Oct 13, 2012

Oman - Asean eves foster friendly relations

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Muscat: They may be far from their homelands, but here in Oman South-East Asian women are building new friendships thanks to a new organisation founded by the wives of the ambassadors from Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Asean (Association of South-East Asian Nations) is a political and cooperative organisation in Asia that furthers ties between those five countries as well as Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam, Laos and Singapore.

Women from these countries, who live in Oman, are now coming together to socialise and learn about each other’s' cultures under the umbrella of the Asean Ladies Circle (ALC), explained Datin Dr. Musrifah Sapardi Rustam, wife of the Malaysian ambassador. She hosted a fashion show at her residence on Sunday for
the members.

"For the first time last year we had five Asean countries represented in Muscat. I'm very happy that under the leadership of our president, Datin Nurbayura Haji Lamit from Brunei, we've already had our first event, Asean sports day,- Dr. Musrifah said, adding: "Each month we meet together.-

Dr Musrifah decided to host the fashion show because although the Asean nations are geographically close, Malaysia is a very culturally diverse. She organised a group of Malaysian women to model a number of outfits which showcased the wide variety of fashion, from heavily embroidered dresses with elaborate headpieces to salwar kameez.

"Malaysia is not just one group. We have a blend of people,- she said. Its 27 million people are mainly a mix of Malay, Indian and Chinese, but there are also other ethnic groups.

so styles vary across its 14 states. The fashion has been influenced over the years by Arab, Turkish, Siam, Hindu, Portugues, Chinese and local ethnicities, Dr. Musrifah explained.

"I hope we can do more events exhibiting our cultures. I hope we can do more in the future,- said ALC President Datin Nurbayura Haji Lami.

The Asean Ladies Circle, which was established in August, will continue to host more events for its members, including bowling, badminton, cooking competitions, and a charity bazaar, which will be held December 13 at the Omani Women's Association.

Sarah MacDonald

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