAN have immense richness in culture and arts and they have been a source of pride for all of us,” said Dr Surin from Usmar Ismail Hall. “But the Best of ASEAN Performing Arts is not only for us working in the ASEAN circle to enjoy and learn about, but for everyone.”


The evening drew students, the media, international organisation representatives, government officials, Jakarta based-diplomatic corps and art enthusiasts alike.


Ambassador Vu Dang Dung, Viet Nam’s Permanent Representative to ASEAN; Dr Nguyen Van Tinh, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam; and Ms Poppy Savitri, Director for Tradition, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Indonesia also made their remarks at the beginning of the performances.


“I am happy that Viet Nam is presenting its best tonight,” added Dr Surin, “particularly because the performances coincide with Viet Nam’s completion as the Chair of ASEAN in 2010.” He continued, “This year, Viet Nam has indeed charmed us, and in areas beyond culture.”


The previous Best of ASEAN Performing Arts that have been staged featured Indonesia with “The Mosaic Archipelago” in May 2008; Thailand with “Tapestry of Thai Beauty and Grace” in August 2008; Singapore with “Singapore Showcase: Cultural Crossings” on April 2009; Myanmar with “The Royal Beauty of Golden Myanmar” in December 2009; and Malaysia with “1Malaysia: Harmony in Cultural Diversity” in March 2010. Jakarta, which has always been the host city of the series, can expect the other ASEAN Member States – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR and the Philippines – to showcase their best in the months to come.


“Charming Viet Nam” is jointly organised by the ASEAN Secretariat and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam, and is supported by the Permanent Mission of Viet Nam to ASEAN.


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