Association – a part of the world no longer apart. Mohamed Bolkiah. Brunei Press Sdn Bhd. 2013. xiv+174pp. Bandar Seri Begawan. 978-99917-32-37-4. B$48 (softcopy). English
“Association” describes one of the most exciting and inspiring episodes in modern political, economic and social history.
It tells how geographical location known as Southeast Asia, once reputed to be the most dangerous and unstable region on earth, has become the home of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and a much-admired symbol of regional and international cooperation.
It is far more, however, than a political, economic and social history.
It is a human story, at the heart of which is the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the “AMM”, a gathering of regional Foreign Ministers, whose members, ever since its founding, have placed the human agency ahead of all historical and ideological considerations.
It is described through the eyes of its longest-serving member, one whose earliest mentors were the Association’s Founding Fathers themselves. “This is its story as I have observed it.. it is a private and personal account of my own experiences and observations, representing solely my own thoughts..” the writer, who is Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam, said in his acknowledgments.
The book intertwines documentary, academic, artistic and graphic content in an overall tribute to the more than six hundred million people of Southeast Asia.
In his foreword, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam welcomes the publication of the book, saying “As Brunei Darussalam’s representative at these meetings since we joined the Association, Prince Mohamed has witnessed at first-hand the emergence of a new region, defined neither by geography, history nor economic, but by a common feeling of fellowship and shared experience among all its members.” — Darul Aqsha