by Xia Ziyi
BALI, Indonesia, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- Walking into the seaside Peninsula Island Nusa Dua Bali, the venue of the ASEAN Fair held in the well-known resort for the first time, one can not help but feast the eyes on the unique and exotic charm surrounding you.
As a side event open to public from Oct. 24 to Nov. 23 on the sidelines of high-profile ASEAN meetings and Summits, the Fair themed "Hello ASEAN" is aimed to promote ASEAN culture and dialogue through cultural exchanges.
Co-organized by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry and the Economic Affairs Coordinating Ministry, the event includes a slate of fascinating activities, such as pop-rock music festival, culinary expo, and youth forum on exchanging knowledge in innovative industry among ASEAN countries.
More than 130 booths divided into three sections were provided to exhibitors from all ASEAN member states showcasing and selling traditional costumes and handicrafts marked by strong original and ethnic characteristics.
At the section with the Southeast Asia-style stilted huts, a front booth selling Indonesian national costume "Batik" has drawn much attention and flashlight from visitors. They appreciate the beauty of the silk robes and dresses, taking photos or asking prices and buying.
Wahyu, the saleswoman from the Gee "Batik" Company, told Xinhua that "Batik" is one of the most highly developed art forms in the country, and that the costumes variegated in colors, patterns and even odors are designed with a touch of art without missing the classical elements.
"The handmade 'Batik' usually takes at least two weeks and great care to make one piece," she said, adding that it costs about 1.2 million IND (about 135 U.S. dollars) apiece, much higher than the machine-made ones.
Like Wahyu, other Indonesian people also feel proud of being part of ASEAN events.
Catherine Dhammamitha Viriya, the Miss Tourism Indonesia Favorite 2010 told Xinhua on Monday that she is happy to be one of the lucky girls who help promote the ASEAN events with photogenic smiles. "We all feel very excited."
At another section in the ASEAN Fair, Indonesian pop band Waktu shared their excitement with visitors. A vocalist said, "We feel so proud of being chosen to join this event, because we will be Indonesian envoys to promote soft diplomacy among the ASEAN countries."
The band performs in the section with four white dome theaters which are used to display the cultures and the latest developments of ASEAN member countries in pictures, texts and videos. Interestingly, you may also try the audition of a CD song written by the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in this section.
Dancing and singing are must for ASEAN to show its cultural diversities. A big stage with traditional setting was set up a month ago for dancing and singing performances.