Now that Malaysia has assumed the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2015, the Consulate General of Malaysia is seeking closer relations with ASEAN representatives in Germany.
The first networking meeting in Frankfurt took place on the 26th of February with officials from Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore along with German guests cultivating contacts to the South East Asian countries.
The Consul General of Malaysia, Madam Adina Kamarudin, gave a short introductory speech, saying that the event was part of a programme to raise the ASEAN profile. “ASEAN is now the 7th largest economy in the world”, she went on, “and during our chairmanship this year the ASEAN Community will materialise, under which the member countries will become more closely linked in terms of economy, political security and social and cultural aspects. Also, there will be the roll-out of the ASEAN Economic Community to create a single market and production base.” After her speech, two videos were shown to the guests, highlighting ASEAN countries.
The Malaysian Delegation welcomed MATRADE’s CEO Dr. Wong Lai Sum from Kuala Lumpur as other special guests included for Vietnam Consul General Mr Xuan Thanh Truong, for Thailand Consul General Mr Charoenrat Chimsamran and for Indonesia the Minister Counsellors Mr Rainer Louhanapessy and Mr Mudzakir, who all took the opportunity to deepen existing relationships.
Thailand’s Consul General Mr Charoenrat Chimsamran praised the initiative as being “the first step to an ASEAN connection in Frankfurt and also a good way to raise awareness of the ASEAN Community. I am happy to be here today, seeing so many people receiving information given by the Malaysian Consul General, and with ASEAN being under the chairmanship of Malaysia this year, we will fully cooperate with the General Consulate of Malaysia to work out more activities.“
The event was well received by both Asian and German guests. Bodo Krüger, president of the German-Asian Business Circle welcomed Malaysia’s effort to promote both the country as well as the ASEAN Community.
“It is very important to meet and communicate”, said Mr Krüger, “and I have the feeling that Madam Adina, the new Consul General is moving into the right direction in stepping out in the open.”
Rosita Rahman-Heilek, a Malaysian lady working for United Airways and who together with her German husband was among the invitees, stressed the importance of promoting ASEAN: “I think this platform is giving the non-ASEAN people a view of what the ASEAN network is all about, which will be very beneficial for all participants”.
Viviane Witte, Director for Western Europe and Asia Pacific at the CCI in Frankfurt, stated that she was “happy to see such positive progress in this initiative aimed at fostering closer links among the Frankfurt Community and the ASEAN countries,” adding that she was “looking forward to the jointly event between CCI Frankfurt and Malaysia later this year in November.” Furthermore Ms Witte pointed out that Indonesia will be the guest of honour at this year’s Book Fair in Frankfurt which will draw further attention to the ASEAN Community.
Gabriel Milow and Norbert Riemer of Deutsche Bank International Private Banking were among the guests, too. „The intercultural changes that have been taken place within Germany are a growing potential“, said Mr Milow, „Therefore we gladly accepted the invitation to join this event today, as it offers networking in an international environment, something which is part of Deutsche Bank’s DNA as well”.
The networking event took place in the premises of a new established Malaysian Culture Club called “Makan e.V.”. “Makan” is the Malaysian and Indonesian word for “food” and so it was an act of honour for the “Makan” initiators Ms Michelle and Ms Kim that a lush buffet was served with ASEAN food. Highlight of the event was the celebration of a Chinese New Year’s tradition “Yee Sang”: while mingling separately arranged food ingredients on a big plate by means of chop sticks, the food is tossed as high as possible while expressing well wishes for the new year. The higher the food is lifted, the more prosperity and wealth will occur within next year, according to the Malaysian Chinese people’s belief. With the combined effort of ASEAN officials the food made its turns quite high in the air, so what better start could there be for the lauching of the ASEAN Culture Club in Frankfurt am Main?