King Bhumibol Adulyadej
Hundreds of thousands of Thais gathered in the capital city of Bangkok, Thailand, to say their final goodbyes to King Bhumibol Adulyadej during the four-day cremation ceremony. Known for its vibrancy and festivities, it was awe-inspiring to note that the entire city has turned monochrome for the royal cremation ceremony as a sign of respect to the late Thai king.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej has always been loved as a monarch and a father figure in Thailand due to his passion and genuine concern for his people. The man of many talents was instrumental in the development of the Southeast Asian nation as each Thai citizen shares an unyielding bond with the late king. The work that he did to improve the lives of his subjects will always be remembered by his people and the world.
A woman holds aloft an image of the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej during the final dress rehearsal for his funeral in Bangkok on October 21, 2017. (AFP Photo/Lillian Suwanrumpha)
Regional security and counter-terrorism
Over the past week, ASEAN nations shored up military support to counter the rising extremism and terrorism acts within the region. Defence ministers of the member states recently gathered in Manilla for the 11th ADMM (ASEAN Defence Minister’s Meeting) which focused on violence, extremism and transnational terrorism.The dialogue aims to promote mutual trust, confidence, transparency and greater understanding of defence and security challenges between its members and dialogue partners to fight against radicalisation across the Southeast Asian region.
At the same time, the regional bloc is faced with the challenge to manage its diplomatic ties with both China and the US, without forsaking the regional interests of its member states that are claimants to the islands within the disputed area in South China Sea. The ongoing conflict has raised security concerns to the region as China has been stepping up efforts in exerting control over the disputed territories.
In the Philippines, the government accepted aid from Australia and Russia as part of its efforts in increasiing the archipelagic nation's military capabilities to prevent and deal with insurgencies like the recent rebellion which destroyed the city of Marawi and displaced hundreds of thousands of Filipinos.
This aerial picture taken on January 2, 2017 shows a Chinese navy formation, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning (C), during military drills in the South China Sea. (AFP Photo)
In this past week, The ASEAN Post also covered topics including sexuality education in the region, solar energy in Indonesia, the potential of biogas in Malaysia and Indonesia as well as UNESCO heritage sites in Southeast Asia.