I honestly was caught off guard when I read in the news that the next edition of the SEA Games is coming up. I of course will be supporting the Malaysia. Yes, I want golds for Malaysia but the goal of the Games undoubtedly is greater ASEAN integration. The Games is one of few occasions which the people of ASEAN could come together and celebrate our Southeast Asian union, very unlike the recently adopted ASEAN Charter.
The ASEAN Charter beings with "We, the peoples of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations..." despite the fact that the document is mostly drafted by bureaucrats that worked far detached from the people the Charter claims to represent.
It's highly likely that the Charter will be ratified by the legislative arms of each member state. While that may be acceptable, given the state of Southeast Asian democracy, especially of that on the mainland including Malaysia and Singapore, I doubt the Charter will have the legitimacy to really enforce its wills — or rather, theoretically, the wills of the people — throughout ASEAN. In other words, I'd refer to have a referendum as a barometer to measure grassroots support for the Charter rather than have the legislative to rubber stamp the Charter by demand of the executive.
I have a few more misgivings for the Charter but regardless, I look forward to a more integrated region to rival the European Union. I look forward to a day when I could cross the border of Southeast Asian countries with impunity. Most of all, with the disappointing Doha Round, regionalism is the next best solution to global free trade.
Anyway, so, who is going to the SEA Games?