Feel at Home at ASEAN’s First Cultural Centre

AKP Phnom Penh, July 11, 2019 —

Visitors can feel Cambodia especially with creative presentations of Khmer greeting, Apsara dance, temples, national costumes, and popular dishes like Num Banchok or Cambodian traditional noodle, and Lort Chha or stir-fried rice pin noodle with the use of multimedia, photo exhibitions and artefacts.

In the same way, they can also experience local sense of other ASEAN member countries, and it happens at the Bangkok-based ASEAN Cultural Centre operated by the Ministry of Culture of Thailand.

This is the feeling that AKP reporters were made to have when received recently by the passionate team at the regional cultural hub.

Located on the third floor of the most-visited Ratchadamnoen contemporary art centre at the heart of the Thai capital, ASEAN Cultural Centre welcomes an annual average between 150,000 to 200,000 visitors since its opening in August 2015.

According to the centre’s cultural officer Ms. Nichakarn Boonpetch, the purpose of its establishment is to “showcase our ASEAN Community’s histories, cultures, arts, traditions and values and also deliver message to the public on the shared cultural heritages and values within Southeast Asian region and its peoples.”

Worth about 20 million Thai Baht (roughly US$648,908) and covering the surface of 600 square metres, the centre serves as an interactive learning setting presenting cultural heritage of all ASEAN member nations through the latest technology.

Ms. Nichakarn Boonpetch and another cultural officer of the place Ms. Chutamats Kordee walked visiting AKP reporters through the six designated zones of different and attractive exhibitions – each of them can accommodate up to 20 visitors per go.

The first zone called “The Melting Pot of ASEAN Culture” is like a private cinema with a curved wall digitally displays a six-minute 3D introductory video of animated grandpa telling his granddaughter historical and cultural milestones before the establishment of ASEAN and makes her proud.

The latter zones include a huge dome fashioned from ASEAN logo providing the bloc’s establishment, timeline, member states and other major figures and facts, and a space filled with artefacts, photographs and works of art and literature using augmented reality interactive technology.

These zones also engage a modern technique to dress visitors in any traditional outfits they prefer and have their photos taken and uploaded, recorded greeting of native speakers of the ten countries, and edu-taining software that can demonstrate how to prepare popular dishes of all ASEAN countries with just a signal.

The final zone titled “ASEAN E-Library Park” welcomes visitor with relaxing environment equipped with e-books on the region’s history, culture and beyond.

According to Ms. Nichakarn, the top three visitors to the cultural learning centre are university students, foreigners and government officials.

“Our centre is open for all and it is free. We want other nations to know about the richness of our regional cultures, and want our ASEAN people to feel the pride of the multi-cultures we have and respect each other,” added Ms. Chutamats.

Under the leadership of the Ministry of Culture of Thailand, the team in charge of the ASEAN Cultural Centre is travelling the world to promote it, and a huge celebration has been planned for the incoming ASEAN Day in August.

Though this is the first regional cultural centre in ASEAN, the team does not mean to be the only one of its kind across the region.

“It would be great if other ASEAN countries like Cambodia can have one of such centre, too. We can work together to promote our culture and heritages. When all ASEAN countries and peoples are together, we are more productive, and our voice is stronger,” Ms. Nichakarn continued passionately.

By Mc Soleil & Yea Chenda Khantey