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Thailand pushes for bigger ASEAN role in Rohingya crisis

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Thailand pushes for bigger ASEAN role in Rohingya crisis | The Thaiger

by Supalak Ganjanakhundee, Singapore

South East Asia’s leaders have been meeting in Singapore this week in the lead up to the next ASEAN Summit. The Rohingya crisis has been the main talking point.

Thailand says it wants to take on a greater ASEAN role in resolving the Rakhine crisis, as the group grapples with the plight of 700,000 Rohingya Muslims facing repatriation, amid grave concerns about their future.

The Rohingya issue has been discussed in almost every forum of leaders of ASEAN and their partners from the Asia Pacific during the summit this week in Singapore.

Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha told his ASEAN colleagues that Thailand, which will chair the regional grouping in 2019, viewed ASEAN as capable of playing an important role in addressing the situation in Rakhine state in a constructive, tangible and sustainable manner.

The group should enhance the Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) in providing humanitarian assistance to affected people, support the commencement of credible repatriation on a meaningful scale and the improvement of the quality of life for all communities in Rakhine state, a source quoted Prayut as telling the meeting.

Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad said that he was upset with the situation in Rakhine and urged the group to make collective efforts to help Myanmar end the humanitarian crisis. The Malaysian senior leader slammed Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi as trying to defend the indefensible.

“They are actually oppressing these people to the point of killing them, mass killings,” he said on the sidelines of the official ASEAN meetings.

More than 700,000 people have taken refuge in Bangladesh since violence broke out in August last year when a militant group attacked security outposts prompting a harsh reaction from military’s clearance operation.

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi said during a meeting with her ASEAN colleagues that her government understood the international concerns over the situation in Rakhine state and she had tried to fix the problem through peaceful ways for reconciliation and unity within her country, according to a source at the meeting.

While many ASEAN leaders such as Mahathir used strong words in discussing the Rohingya crisis, most of them expressed their support to and provided a comfort level to the Nay Pyi Taw government to resolve the problem, the source said.

ASEAN has considered dispatching representatives to Myanmar to oversee the repatriation and resettlement of the refugees after Myanmar and Bangladesh reached an agreement at the end of October to send thousands of them back beginning today. But the team to be dispatched has not yet been settled, a source said.

In a meeting with Suu Kyi on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, US Vice President Mike Pence said the violence committed by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) was inexcusable.

Thailand pushes for bigger ASEAN role in Rohingya crisis | News by The Thaiger

STORY: The Nation



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Southeast Asia

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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