According to the 2020 Global Digital Report, the average internet penetration rate in Southeast Asia is 66 per cent. The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated digital adoption in the region, making its citizens more reliant on the Internet than ever. The region is undoubtedly poised to take its position amongst the world’s top digital economies.
We, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), gathered for the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits on 11 November 2022 under the Chairmanship of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The Summits were chaired by Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia and convened in
Waccordance with the ASEAN Charter.
Managing personal finances could seem like solving a complex equation—from figuring out how to save money without losing your social life or cutting down on meal expenses, to dealing with your parents’ poor financial choices. Looking for solutions to your everyday money problems? Online resources like The Simple Sum are offering informed answers.
The ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council held the 28th ASCC Council meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 13 October 2022—its first in-person meeting in two years. The meeting discussed the strategic direction for ASCC and its cross-pillar and cross-sectoral work.
Women-led micro and small-sized enterprises in Cambodia can now keep track of their finances through an easy-touse bookkeeping app, Kotra Riel.
When we travel, it is almost inevitable to hit some potholes on the road. As passengers, bumpy rides that jolt us out of sleep can be quite unpleasant and even hazardous.
Thirty-three-year-old Chai Kok Chin says this is a problem in his hometown in Sarawak, Malaysia, so he sought to remedy it for the sake of comfort and safety.
Chai and his team at NEUON developed RoadPlus, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect and report potholes. This technology makes it easier for authorities to monitor road conditions and dispatch repair crews, especially under the Zero Potholes Initiative. RoadPlus is also designed to reduce traffic congestion and improve connectivity. Chai believes that better and safer roads can lead to higher productivity.
The team introduced the technology at MyHackathon 2020, a Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation competition to look for innovative ideas and solutions that would benefit Malaysians. RoadPlus became one of the winners.
Now, Chai and his team continue to work with municipalities across Sarawak to mainstream the initiative. They participated in the ASEAN-India Start-Up Festival in Cibinong, Indonesia, in October 2022 to promote the use of this technology beyond Sarawak.
Throughout 2022, ASEAN and the European Union have held many great events in Jakarta, throughout Southeast Asia, and in the cyber sphere, including a joint photo exhibition, a bike ride, a cultural festival, a comic strip competition, a series of video reflections by eminent persons along with a Young Leaders’ Forum. All of these events are connected by a common thread—celebrating the 45th anniversary of the establishment of our Dialogue Partnership that has, over the past decades, come to form a rich, colourful and multi-layered fabric.
Soaking in the stunning views of Koh Rong Samloem’s pristine beaches while feasting on fresh seafood are some of Langda Chea’s most cherished memories. The 33-year-old travels whenever he needs to recharge from work. However, the ardent traveller recalls that getting to Cambodia’s gorgeous white sands and scuba diving spots was once a challenge. Growing up in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Langda has had some unpleasant experiences during his intercity trips.
Taking a larn taxi (រថយន្តតាក់ស៊ី), operated by drivers everyone calls “uncles,” was the fastest and the most convenient option to get from Phnom Penh to his parent’s hometown in Battambang City. Larn is a shared taxi, which usually accommodates 4-5 passengers at a time. Langda struggled with uncles at crowded terminals where they would fight tooth and nail for potential customers. Langda says the ordeal made him feel like prey hunted by vultures.
As much as securing taxi rides were always unpleasant for him, Langda would dutifully make the trip home every Khmer New Year, Pchum Ben and other special occasions. After making countless intercity trips, he finally realised: he could do something to make his journey more enjoyable.
While on a five-hour larn ride to Battambang City, he got the inspiration to build an online platform, BookMeBus, so customers can book seats on a bus or shared taxi ahead of time. This way, he thought, the customers would fight for their seats, not the other way around. During the 253-kilometre excursion, Langda convinced the uncle, who was driving him, that it was a feasible idea.
In 2015, his idea came to fruition, and both drivers and passengers hopped on the BookMeBus platform. Since then, many Cambodian travellers have been enjoying safer and more comfortable trips by bus, ferry, and taxi. The booking service is now also available for trips to Viet Nam, Thailand, and the Lao PDR. Two years after it launched, BookMeBus won a gold medal in the start-up category of the ASEAN Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Awards.
To celebrate the milestone of 45 years of EU-ASEAN relations, the European Union Delegation to the ASEAN, together with the ASEAN Secretariat, organised the first-ever ASEAN-EU Cultural Festival. The festival highlights the value of culture as a vital element in international relations and its role in building and promoting understanding within and between societies.
After completing high school in Singapore as an ASEAN Scholarship awardee, Gary Evano Daniel headed home to Jakarta to continue his education. With a penchant for business and good food, he dived into Jakarta’s food scene with his friends. Gary is now the managing director of Puyo Group, an F&B brand aggregator with brands like Puyo Desserts and HAKA Dimsum Shop.
Gary put his experience in business operations and marketing to good use by quickly adapting to the use of digital technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, which helped his businesses stay afloat and even grow. The 29-year-old entrepreneur is now keen on helping other businesses to seize the opportunities provided by digital technologies to similarly expand their business. Gary shares his experience with The ASEAN.
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