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PM Prayut pushes for greater ASEAN connectivity

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PM Prayut pushes for greater ASEAN connectivity | The Thaiger

Sounding very Prime Ministerial, Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha today pledged to push for greater connectivity to strengthen business and investments in ASEAN when Thailand assumes the chairmanship of the regional trade block next year.

Speaking at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Singapore, Gen Prayut said as chairman of ASEAN, Thailand will work to make the regional grouping an “outstanding destination for trade and investment”.

Thai PBS reports that Thailand will take over the ASEAN chairmanship from Singapore in at the start of next year.

“It is a great honour for Thailand to assume the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2019 after Singapore,” he said.

“I give you my word that Thailand will continue to push for connectivity among ASEAN members in both public and private sectors in order to strengthen businesses and investments in ASEAN, making ASEAN an outstanding destination for trade and investment for the global business community,” he added.

The Thai PM said the private sector is the key driver for economic growth, while the government focuses on creating a conducive environment and facilitating the business sector.

PM Prayut pushes for greater ASEAN connectivity | News by The Thaiger

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Fake Garuda pilot arrested at Jakarta Airport

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Fake Garuda pilot arrested at Jakarta Airport | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Jakarta Post

Police at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta have arrested a man posing as a pilot for the Indonesian national flag carrier Garuda at the airport’s Terminal 3. The arrest happened last Friday.

The man has been identified as Alvin Adithya Darmawan. He was wearing a Garuda pilot uniform when he checked in at the Garuda counter at 11.40am on Friday. Besides dressing in full uniform, police say that Alvin was also carrying a Garuda air crew ID.

Alvin was seen wandering around the terminal before heading to a security check point when a real Garuda pilot saw him and became suspicious of Alvin’s behavior.

“Based on his suspicions, the captain then talked to the man, but he replied with unclear answers,” according to kompas.com.

The real captain then reported Alvin to flight security personnel near the check point.

Head of the criminal investigation unit at the airport said Alvin was booked as a passenger on a Garuda flight to Semarang, Central Java. He reportedly told police that he was obsessed with the idea of becoming a pilot.

“When he graduated high school he applied to get into a pilot school but he failed,” James said as quoted by tribunnews.com.

Alvin was detained for questioning on Friday night as police continued their investigation.

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Entertainment

BTS launch their new album on April 12, appear on Saturday Night Live the next day. Why this matters.

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BTS launch their new album on April 12, appear on Saturday Night Live the next day. Why this matters. | The Thaiger

The music business is about to have another one of those seismic shifts in the next month as the power of the music business continues to dribble away from western record company influences to a more democratic, social media-driven, business model.

In the past two years, mainly, a small South Korean production house has re-tooled the massive world music business (and it is, first and foremost a ‘business’) with one product.

Bangtan Sonyeondan, better know around the world simply as BTS.

The seven members of the K-Pop phenomenon (and the word phenomenon is aptly applied in this case) actually debuted in 2013 after forming originally in 2011, but they’re hardly an overnight success with real struggles threatening their success along the way. The BTS that writes, produces and performs in 2019 is a slick, highly professional performance and business unit that has, mostly by design, completely rejigged the fatally-wounded ‘old’ music business model. From a try-hard hip hop band to world-class music artists is a fascinating journey in the annals of the modern music business.

Also consider they’ve done this singing, mostly, in Korean.

Whilst the record companies continue to roll out the ‘oldies’ with another Greatest Hits compilation, or interpret their 70s and 80s heroes on the big screen (another guarantee to boost flagging music sales and downloads), there is some light at the end of the music tunnel which gives us hope of some great tunes ahead.

From first impressions the septet of BTS are just another fresh-faced boyband with catchy hooks, hair tosses and screaming fans – we’ve seen it all before, right? Except that they’re South Korean in a white-washed music world.

But behind the facade is some raw talent, a highly skilled back-room and the use of social media as a jack-hammer, not just a tool. After charting two of their albums at #1 in the Billboard Hot 200 last year, a first for a Korean band, appearances on the American Music Awards, the Grammies, Ellen, all the popular Tonight Shows, the front cover of TIME and a series of sell-out concerts around the US, the seven young men are about to take the next big step, and it will be big.

Days after BTS announcing their forthcoming Map of the Soul: Persona album coming April 12, they also announced they are appearing on SNL, Saturday Night Live, (NOT Donald Trump’s favorite TV show) the day after.

Saturday Night Live announced that BTS will make their musical debut with Emma Stone, a self-declared K-pop fan, on the April 13 episode.

SNL is a highly coveted stage for any performer and has the ability to bring an artist to new heights of their career. A pre-fame Adele performing in a 2008 episode went on to the highest-rated episode in 14 years and sent her 19 album to new highs on the charts.

BTS, although still in their early to mid-20s, are already seasoned live and television performers. There would be more BTS live YouTube clips on the net than any other performer, period. They know the performance craft and how to play an audience. The sales of their music speaks for itself, their YouTube click numbers are astonishing. Type ‘BTS’ into Google and you get 490,000,000 results!

BTS launch their new album on April 12, appear on Saturday Night Live the next day. Why this matters. | News by The Thaiger

And that’s part of the magic formula that separates them from just about every previous band. Whilst using social media is nothing new, BTS has amassed an enormous world-wide audience of music downloaders, ticket and merchandise buyers and sheer screaming hordes beyond anything previously attainable. And there’s a lot more to come as the fan base spreads out of Asia into the rest of the world.

Of course it’s easy to say the band came along at the right time, given the rise and rise in social media’s impact on our lives. But they’ve been first band to really harness the power in ways most other bands never even thought about.

Their fanbase is called ‘Army’, an appropriate name given the onslaught on music fandom around the globe. That the enormous fanbase started in Asia and is spreading westward is something we’ve not seen before.

BTS also deliver a different message aimed squarely at their peers and not with the same gloss and sheen of most other K-Pop. It’s sometimes raw, always relevant, reflecting their own battles and scars as young people growing up in a complex world. They cry, they share their fears, they argue on their videos, they’re humble – it’s very different.

The BTS-on-SNL program will be, easily, the biggest audience the show will EVER have, not by a little, by a LOT. That’s quite an easy prediction given BTS’s chart history, their YouTube viewer numbers, their growing appeal and the sell-out concerts, around the world.

For a crash course in BTS, check out this video (below). There are also thousands, yes thousands, of other videos apart from their award-winning music videos as well. Such is the power of Army, the power of social media, the power of good music well performed, and the hope that cream always, eventually, rises to the top.

The Saturday Night Live episode airs in the US on April 13.

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Southeast Asia

Just one of the tourists – South Korean President visits Angkor Wat

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Just one of the tourists – South Korean President visits Angkor Wat | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Yonhap News

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in put on his tourist clothes yesterday and roaming around with thousands of other tourists at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. The ruins attract millions of visitors each year, making the ruins in Siem Reap province Cambodia’s most popular tourist destination.

The world heritage site contains the remains of different capitals of the Khmer Empire, dating from the 9th to the 15th centuries.

Moon walked around the site for two hours at the site, posing for photos with officials and pausing to enjoy a coconut juice.

He is the first South Korean president to make a state visit to Cambodia in 10 years.

South Korea is one of Cambodia’s biggest investors and source of tourists and the President’s presence also delighted South Korean travellers, who clapped and shook his hand.

The appearance caps a three-day trip during which Moon met with Cambodian leader Hun Sen in the capital Phnom Penh on Friday.

SOURCE: AFP | Yonhap

Just one of the tourists - South Korean President visits Angkor Wat | News by The Thaiger

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