“Whether you’re surfing on the beaches in Bali, visiting Buddhist temples in Thailand or you’re hiking on the breathtaking mountains at the rice terraces in the Philippines, the diversity of these Southeast Asian countries is unlike any other”

It is for this reason why ASEAN nations shine brighter than other countries in Asia. Their colorful lifestyle, extraordinary culture, and friendly locals are the result of their diverse past and their economic success.


Maintaining these ASEAN goals is not easy. There are still struggles within and without. Yet, there are many individuals that made a stand, who stood up and made the region and the world listen. They showed outstanding bravery and courage to make their country proud. They embodied ASEAN’s ideals with their unforgettable statements that have changed the lives of their people and of the world.

Soekarno“‘Djarek (Djalannja Revolusi Kita) Bagaikan Malaikat Turun Dari Langit (Learning without thinking is useless, but thinking without learning is very dangerous!)”

-Indonesia, 17 August 1961. Stated by Sukarno Kusno Sosrodihardjo during his Independence Day speech. He is responsible for Indonesia’s freedom from the Netherlands and was the first President of the country.

Corazon Aquino“Given our concern to protect the pillars of our democracy, the extra-constitutional removal of the President is not an ideal we would want to aspire for. But in an environment where abuse of power, in the face of weak democratic institutions, closes all doors of legitimate redress, sadly, we are too often pushed to the brink.”

-Philippines, 26 February 2008. Stated by Corazon Aquino on the day after the twenty-second EDSA revolution anniversary. She was the first woman that became the President of the Philippines. She has also restored the independence of the Filipinos from the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

Lee Kuan Yew-1“If you believe in democracy, you must believe in it unconditionally. If you believe that men should be free, then, they should have the right of free association, of free speech, of free publication. Then, no law should permit those democratic processes to be set at nought.”

-Singapore, 27 April 1955. Stated by Lee Kuan Yew during his speech as an opposition leader. He is the Father of Singapore and is responsible for transforming the country into the most developed nation in Southeast Asia today.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad“ Disunited , confused about Islam, fighting each other for power and lacking in essential knowledge and skills… Muslims today have reached the lowest point of their development.”

-Malaysia , January 2003 . Stated by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad during an interview. He is considered as the Father of Development and is responsible for the modernization of Malaysia. He was the fourth Prime Minister of the country.

Anand Panyarachun“ Open your heart. Be colour blind. Be race blind. See instead our fellow human beings bonded by love for the same homeland. Understand the truth that differences are not weaknesses, but our strengths.”

-Thailand, 28 August 2013. Stated by Anand Panyarachun during an interview with the Bangkok Post. He was known for ratifying the “People’s Constitution” and is popular for his integrity and practical leadership during his administration. He was elected twice as the Prime Minister of the country.

These quotes are from the five countries that have founded ASEAN. These outstanding leaders have fought their way against all odds to protect the nation, their people, and to ultimately avoid abuse of power and political instability. They have inspired the world that everything can be done with good faith, hope, and unity. Their principles and beliefs have become the backbone of ASEAN, which has continued to prosper and grow.

(Photos: Sukarno Kusno Sosrodihardjo, www.penasoekarno.wordpress.com | Corazon Aquino, www.img.timeinc.net | Lee Kuan Yew, www.l.ymig.com | Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, www.mmu.edu.my | Anand Panyarachun, www.xtimeline.com)


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