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The Korean Wave – a tsunami of cultural opportunity for ASEAN

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The Korean Wave – a tsunami of cultural opportunity for ASEAN | The Thaiger
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BTS, Blackpink, ASEAN, K-Pop

by The Star Online – Asia News Network

TV drama, pop music, culture, food. The ‘Korean Wave’ is on its way.

The Korean Wave was the hot topic at the ASEAN-Korea Media Forum held in Seoul recently, with experts saying that it has, in fact, enhanced cultural exchanges between the republic and the entire region.

Korean bands Blackpink and BTS are currently the two most popular bands in Thailand.

Under the theme “Korean Wave in ASEAN: Successful Past and Sustainable Future”, speakers from media organisations, government and academia spoke about ways the phenomenon could be further spread through partnerships in the region.

The Korean Wave, or Hallyu, refers to the global popularity of South Korea’s cultural economy exporting pop culture, enter-tainment, music, TV dramas and movies.

The Korean Wave - a tsunami of cultural opportunity for ASEAN | News by The Thaiger

Current K-Pop female pop-heavyweights, ‘BlackPink’

A long-time journalist and Korean drama fan, June H.L. Wong, says that regional media didn’t jump on board the first wave of dramas and earlier K-pop in the early 2000s.

“It wasn’t until the mid-2000s that the media started covering K-entertainment as awareness, access and opportunity improved,” said Wong, in her paper.

Wong says that by 2011, ASEAN media had regular coverage on K-pop culture and today, its stories are an accepted part of ASEAN news content. Noting that for the millennials, the new mainstream media was social, Wong added that K-idols and their fan clubs have become the supreme masters of these tools to keep in touch and up to date.

“More Korean pop songs now include English lyrics and more pop bands have English-speaking members, like BTS’ Kim Nam-joon (RM),” she added.

The Korean Wave - a tsunami of cultural opportunity for ASEAN | News by The Thaiger

Matching ‘The Beatles’ for the most number of #1 Albums on the US charts in one year – ‘BTS’

The Korean Wave is expected to play an important role in stimulating greater partnership, coupled with President Moon Jae-in’s New Southern Policy to prosper together with ASEAN, said Kwon Chung-won, CEO and publisher of The Korea Herald.

Jang Won-ho, a professor at the University of Seoul said the empathy being cultivated among members of the BTS fan club, while idolising Hallyu content, has lead to the creation of a cultural community beyond national borders.

“It should be the future of Hallyu,” said Jang.

He also noted the influence of BTS, saying that since the band saw themselves as a role model, the band has been working with bodies like UNICEF to raise funds for the “Love Myself” campaign.

Watch BTS’ ‘RM’ speak at the UN about their ‘Love Yourself’ campaign…

SOURCE: the star.com.my

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Economy

Vietnam’s booming manufacturing sector reduced to a trickle as world pandemic kills demand

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Vietnam’s booming manufacturing sector reduced to a trickle as world pandemic kills demand | The Thaiger

Vietnamese finance officials are downgrading expectations for a recovery of the south east Asian nation’s economy in 2021. The normally fast-growing gross domestic product in 2020 has stalled due to a huge drop in local and global demand, and the absence of international tourism. The booming economy, growing at an average of 6% per year since 2012, will struggle to reach a growth rate of 2% this year.

Fuelled by manufactured exports, the Vietnam economy has dropped back to a trickle. The Asian Development Bank estimates that this year’s GDP growth could be as low as 1.8%. The Vietnamese factories, that usually crank out shoes, garments, furniture and cheap electronics, are seeing dropping demand as the world’s consumer confidence drops dramatically.

Stay-at-home rules in Europe and America are keeping are keeping people away from retail stores. And despite the acceleration of online retail, many of the consumers are emerging from the Covid Spring and Summer with vastly reduced spending power.

The headaches of 2020 are also challenging Vietnam to maintain its reputation as south east Asia’s manufacturing hotspot. Rising costs and xenophobic foreign policy have put China ‘on the nose’ with some governments, complicating factory work in China, whilst other south east Asian countries lack infrastructure and are incurring higher wage costs.

One Vietnamese factory operated by Taiwan-based Pou Chen Group, which produces footwear for top international brands, has laid off 150 workers earlier this year. There are hundreds more examples of the impact of falling demand in the bustling Vietnamese manufacturing economy.

Vietnam’s border closure is also preventing investors from making trips, setting up meetings and pushing projects forward. Those projects in turn create jobs, fostering Vietnam’s growing middle class. Tourism has also been badly affected by the restrictions on travel. “International tourism is dead,” says Jack Nguyen, a partner at Mazars in Ho Chi Minh City.

“Inbound tourism usually makes up 6% of the economy.”

“Things will only pick up only when the borders are open and there’s no quarantine requirements. Who knows when that’s going to be.”

A mid-year COVID-19 outbreak in the coastal resort city Danang followed by the start of the school year has reduced domestic travel, analysts say. Some of the country’s hotels are up for sale as a result.

“Recovery could take 4 years.”

The Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment is now warning that global post-pandemic recovery could take as long as 4 years, perhaps more.

Not that foreign investors in the country are pulling out. Indeed, many are tainge a long-term view that Vietnam’s underlying strengths will outlive Covid-19. Vietnam reports just 1,069 coronavirus cases overall.

SOURCE: VOA News

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Thailand

Thai Health Minister accepts chairman role with WHO Regional Committee

Maya Taylor

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Thai Health Minister accepts chairman role with WHO Regional Committee | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Thailand’s Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, has been appointed chair of the World Health Organisation’s Regional Committee for Southeast Asia. The colourful and controversial minister made the announcement at a press conference yesterday afternoon. He says 14 countries put his name forward for the role, which has a fixed term of 1 year, partly due to Thailand’s success in controlling the Covid-19 virus.

The committee is due to hold its first meeting today, where members are expected to discuss the Covid-19 situation in Southeast Asia and share tips and best practice ideas. Anutin says Southeast Asian nations are focused on the resumption of travel between their countries, adding that improving the Covid-19 situation across the region is critical in order to facilitate this.

Anutin is generally well-liked by the Thai public, although the same cannot be said for the country’s foreign population, many of whom were riled by what they saw as xenophobic comments made by him in the early weeks of the Covid outbreak, describing some foreigners as “dirty farang” for not accepting free masks as they were being handed out at a PR event at Siam BTS station in Bangkok in May this year.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Business

Thailand planning land and rail passageway, bypassing congested Strait of Malacca

Maya Taylor

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Thailand planning land and rail passageway, bypassing congested Strait of Malacca | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Shutterstock / The Jakarta Post

Thailand hopes to shorten shipping time by bypassing the busy Strait of Malacca with a 100 kilometre highway and railway passageway. Discussions are underway to construct 2 deep seaports on both sides of the country’s southern coast, which would be linked via rail and highway.

The latest proposal replaces the Kra Canal plan, which was talked about for decades. That plan would have seen a canal crossing the skinniest point of the country, through the Isthmus of Kra just south of Phuket and Krabi, chopping around 1,200 kilometres off the shipping journey. However, it has now been dropped on environmental grounds.

The new project is expected to reduce shipping time by 2 days by bypassing the Strait of Malacca, which runs along Peninsular Malaysia’s south-west coast, before curving east past Singapore. The passageway is notoriously congested, as well as being susceptible to piracy. According to a report in the South China Morning Post, incidents of piracy increased from 8 in 2018 to 30 last year.

Thailand planning land and rail passageway, bypassing congested Strait of Malacca | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Encyclopedia of Earth

Currently, around a quarter of globally traded goods use the Strait of Malacca, with Thailand’s Transport Minister, Saksiam Chidchob, saying an alternative route is now a necessity.

“The Strait has become quite congested. Using an alternative route through Thailand would cut shipping time by more than 2 days, which is very valuable for businesses.”

The alternative route would see a 100 kilometre highway and rail passageway linking 2 seaports on either side of Thailand’s southern coast. It’s understood the government has set 75 million baht aside for a study into the building of the seaports, along with a further 90 million baht to look into the feasibility of highway and rail connections between the two.

If the project went ahead it would be a major blow to Singapore which has built its fortune on being the south east Asian shipping and trading hub at the turning point at the bottom of the Mallaca Strait.

SOURCE: South China Morning Post

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