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Smiles, Spirits, and skyscrapers

This talk is based on my experiences in the countries of have lived in or visited. Fitting in with local culture is not always as easy as it may seem. Southeast Asia presents many contrasts: the most modern buildings live cheek by jowl with customs and beliefs which Westerners might find archaic. These countries share a long history, but some past rivalries have not yet been forgotten and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Nations) faces the same challenges as Europe when trying to find a common identity to its members. Moreover, there is a great disparity between standards of living and levels of development. A quick look at some statistics can be an eye-opener.

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