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Photo: AP After campaigning tirelessly throughout the majority of her adult life in hopes of bringing democracy to her country and after spending nearly fifteen of those years under house arrest for espousing her views, Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s icon of hope and political freedom, has unofficially won a seat in the country’s parliament. An official declaration by the state-run election commission is not expected for days, or perhaps weeks. However, early tallies suggest Suu Kyi has secured at least 65% of the vote in her constituency, Kawhmu, located in her extremely impoverished home village of Wa Thin Kha. “It is not so much our triumph as a triumph of the people who have decided that they have to be involved in the political process in this country,” she announced to cheering supporters. “We hope this will be the beginning of a new era.” Her victory is a stunning, albeit unsurprising development for the long-isolated country whose economy has been crippled by Western sanctions which were implemented in response to the ruling junta’s egregious human rights record. International observers, including two delegates from the United States, were present in the country to monitor the electoral process to ensure its transparency. At this point, they are still evaluating the process and have not made a statement yet. In 2010, the military junta gave way to a nominally civilian controlled government. It was a dubious transition, as most of the ruling generals simply retired from military life to take up posts as politicians. Those elections were boycotted by Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) and resulted in a dominant majority for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the military-turned-civilian caucus. If the by-elections are judged to be free and fair by independent observers, some sanctions may begin to be lifted, a cause for celebration amongst business investors who have eyed the potential economic benefits which Myanmar may possess with increasing vigor and anticipation. “Burma is considered to be the last frontier in Asia,” according to Son Visel, owner of various textile manufacturing plants from China and Cambodia, to Thailand and Indonesia. “Think about it: Burma is a fertile plain virtually untouched by any type of Western or Eastern styled development. There are extraordinary profits to be had.” Speaking to a variety of investors and diplomats in attendance at the 20th Annual ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia this week, one gets a sense that the “Race for Burma” is almost a modern day Age of Exploration for the globalized world. Myanmar is a country which has barred any sort of outside influence whatsoever, including international aid agencies after the devastating Cyclone Nagris which killed more than 130,000 people hit the country in 2008. One certain thing is that Aung San Suu Kyi’s victory will be hailed by all parties: the NLD, the West, and Myanmar President Thein Sein, who has emerged as the Burmese F. W. de Klerk to Suu Kyi’s Nelson Mandela. He, in effect, needed Suu Kyi to win to satisfy skeptics. However, the NLD’s success in these by-elections is not likely to result in much immediate political action. The NLD are the main opposition and represent only a fraction of the 644 seats in the Burmese parliament, even if they swept the 45 seats up for grabs in the by-elections. The next national elections, preliminarily scheduled for 2015, could see Suu Kyi run for President. At that point, Thein Sein’s tune may have changed a bit. Once her win is officially declared, the question will turn to how she will lead her party and turn her country’s hope into reality. Once he became President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela did not achieve the success many came to expect of him. Indeed, Suu Kyi’s victory “could create exaggerated expectations about the pace and scope of change,” says Carl Thayer, Emeritus Professor with the University of New South Wales in Australia in a recent piece in The Diplomat. Additionally, there will be a debate about whether the NLD’s greatest chance for success and national reconciliation will be to cooperate with the ruling USDP, thus legitimizing their regime even more. Or, in contrast, become the voice of opposition, much like how the Republicans in the House of Representatives in the United States have behaved during the second half of President Barack Obama’s first term. It all makes for great political theatre, but Suu Kyi’s constituents in Kawhmu still do not have running water, electricity, or proper sanitation. It is always important to remain cognizant of the human element in such political dogfights. Will Suu Kyi’s victory change the lot for these impoverished people? That remains to be seen.

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Photo: AP After campaigning tirelessly throughout the majority of her adult life in hopes of bringing democracy to her country and after spending nearly fifteen of those years under house arrest for espousing her views, Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s icon of hope and political freedom, has unofficially won a seat in the country’s parliament. An official declaration by the state-run election commission is not expected for days, or perhaps weeks. However, early tallies suggest Suu Kyi has secured at least 65% of the vote in her constituency, Kawhmu, located in her extremely impoverished home village of Wa Thin Kha. “It is not so much our triumph as a triumph of the people who have decided that they have to be involved in the political process in this country,” she announced to cheering supporters. “We hope this will be the beginning of a new era.” Her victory is a stunning, albeit unsurprising development for the long-isolated country whose economy has been crippled by Western sanctions which were implemented in response to the ruling junta’s egregious human rights record. International observers, including two delegates from the United States, were present in the country to monitor the electoral process to ensure its transparency. At this point, they are still evaluating the process and have not made a statement yet. In 2010, the military junta gave way to a nominally civilian controlled government. It was a dubious transition, as most of the ruling generals simply retired from military life to take up posts as politicians. Those elections were boycotted by Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) and resulted in a dominant majority for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the military-turned-civilian caucus. If the by-elections are judged to be free and fair by independent observers, some sanctions may begin to be lifted, a cause for celebration amongst business investors who have eyed the potential economic benefits which Myanmar may possess with increasing vigor and anticipation. “Burma is considered to be the last frontier in Asia,” according to Son Visel, owner of various textile manufacturing plants from China and Cambodia, to Thailand and Indonesia. “Think about it: Burma is a fertile plain virtually untouched by any type of Western or Eastern styled development. There are extraordinary profits to be had.” Speaking to a variety of investors and diplomats in attendance at the 20th Annual ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia this week, one gets a sense that the “Race for Burma” is almost a modern day Age of Exploration for the globalized world. Myanmar is a country which has barred any sort of outside influence whatsoever, including international aid agencies after the devastating Cyclone Nagris which killed more than 130,000 people hit the country in 2008. One certain thing is that Aung San Suu Kyi’s victory will be hailed by all parties: the NLD, the West, and Myanmar President Thein Sein, who has emerged as the Burmese F. W. de Klerk to Suu Kyi’s Nelson Mandela. He, in effect, needed Suu Kyi to win to satisfy skeptics. However, the NLD’s success in these by-elections is not likely to result in much immediate political action. The NLD are the main opposition and represent only a fraction of the 644 seats in the Burmese parliament, even if they swept the 45 seats up for grabs in the by-elections. The next national elections, preliminarily scheduled for 2015, could see Suu Kyi run for President. At that point, Thein Sein’s tune may have changed a bit. Once her win is officially declared, the question will turn to how she will lead her party and turn her country’s hope into reality. Once he became President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela did not achieve the success many came to expect of him. Indeed, Suu Kyi’s victory “could create exaggerated expectations about the pace and scope of change,” says Carl Thayer, Emeritus Professor with the University of New South Wales in Australia in a recent piece in The Diplomat. Additionally, there will be a debate about whether the NLD’s greatest chance for success and national reconciliation will be to cooperate with the ruling USDP, thus legitimizing their regime even more. Or, in contrast, become the voice of opposition, much like how the Republicans in the House of Representatives in the United States have behaved during the second half of President Barack Obama’s first term. It all makes for great political theatre, but Suu Kyi’s constituents in Kawhmu still do not have running water, electricity, or proper sanitation. It is always important to remain cognizant of the human element in such political dogfights. Will Suu Kyi’s victory change the lot for these impoverished people? That remains to be seen.

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Take a Seat, Madame

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Tourism

The Bachelor Japan Season 4 showcases Thailand

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Bangkok, 2 December, 2021 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to report that Thailand features as the main location in the Japanese reality TV show ‘The Bachelor Japan Season 4’, of which the first episode aired on 25 November, 2021.

In cooperation with the TAT Tokyo Office, a film crew from Amazon Prime Japan and YD Creation Japan comprising 65 actors, production staff, technicians and others travelled to Thailand to shoot for the show in the spectacular Southern provinces of Phuket, Phang-Nga, and Krabi between April and June 2021.

A total of six out of the 10 60-minute episodes of ‘The Bachelor Japan Season 4’ were filmed in Thailand.

 Aside from the valuable promotional exposure the destination will receive in Japan, a key source market for visitors from the Asian region, the foreign production also generated much-needed income and employment opportunities in the local tourism and film-related sectors of the three chosen locations.

Phuket, Phang-Nga’ and Krabi were among the first destinations in Thailand to reopen to tourism under the Sandbox programme, and the TAT Tokyo Office has capitalised on the interest of foreign filmmaking to promote the world-class tourist appeal and public health safety standards of these destinations.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, said “Popular TV shows like ‘The Bachelor’ are an effective way to deliver promotional messages directly to international markets, in this case Japan, which is among the 63 countries and territories from which fully vaccinated visitors can enter Thailand through the Exemption from Quarantine (TEST & GO) programme. With Thailand featuring so significantly in ‘The Bachelor Japan Season 4’, this helps us to promote travel to Thailand now that entry rules are being relaxed and tourists are once again welcomed.”

Fully vaccinated visitors from every country around the world can also visit Thailand via the Living in the “Blue Zone” Sandbox destinations programme. Meanwhile, partially or unvaccinated visitors are also much welcomed via the Happy Quarantine programme. However, to prevent and control the spread of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, Thailand currently imposes travel restrictions on arrivals from Africa.

Photo Credit: Instagram: @BachelorJapan外部リンク, @bachelorjap外部リンク

The post The Bachelor Japan Season 4 showcases Thailand appeared first on TAT Newsroom.

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Asean

ASEAN commemorates Youth in Climate Action and Disaster Resilience Day 2021

An intergenerational dialogue titled ‘Teaming up with You(th) for a Disaster-Resilient and Climate-Friendly ASEAN’, was moderated by the ASEAN Youth Forum’s Programme Manager, Rastra Yasland.

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JAKARTA, 30 November 2021 – The ASEAN Secretariat hosted an interactive webinar to commemorate ASEAN Youth in Climate Action and Disaster Resilience Day on 25 November.

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