Following the successful launch of the Best of ASEAN Performing Arts on 6 May 2008, the second performance in this series was staged by Thailand at the Gedung Kesenian Jakarta on 8 August 2008.

The ‘Tapestry of Thai Beauty and Grace’ featured Thai puppetry by the Traditional Thai Puppet Theatre (Joe Louis), the only troupe of Thai theatrical puppeteers in existence.  In addition, the troupe from the Bunditpatanasilpa Institute performed the Khon form of dance drama, “Ramakien”, which is the Thai version of the Indian epic “Ramayana”, as well as traditional dances from various Thai provinces.

The event, which coincided with ASEAN’s 41st Anniversary, was attended by the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Indonesia, Ambassadors of ASEAN Member States and Dialogue Partners, Jakarta-based diplomatic corps and other dignitaries in Jakarta, as well as members of the public.  A cake cutting ceremony was held to mark ASEAN’s birthday.

Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan said, “08/08/08 is a special day for us.  ASEAN turned 41 today and Thailand’s cultural performance is the icing on the cake.  Culture can be a great unifier of peoples and through culture, we can strengthen further the existing bonds of regional solidarity and cooperation, as ASEAN’s founding fathers had envisaged 41 years ago.”

The Best of ASEAN Performing Arts is a series of cultural events that showcases the richness and diversity of performing arts in the region. The purpose of the series is to promote ASEAN awareness through the region’s rich and diverse cultures as well as to acknowledge the important role that Jakarta has played over the last 32 years as the host city of the ASEAN Secretariat.

Today’s performance was organised by the Ministry of Culture of Thailand, the Royal Thai Embassy in Jakarta and the ASEAN Secretariat.  The Tourism Authority of Thailand helped to sponsor the event.