Suu Kyi Steals Show at WEF in Bangkok

Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi attends an opening plenary session as part of the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Bangkok on Thursday. (PHOTO: Reuters)

As heads of governments, business leaders and industry champions gather in Bangkok for the World Economic Forum’s East Asia summit, there is no denying who the star of the show is.

Aung Saan Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader from Burma, is the leading light of the forum. Wherever she has gone, she has attracted crowds and there is an instant buzz when she enters a room.

Her presence at the WEF in Bangkok, her first trip outside her homeland in 25 years, is a testament to the region’s growing clout on the world stage and is a demonstration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) ability to forge a common consensus.

“Aung Saan Suu Kyi’s presence in Bangkok is proof of the ongoing democratization process in Asean,” said Mari Elka Pangestu, Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister. “She knows what she wants for her country and she is reaching out to the world.”

The theme for this year’s WEF on East Asia, “Shaping the Region’s Future Through Connectivity,” is timely as the 10-member grouping of Southeast Asian nations gears up for the next stage of growth.

“This region is witnessing a great transformation and is at a crucial point in realizing its huge potential,” said Pascal Lamy, director general of the World Trade Organization. “If Asean were one nation, it would be the 9th largest economy in the world today. The region has changed beyond recognition.”

The challenge for the grouping is to better integrate its economies especially with the 2015 Asean Economic Community now looming large. The region will have to boost greater air and sea connections as well as harmonize its tariff regimes if it is to boost greater intra-regional trade, tourism and capital flows.

Asean has a combined population of 600 million people, a nominal GDP of $1.8 trillion and a growth rate that is expected to exceed 5 percent on average for 2012.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono is leading a sizeable Indonesian delegation which includes Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan, Mari Pangestu and a number of top corporate leaders.

9 Responses to Suu Kyi Steals Show at WEF in Bangkok

  1. DASSK, I am very proud of you as a Myanmar.
    We, Myanmar, could not stand proudly as Myanmar in foreign countries even in Thailand for more than a half of century.
    In abroad, Myanmar passports were checked like terrorists.
    All countries assume Myanmar would seek asylum in their countries once enter. They cannot be blamed as they have experience. Many Myanmar are still in UK, Europe and USA as asylum/refugee.
    Hope our people will be able to enjoy their lives in the home country from now on.

    • Like people in Laiza.

    • Imagine the former dictators Ne Win, Saw Maung, Than Shwe or their selected representatives like Khin Nyunt were among the invited guests, the image of a once-prosperous but now-impoverished Burma would face credibility problems.
      Certainly Ma Suu has made it through her intelligence, qualification and the true spirit to be proud of being a burmese once again. At present, her party is only a small fraction among the military-dominated MP. All states, divisions, cities, villages are in the hands of military personnel and their thugs. Of course Burma is on the road to democracy, the dawn has just begun and you have got to wait and see whether the day light will really shine or there will be storms before it comes.
      Wait patiently until she becomes the next president after the 2015 polls when the majority of her democracy loving party will be able to control parliament and the whole process of legislation. It is then that you should confidently claim victory.

  2. “Aung Saan Suu Kyi’s presence in Bangkok is proof of the ongoing democratization process in Asean”

    It is indeed proof that she has unconditionally surrendered to the military taking along mindless NLD and millions of followers and grown out of holding onto principles.

    “She knows what she wants for her country and she is reaching out to the world.”

    True. Now what is going to happen is for all the ASEAN, India and “West” to come and do whatever they want, roads, rails, ports, all for MONEY which is the only thing small Asian brains can think of while ignoring human rights, environment, social welfare, culture and millennia long social traditions to be the “west”.

    And of course ex-pat Burmese love it as they want to be like the “West” which they admire and they do not understand the value of small land ownership for generations and the people who do and the most cruel ONGOING treatment of the disadvantaged all over the country.

    Burma is heading Cambodia way.

  3. George Than Setkyar Heine

    And ASEAN has TESTIFIED that FACT today.
    Of course THE WORLD and UN have PROVED the fact already as well.
    Daw Suu’s DEBUT on the WORLD STAGE today has MADE ALL PEOPLE of BURMA, STAND TALL amongst the PEOPLE OF THE GLOBE of course.
    The Burmese passport holders can PUT THEIR CHIN UP and TRAVEL ROUND THE WORLD from now on as well.
    For HALF A CENTURY people holding Burmese passports were TREATED LIKE TRASH when they landed in Bangkok, Thailand, for a start and all the way to Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and elsewhere in the world.
    I witnessed an occasion when a Burmese passport was THROWN AWAY and the holder had to PICK IT UP HIMSELF before he was shunted at a corner for further GRILLING by the Malaysian immigration officers.
    Simply put: Burmese passport holders were REGARDED AS SCUM of the EARTH during the reign of the military rulers led by Than Shwe and his lot still CALLING THE SHOTS from Naypyidaw, Burma, today.
    Now Daw Suu’s DEBUT on the SCENE certainly HERALDS a NEW ERA and AURA of Burma the world must RECKON WITH with MUCH RESPECT and DUE REGARD as well, given her CHARACTER, CHARISMA, COURAGE and UNIQUE LEADERSHIP which the GLOBAL COMMUNITY has RECOGNIZED and GIVEN RESPECT since day one until today.
    And Burma’s VAST NATURAL and HUMAN RESOURCES as well SIGNALED the PEOPLE of BURMA are NO PAUPERS since the dawn of time until today.
    Hence, our GOLDEN LAND would SOON BE EXCLUDED from the LIST of the PAUPER STATES in the world when Daw Suu HOLDS of the HELM of the country lest the likes of Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand mainly forget.

  4. You will find that Aung San Suu Kyi will deliver an international standard speach which will lead to not only eastr Asia but also the global economy that’s we hope so.

  5. Yes, indeed, we are proud of the Lady. She works for Burma, reaching out to the world which accepts her as its citizen.
    But at the back of every body’s mind, I think, is what could be working in the minds of anti-democracy elements at home.
    We can only hope that these elements realize what is best for the people as well as for them: that the Lady can work wonders for this country. And they must turn their defeat into victory by closing ranks with the people who evidently want democracy to work for their well-being, war-free peace and individual security.
    Metta (loving kindness) is the only tool for the security of Burma and for the world.

  6. Daw Aung Sann Suu Kyi is revered by millions of folks all over the world, respected by the statesman ang Kings and Queens, and comparable to Mr Mandela of South Africa. The tower of democracy given by these 2 saints to uncountable numbers of citizens is amazing sense of humanity humbled by their own simple human senses.
    The equally missing commodity from the WEF is absentee Mr Thein Sein of Myanmar. Apparently he will not be able to stand as his excellency in front of the Lady. He has to withdraw himself from this occasion. Shame on him.

  7. Dear DASSK – I think you’d be of more use representing striking workers back home, rather than playing to the gallery, to the very people so keen on exploiting those workers, in Bangkok.

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