During Asia Business Conference, I had the chance to sit right next to Dr. Surin, the Secretary-General of ASEAN and talked with him at a pre-conference meet up. Dr. Surin is one of the more inspiring figures I meet during the conference. His background as a Muslim from the Buddhist nation Thailand provide some sort of surprise for me. Moreover so when conflicts between Muslim in the South of Thailand and the militants are frequently reported not to long ago. As the SG of ASEAN, it was not surprising that he stressed on cooperation among the ASEAN nations, beginning from its students. To help among each other and to improve the relationships.
I’m a bit skeptical about his idealistic views but a reality check will show that communications with students of other ASEAN nations are a different story altogether. The only common theme I could point out is the youths’ fascination with foreign influence like branded goods. For his argument sake, Dr. Surin used the example of war of the worlds to exemplify what it takes for the ASEAN members to unify together. For the international students, the mere fact that they are outside their native countries and in a foreign situation is enough to substitute for the opposing enemy. And he admitted that the Myanmar issue is a pain in the butt.
I was pretty impressed by his opening speech during the conference. A trained economist he was not. However, it was the way he handled the questions hurled to him that showed his experience as a politician. I wished I picked a thing or two about being a diplomat. He was pretty suave in answering the questions and at the same time, giving out a friendly aura. Perhaps, I should put diplomat as a career prospect. It might help improved my non existing social skills.