Southeast Asia now has an official anthem and its own cartoon characters.
The 60-second anthem titled "The ASEAN Way" will make its debut at the opening ceremony of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian nations summit on Saturday, the summit's Web site said. A choir, accompanied by the Royal Thai Navy Symphony Orchestra, will sing the song for Southeast Asian leaders gathered for the first summit since the group signed a landmark charter in December. Composed by Thai musicians, the tune beat 99 other entries from the region to become ASEAN's first official song in its 42-year history. "Together for ASEAN, we dare to dream; We care to share, for it's the ASEAN way," the lyrics state.
The animated book, "ASEAN Discovery" is, for now, just available in Thailand, which holds the bloc's rotating membership. Sponsored by the Thai Foreign Ministry, the book's main character is an alien named Blue who has 10 friends from each of the ASEAN countries, The Bangkok Post reported.
Southeast Asian embassies in Thailand were asked to select names for characters representing their countries. Joining Thailand's character named Siam are, Maria from Brunei, Trumsieng from Cambodia, Budy from Indonesia, Khamsuay from Laos, Peepid from Malaysia, Momo from Burma, Forsia from the Philippines, Peter from Singapore and Kiew from Vietnam.
The hefty 80-page book seeks to make ASEAN's history and goals digestible for children.