ASEAN CIVIL SOCIETY CONFERENCE 2013
Between 4-9 April, 2013 a group of 13 Thai people selected and supported by ASEAN Project of People's Empowerment Foundation(PEF) travel to Brunei Darussalam to attend ASEAN Civil Society Conference 10th/ASEAN People's Forum 2013(ACSC/APF 2013). We depart Suvarnabhumi Airport at 8.20 pm by Royal Brunei and arrive Bandar Seri Begawan Airport at 12.20 am after midnight. There is a very friendly welcome from Bruneian staff and we are taken straight away to Jerudong Hotel on a minibus. It takes about half an hour from the airport to the hotel. After waiting for checking in for awhile, we are paired for one bedroom, climb up with the heavy luggage to the 3rd floor, and ready to go to bed at 2 am...(Brunei time is an hour ahead of Thailand.)
The conference is organized annually for civil society among 10 ASEAN nations to voice their opinions in various topics and then summarize into a statement in order to propose it to the country leaders at ASEAN Summit conducted later in Brunei. This event always takes place in the ASEAN Chairman country.
This year, the conference's theme is "ASEAN: Building Our Future Together" and its venue is LR ASMA Hotel, Jalan Jerudong. It is organized and hosted by the Council of Woman of Brunei Darussalam and supported by Civil Society Organisation in Brunei Darussalam. There are 8 plenaries and 8 workshops for more than 300 delegates representing CSOs from ASEAN member states. The topics include Understanding Brunei Darussalam, ASEAN's Vision, Youth Participation, Follow-up Mechanism of ACSC/APF Recommendations, Green Growth Strategy for ASEAN Countries, Labour Rights and Migrant Workers, Social Protection, Peace and Security, Women,Health and Migration, etc.
Our group comprises 13 representatives from different fields namely 3 from PEF(khun Ab, Khun Dao, Khun Gif), 1 from Community Organization Council Network(Chiangrai - Khun Taew), 1 from Migrant Worker Network(khun Sue), 1 from Prachathai(khun Pat), 1 from Youth for Peace and Development Academy(Khun Aladee), 1 from Karen Network for Culture and Environment(Khun Kai), 1 from Community Radio Network(Khun Somchai), 1 from MPlus Foundation(Khun Tor), 1 from Ministry of Social Development and Human Security(Khun Morn), 1 from Muslim Students Federation of Thailand(Khun San), and 1 from Phangnga Community College.
We have learnt something about Brunei from the trip:
1. on Brunei(BI) airline, you will be offered choices of food one by one so you have to be able to communicate for that
2. there are not many female attendants on board
3. you cannot see light posts with tangled lines, people walking in the street, motorcyclists, cyclists, passenger buses, taxis, street vendors, nor street posters
4. you can see only private cars in the street
5. colorful flowers in the hotel halls and dining rooms are all artificial, only few red ones decorated at the stage in the Conference
What I had experienced above can be planned and conducted as follows:
1. introducing People's Empowerment Foundation and its purposes to PCC personnel, PCC students as well as local community
2. sharing my direct 3-day experiences about Brunei with PCC personnel, PCC students as well as local community
3. exchanging opinions with group members via social network and maintaining good friendship
4. encouraging PCC personnel, PCC students as well as local community to study and practice more communicative English
5. keeping up with news and information about ACSC via its website