In conjunction with the 19th Sommet de l'ASEAN, Indonesia’s President, Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono, officially opened the ASEAN Fair 2011 in Bali on Monday, October 24 to last for one entire month until November 23. Marking the opening of the fair, President Yudhoyono beat the “kentongan” – a long, hollowed out traditional bamboo instrument – at the Centre de congrès Bali Nusa Dua, Nusa Dua, Bali.
The main focus of the ASEAN Fair 2011 will be centered at the Peninsula Island hotel from November 1-23, and at the Hotel Westin on November 16-19 in the Nusa Dua resort complex, Bali, while some parts of the event will also be held in Jakarta.
Organized for the first time, ASEAN Fair 2011 will feature a wide variety of creative industries in the ASEAN countries. Aside from hosting the event, Indonesia will be joined by Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos PDR, and Cambodia in showcasing a gamut of creative products. These include fashions, cuisine, music, films, artwork, handicrafts, and many more. Aside from exhibiting creative products from the ten member countries, the fair will also be highlighted by cultural performances, an Indonesian Music Expo, a book fair, a street arts exhibition, film festival, and a culinary festival from all ten member countries of ASEAN.
President Yudhoyono views the ASEAN Fair as a means to build ASEAN community-based organizations. “It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I invite all ASEAN communities to take part in this celebration,” said President Yudhoyono, as reported in antaranews.com.
Newly-appointed Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu, as this year’s Chair of ASEAN, stated that Indonesia initiated the first ASEAN Fair with the purpose to strengthen the bonds and cooperations among ASEAN countries. “The ASEAN Fair will present the true face of ASEAN, which illustrates the diversity and richness of cultural values, and also the interconnection of our histories, cultural traditions, and societies, which, together, make us a true community,” added Mari Elka Pangestu.
The launching of the ASEAN Fair 2011 was held at the Main Entrance of the Bali Tourism Development Center (BTDC), Nusa Dua, and was also attended by the Minister of Economy, Hatta Rajasa; Governor of Bali, I Made Mangku Pastika; the Mayor of Badung District, Anak Agung Gde Agung; ambassadors of ASEAN countries; and ASEAN partners.
After the beating the kentongan, marking the official opening of the ASEAN Fair,the ceremony was followed by Balinese gamelan music called Blagenjuran, the Ogoh-ogoh parade carrying the theme of ASEAN Fair: “Hello ASEAN,” and the parade of 10 gaily-decorated floats representing the ten member countries of ASEAN. “Hello ASEAN” was chosen as the theme for the ASEAN Fair to bid a warm welcome to all ASEAN brothers, sisters, and friends. After a parade of 30 percussionists and 30 dancers, the launch came to a close with a fascinating acrobatic air show presented by the Ministry for Defense.
Meanwhile, the raising of 10 gigantic flags of all ASEAN member countries is scheduled to take place in Jakarta on October 30, 2011, which will then be raised at a number of strategic points all across the island of Bali, where the ASEAN Summit and East Asia Summit will be held this November.