SINGAPORE: A new travelogue series exploring stories off the beaten track in Southeast Asia had its preview on Tuesday (Feb 27) at the Mediacorp campus.
Over the last three months, Channel NewsAsia’s correspondents Jackson Board and Pichayada Promchertchoo explored townships and villages outside the capital cities of ASEAN countries to produce ‘Tapestry: the Heart of ASEAN’, a five-part series showcasing the diversity of the communities in the 10 member states.
The journalists met small communities and individuals who held stories of innovation, entrepreneurship, green conservation efforts and culture.
In Myanmar, a green start-up Chu Chu Design targets Yangon’s growing waste problem by transforming rubbish into eco-friendly handicrafts, while also creating jobs for the local people. In Indonesia, a technology start-up prototypes building material grown from mushrooms and aspires for people to one day, “grow” their own houses.
The series took 85 days and a 70-member crew to film, including local crews from all 10 states. In all, Mr Board and Ms Promchertchoo met 80 individuals and filmed 22 stories.
“We are both news correspondents, so we are used to travelling a lot, but this was an ambitious project," said Mr Board. "On a weekly basis we are in new countries, meeting new people...we filmed in all 10 ASEAN countries.”
Promchertchoo said that there was one strong similarity between people in the region – a strive for better lives.
“Different societies have different challenges, but they face similar factors: climate change, poverty, rapid urbanisation, pollution. But I see a lot of sharing of information between the people, even between countries,” said Ms Promchertchoo. “When one country has this problem, they can share the knowledge of the solution when another country faces a similar problem.”
Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said the series showed how ASEAN integration and connectivity impacted the daily lives of ordinary people and businesses, especially small businesses and start-ups.
“It will make a difference to how we perceive ourselves and how others look at ASEAN. It also gives for the rest of us an added sense of urgency and significance, that what we do makes a difference,” said the minster, who was the guest-of-honour at the event.
“Ultimately it’s not about meetings. Ultimately it’s about lives, livelihoods, happiness and harmony."