To highlight the interconnectivity of economic, social, and cultural development among Southeast Asian nations, twelve guest speakers convened in Taipei and offered their unique insights at an open forum on Oct. 28.
Geographical proximity coupled with similar cultural sensibilities have led many Southeast Asian citizens to relocate to Taiwan. As workers, healthcare providers, and spouses, they've become an integral part of Taiwan's social and economic infrastructure.
Titled "Life․Culture․Southeast Asia,” the Oct. 28 forum was aimed at helping the Taiwan people better understand the deeper underflow of cultural relations among Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
Lisa Ahmad, director of Kaleidoscope Studio in Brunei, shared her vision of creating an environment where budding artists could solicit funds independent of government subsidies, while Thai commentator Thanom Chapakdee highlighted the role of art in strengthening community ties and grassroots identities.
Lao Gallery director Misouda Heuangsoukkhoun delineated the development of contemporary art in Laos, and Datuk Hin San Goh, chairman of Malaysia's Han Culture Center, relayed his efforts in promoting the use of traditional Chinese in education and literature in Malaysia.
Lao Textiles founder Carol Cassidy offered a success story of using traditional crafts and textiles to revitalize local economy, to which Indonesian urban planner Marco Kusumawijaya followed up with the inseparability of culture, environment, and community.
Craft Link general manager Tran Tuyet Lan also used the revitalization of local craft arts to boost the livelihood of minority groups in Vietnam, while Philippe Peycam of the Center for Khmer Studies emphasized the importance of researching and preserving Cambodia's regional heritage.
Italy-born, Myanmar-based Ilaria Benini, co-founder of independent agency Flux Kit, outlined her plans for cultivating more civil society discussions and contemporary dialogue, to which Cambodian Living Arts director Phloeun Prim added his hopes for using culture and the arts to change international perceptions on Cambodia.
Tay Tong, director of Singapore-based Arts Network Asia, spoke of the need to transform Southeast Asian cities into international art meccas where artists can meet and collaborate, and Consuelo V. Zapata of the Cultural Center of the Philippines rounded up the discussion by pointing out potential channels for international exchange.
"Life․Culture․Southeast Asia” is the first event in the 2015 Asia Pacific Forum series organized by the Ministry of Culture. A second forum is slated for mid-November.
Taiwan's newly appointed Southeast Asia Advisory Committee.