Our warmest congratulations to architects from the ASEAN on winning ten A+ Awards in architecture for 2019. Their outstanding works include six projects from Thailand, plus one each from Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia.
Story: Samutcha Viraporn / Photo: Architizer
Hosted by the online architecture community Architizer.com, the A+ Awards come in two categories; “Jury Winners” which are handpicked by reputable judges, and “Popular Choice Winners” judged by public votes. The ten A+ Award winners from the ASEAN are:
Commercial / Office – Low Rise (1-4 Floors)
IDIN Architects Office / Designed by IDIN Architects, Thailand
Popular Choice Winner
The home of IDIN Architects Co, Ltd is arranged in three parts; the office, the business owner’s residential unit, and a café open to the public. It’s a layout that strikes the right balance between privacy and the busy movement in Bangkok’s Ratchadapisek neighborhood. The low-rise building sits peacefully ensconced in a lush oasis. Its blackened exterior is covered in Japanese Yakisugi, cypress plank cladding traditionally charred to enhance a natural appeal. The café on the ground floor boasts a touch of Modernism that’s evident in a beautiful mix of steel, glass and concrete component parts.
Commercial / Showrooms
Organicare Showroom / Designed by Tropical Space, Vietnam
Popular Choice Winner
Tropical Space is an architectural firm expert in old-fashioned brick construction. Their project involved converting a 1975 brick building into a modern showroom for fish sauces and homegrown brands of organic products. Steel frames and bricks are the main materials used to improve interior and exterior design, as well as create shelving to suit every display need.
Concepts / Plus-Architecture + For Good
Heartware Network/ Designed byDP Architects, Singapore
Popular Choice Winner
Promoting team spirits among youth organization volunteers, the design by DP Architects creates a platform of cooperation and change in behavior conducive to a positive environment that lies at the core of the Heartware Network. Its engagement ideas have enabled the charitable youth organization to connect with more than 1,500 young people per year.
Concepts / Plus-Architecture + Living Small
3500-Millimeter House / Designed by AGo Architects, Indonesia
Popular Choice Winner
A building 3.5 meters wide and 17 meters long is home to an architect, his wife and a son. The house walls, staircase and built-in furniture share the rigid supporting structures that enclose them. The façade that stands facing West is built of perforated metal sheets and polycarbonates to protect from the summer sun. Clever design ensures the interior living space is well lit and airy.
Concepts / Plus-Architecture + Renovation
Kloem Hostel / Designed by IF (Integrated Field), Thailand
Kloem Hostel is built by combining three adjacent old houses into a single entity. The two Thai houses at either end are beautifully renovated. The building at the center transforms into a loft that serves as common area and relaxed hangout reminiscent of the Thai lifestyle in former times.
Details / Plus-Architecture + Facades
Little Shelter Hotel / Designed by Department of Architecture, Thailand
Popular Choice Winner
A small hotel in Chiang Mai boasts a façade that’s reminiscent of fine crafts. The calm and beautiful face gets its inspiration from wooden roof tiles that are symbolic of Northern architecture in olden days. A reinterpretation of handicrafts in a modern context, the intricate design of wood and polycarbonates adds a unique charm to the principal front overlooking a street.
Hospitality / Hotels & Resorts
Bunjob House: House of Flow / Designed by NPDA Studio, Thailand
The Bunjob House is a vacation destination nestled in a family-owned coconut grove on beautiful Pha-ngan Island in the Gulf of Thailand. Its façade consists of curved concrete slabs that draw cool breezes from the ocean resulting in thermal comfort in the interior living spaces. The slabs also protect the building during a thunderstorm. Casings made of coconut trees leave their marks on the concrete texture that blends into the natural surroundings.
Residential / Apartments
Hachi Serviced Apartment / Designed by Octane Architect & Design, Thailand
Popular Choice Winner
The project’s most outstanding feature is the façade that’s designed to promote a healthy home life despite being in an apartment complex. The exterior architecture of the building reflects well on the type of design, balance and symmetry of the interior space.
Residential / Private House (XL >5000 sq ft)
Cloister House / Designed by Formwerkz Architects, Malaysia
The design gets its inspiration from the courtyard house typical of long established Chinese architecture. Adapted to blend with modern tropical style, the layout consists of a framework of nine regularly spaced rooms partially open to connect with the outdoors. The building in Johor state, southern Malaysia occupies 45,000 square feet.
Residential / Interiors
Y/A/O Residence / Designed by Octane Architect & Design, Thailand
Popular Choice Winner
Increased natural light provides the perfect focal point in the interior reminiscent of the house with a courtyard. It’s a great way to let light create depth in the interior space. The project consists of three separate buildings; a two-level house, guest accommodation building, and car garage.
It’s an inconvenient truth that doesn’t bode well for the future. But let’s face reality in an honest way. The Global Wealth Report 2018 published by the Credit Suisse Research Institute showed Thailand scoring 90.2 on the Gini coefficient (also the Gini index), making it a country with the widest income inequality in the ASEAN, and one of four worst performers on the world chart, which include Ukraine (95.5), Kazakhstan (95.2), and Egypt (90.9).
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The Gini coefficient, named after Italian demographer Corrado Gini, is a statistic measure of the degree of inequality represented by a set of values from zero to 1, or 100 depending, zero being perfect equality in either income or wealth. Hence, the higher the values, the greater the wealth is being more unevenly distributed.
The Credit Suisse report visualizes the global wealth distribution in the form of a wealth pyramid, which places adults in one of four wealth bands: under-10,000 USD, between 10,000 and 100,000 USD, between 100,000 and 1 million USD, and over-1 million USD.
In Thailand, the distribution of adults by wealth range is heavily concentrated at the bottom end of the wealth spectrum. Precisely, 91.7% of adults belong in the under-10,000 USD wealth band, 7.5% in the between 10,000 and 100,000 USD band, and 0.7% in the between 100,000 and 1 million USD band. Only 0.1% are members of the over-1 million USD wealth range. This translates into a high income inequality value of 90.2 on the Gini coefficient.
As for Asia, there is a substantial degree of polarization between high-income countries (Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore) and the low-income countries (including Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Vietnam). On average the Asia-Pacific region (excluding India and China) has a high income inequality value of 90.1 on the Gini index.
Across the ASEAN membership, Indonesia comes in second at 84.0, followed by the Philippines at 82.6 on the Gini index. Like in Thailand, only 0.1% of Indonesian and Philippine adult populations are members of the over-1 million USD wealth range.
Myanmar has a Gini index value of 58.2, making it a country with the narrowest income gap in the ASEAN. Interestingly, 98.9% of its adult population belongs in the low-income wealth band with 0% in the 100,000 USD range and beyond.
In Singapore, only 13.8% of its adult population are members of the under-10,000 USD wealth range, while 38.2% belong in the between 10,000 and 100,000 USD range, and the majority 44% in the between 100,000 and 1 million USD wealth band. Its income inequality value on the Gini index is 75.8.
The Gini coefficient shows the statistical dispersion of income or wealth among the citizens of a country. It’s the most common method of measuring inequality. The scale ranges from zero to 1, or 100 depending. A Gini coefficient of zero refers to perfect equality in the data being analyzed, while 1 (or 100) means there’s a maximum inequality. Gini values are key to understanding a wealth pattern that gives us an idea where to start to tackle the problem.
The art of the ASEAN is shining with excitement at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. Besides encouraging creative thinking through their works, artists from around the Region see their expressions as a tool to communicate their enthusiasm, raise their concerns, and get people to think about various social and environmental issues. Their thought-provoking visuals and other artistic designs reflect how art is playing a vital role within the community much like social media is used to connect with people and foster new ideas. Our Living ASEAN team has explored the works of visual art on display and filed this report. Check it out!
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN for short, is a regional organization committed to promoting cooperation and facilitating economic and sociocultural integration among its ten member states, which include Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The ASEAN population is estimated at 635 million.
Country: Cambodia Title: National Road No. 5 Artist: Lim Sokchanlina Venue: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC), 7th Floor
Lim Sokchanlina is a photographer and founder of the artist group “Stiev Selepak” that’s known for works in various disciplines ranging from photography to installation to performance art. His expressions often reflect with gloominess on socio-economic conditions in Cambodia. Worthy of attention is the work of visual art titled “Sa Sa Bassac Art Project”, which he recently exhibited at the Sydney Biennial, Australia. He also debuted his latest work titled “Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia from the 1980s to Now” at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo in 2017.
“National Road No. 5”, his exhibit at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, tells stories of overwhelming distress after people’s homes have been torn down to make room for the development of a project along the Thai-Cambodian border. Timber that’s eroded by being exposed to the weather tells an unforgettable tale of heartbreak after people’s lives have been altered by the expansion process of a capitalist economy.
Country: Indonesia Titles: “Rekayasa Genetika” (REGEN), and “Flying Angels” Artist: Heri Dono Venues: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC), 7th Floor; the East Asiatic Building; and the Hotel Peninsula
“Rekayasa Genetika” (REGEN) is sculptural installation by Indonesian artist Heri Dono. Surprising in a way that’s unique to his artistic ability, the exhibit is appreciated for its beauty of non-verbal expression and strong emotional power. The human like sculptures showing the effect of mutation get their inspiration from Indonesia’s shadow puppetry known as Wayang. The sculptural works are made of a variety of objets trouves ranging from fiberglass and wood to electronic gadgets and electric fans. Art lovers can interact with the exhibits by pressing the button provided. Besides the mutants, Heri also debuts “Flying Angels” at the East Asiatic Building for the duration of Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. Meantime, another squadron of “Flying Angels” are on view at the Hotel Peninsula Bangkok.
Country: Myanmar Title: The Check Point Artist: Nge Lay Venues: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC), 7th Floor
The Check Point by Myanmar artist Nge Lay sends a tactful reminder that says, “Everyone must come through that door.” It reflects a situation in which people experience a clash of opposing needs or wishes in daily living. A graduate of the Yangon University of Culture, the artist pursued a career in ornaments and accessories design until 2003 when she made the switch to live performance art and photography. Her works of visual art oftentimes touch on the perception of social and historical circumstances and the prospects of Myanmar’s politics. Since 2009, she has exhibited at various art scenes including the Singapore Biennale 2013 and the 8th Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art.
The artist’s entry in the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 is a bloggable installation that calls attention to gender inequality. Through it, she deals with the subject of different treatment or perceptions of individuals due to their gender. The most important point at issue is whether it be good or bad, rich or poor, saint or sinner, everyone is born into the world through that door. Yet, the idea that men and women are not equal remains a major barrier to human development. Aptly named “The Check Point”, the installation tells their stories of what seems like the eternal conflict between the sexes. The artwork that resembles a woman’s outer garment consists of eight types of Longyi or sheets of cloth worn by people from various ethnic groups across Myanmar. As the artist puts it: “The work is a combination of different feelings, satisfaction and dissatisfaction, pride and sadness that comes with being a woman. I want to send a message that the door through which we are born into the world should not be regarded as unclean. Hence, the weaker sex should not be oppressed nor treated badly by people in power. A part from motherhood, they represent cultural values, the beauty of nature, and healthy pride in a country.”
Country: The Philippines Title: The Settlement Artist: Mark Justiniani Venues: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC), 1st Floor
“The Settlement” is a small room that stretches into infinity. Its outer covering is made of timber and old galvanized sheets. Step into the world of Mark Justiniani, and you come before an amazing installation. The visual artist uses mirrors to create an illusion that shows smaller and smaller reflections that appear to recede into endless space and time. In so doing, Justiniani combines his artistic skill with a high degree of knowledge to relive an experience and feelings from the history of the Philippines. He gets his inspiration from stories of national heroes, such as Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and their struggle to free the island country form colonialism. Justiniani sees understanding of past events as a means to recuperate from unpleasant memories. Illusions come in handy to stimulate a passion for learning and happiness. For those wanting to escape from confused and noisy disturbances, “The Settlement” is a place to be. (Viewers are required to take off their shoes to enter the exhibit.)
Justiniani is among the artists who took part in social movements in the Philippines from the 1980s to the 1990s. Through the years he has earned affection and esteem for contributing to positive change. He won the Thirteen Artists Award from the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 1994. Since then, he has exhibited at major art events worldwide, among them the Asia-Pacific Triennial, the Yokohama Triennial, the Asia Society in New York, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, and the National Art Gallery of Singapore. Country: Malaysia Title: We die if we don’t dream. Artist: Sherman Ong Venue: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC), 7th Floor
Winner of the 2010 ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu Photography Award, Malaysian artist Sherman Ong has worked in motion pictures and photography in Singapore. She is passionate about the circumstances affecting the relationships between humans and the environment as well as change that’s taking place in modern-day Southeast Asia. Sherman is widely known for her work titled “NUSANTARA: The seas will sing and the wind will carry us” that chronicles long journeys by sea through the Region from past to present. It tells stories in a non-verbal way of movement of people from one area to another as well as cultural assimilation that has come to characterize the social landscape. Over time, as people came in contact with one another, the individuals or groups of different ethnic heritage are absorbed into and become a part of the culture of a society. For the Bangkok Art Biennale, Sherman Ong debuts “We die if we don’t dream” (2018), a thought provoking exhibit about the experience, ideas, and memories of Afghan people in Malaysia.
Country: Laos Title: The Adventure of Sinxay Artists: The Thai-Lao Group Hooptam Venue: BAB Box @ One Bangkok
“The Adventure of Sinxay” is a full-size wall painting in vivacious colors by the Thai-Lao group Hooptam. The painted picture is the result of a confluence of ideas between Songwit Pimpakun, Tanupon En-on, Home-Sawan Umansap of Thailand and two artists from the Lao PDR Tiane Vilayphonechith and Amphonesouk Phaysourine. The amazing work of visual art gets its inspiration from oral literary works about the basic goodness of mankind and courageous character. It tells a story in a powerfully irresistible way about a young man who goes on a long journey to rescue his relative abducted by a giant. Along the way, the story of imaginary persons and events makes reference to the basic teachings of the Buddha, the beliefs associated with the local people, and the mottos that guide them through pain and suffering. For the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, the artist group gives a different interpretation to the classic story so as to fit in with modern-day circumstances. The leading character begins his journey from the Laotian capital Vientiane, crosses the Mekong River into Thailand, and soon heads for Bangkok. On the way, he confronts many obstacles, among them devils and evil spirits as well as an army of soldiers. Overall, it’s a confusing world dominated by technological advances and online social media.
Country: Vietnam Title: Jrai Dew: A radicle room Artist: Art Labor Venue: O. P. Place, 3rd Floor
Artists from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam came together in 2012 in a bid to find ways of presenting their ideas through non-formal visual art forms. The result was a series of artistic expressions from a unique cultural point of view. The group consisted of artist Thao Nguyen Phan, curator Truong Cong Tung, and author Arlette Quynh-Anh Tran. Together, they experimented with new ideas that went beyond the limits and ventured out into unfamiliar territories. In the process, they discovered “Jrai Dew”, a belief traditional to an ethnic group called Jarai who inhabits remote areas in the highlands of central Vietnam. According to an explanation by Art Labor, the Jarai people believe that humans are an inextricable part of the cycle of nature, a process in which everything is continuously cycled in various forms of the environment. After death, everything begins again like tiny drops of water that form in the cold of night and evaporate when temperatures rise. Likewise, people and the forest in which they live go through a never-ending cycle of change. As the gems of morning disappear, they signal the opening of new opportunities for other things to grow. For the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, Art Labor debuts “Jrai Dew: A radicle room”, a unique installation that took three years in the making. It’s designed to communicate such a thought provoking idea from the highlands of central Vietnam to its audiences beyond borders.
Country: Singapore Title: A Parade for the Paraders Artist: Kray Chen Venue: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC), 7th Floor
“A Parade for the Paraders” is a triple-screen piece of video art by former members of the Singapore Military Marching Band. The musicians come together to play “Steamroller” in a lively and animated fashion that has made the soldier jogging song more interesting and exciting. The band members are seen without full dress regalia as they march past a deserted school. The relaxed and unconcerned parade may be an unfamiliar sight to see, but the music and the formation are a serious matter. Kray Chen, formerly a member of the marching band, explained that his video art presented a contrast between playfulness and serious performances. The real military marching band spent many hours practicing to achieve perfection before they could play as part of National Day Parades on August 9. His band did not. A harsh reality of life that few people knew was that military marching music was taken so seriously that under normal circumstances, its members weren’t even allowed to perform live in public.
Country: Thailand Title: The Outlaw’s Flag Artist: Jakkai Siributr Venue: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC), 7th Floor Ambulatory
“The Outlaw’s Flag” by Thai artist Jakkai Siribut is an installation that calls attention to the plight of the Rohingya refugees. Like a very exciting contest, the work of visual art consists of 15 flags that no one knows to what country or people they belong. The only known truth is that the humanitarian crisis caused by violence and discrimination in Myanmar has sent hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing into neighboring countries. The imaginary flags on display send a message of hope for the future of the Rohingya and urge countries in the region to cooperate in a bid to end terror and suffering that the refugees are facing. The artist is regarded with respect and warm approval for drawing attention to pressing socio-political issues, most notably the challenges faced by the followers of Buddhism in Thailand. He sees the tendency to consider material possessions more important than spiritual values as having a detrimental effect on the Thai way of life. A versatile artist, Jakkai is skillful in using textiles, embroidery techniques, photography and video art in creating beautiful installations that get people to think about the problems that need to be dealt with. He has exhibited at various art destinations in America, Europe, and Asia, most notably the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore, and the Vebih Koc Foundation in Istanbul.
Living ASEAN has selected our favorite houses in the ASEAN for 2017. Of course, all of them present practical solutions for living in the hot and humid climate of Southeast Asia, including a bamboo house in Thailand, a concrete block house in Thailand and a modern tropical house in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Check them out!
THAILAND // A BAMBOO HOUSE EMBRACED BY NATURE
A bamboo house with contemporary appeal sits immersed in its natural surroundings. The home that’s also a medical clinic belongs to Nopharat Pitchanthuk MD, and his wife Kanyapak Silawatanawongse. Without question, his interest in the natural therapeutic concept is expressed in the warm, inviting atmosphere of the home office. The orthopedic doctor provides specialized care for the musculoskeletal system in the comfort of a peaceful country setting.
Intanon Chantip, INchan atelier architect and owner of this HUAMARK 09 building, designed it to test theories he’d arrived at through intense study and experience. He wanted the architecture to tell its own story through the charm of materials that change over time. Intanon and his wife Tharisra Chantip bought this a 30-year-old, 80 square wa (.8 acres) property in the Hua Mark district, demolishing the old house to erect a new four-storey mixed-use building with usable space of 490 square meters and combine office, residence, and art studio.
VIETNAM // MODERN TROPICAL HOUSE IN HO CHI MINH CITY
The architecture of this modern tropical house in Ho Chi Minh City is perfectly suited to the hot, humid climate, with an imaginative counterpoint of plants, greenery, and airy openings keeping it shady and pleasant inside and out.
This waterside tropical house brings back memories of Thai life as it was along Khlong Samsen in bygone times. From outside it looks straightforward and contemporary, but inside is a fascinating mix of antiques from the owners’ collections.
THAILAND // WOODEN THAI HOUSE IN THE LANNA TRADITION
This Lanna Thai house of wood is built based on ancient local traditions. It has a simple, relaxed, and open look. Natural breezes blow all day long through its exquisite form, full of the charm of conservation-friendly Lanna craftsmanship.
MALAYSIA // BOX-SHAPED HOUSE WITH THE TEXTURE OF MEMORY
This box-shaped house uses architecture, architectural elements, and coordinated interior design to tell stories of the present and the past. The house is located in the Petalang Jaya district of Selangor, Malaysia. This is a district of single homes, but with little space to put up a large house. Still, architect Dr. Tan Loke Mun rose to the challenge of house owner Kenneth Koh and tore down the former structure here to build a new 3-storey home in its place.
Ever wonder why this is a dream house for kind pet owners and their feline companions?.
“I live with my wife and our seven cats in this house,” said Chan Mun Inn of Design Collective Architects (DCA). “There used to be only four, but I adopted more cats. So I ended up with seven of them. They were the reason that we left our old apartment and built a new home in the suburb.”
This rectangular brick home in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City is designed for “hot and humid,” open to natural light and cool from air currents constantly streaming in and out through the bricks. Mr. Tung Do and Mrs. Lien Dinh, the owners here, are newlyweds who wanted a small house with a straightforward design for pleasant living. They had seen Tropical Space’s “Termitary House,” which won, among others, a 2016 Brick Award, and admired its form and design so much that – even with their limited budget – they engaged the Company to design and build their own home.
THAILAND // BOX-SHAPED HOUSE WITH A TROPICAL STYLE GARDEN
Box-shaped design highlights a perfect blend of form and function, plus an exotic Tropical style garden. The result: A lovable livable home with a panoramic view from the bedroom.
“This house was not built to be photogenic,” said Patchara Wongboonsin, architect at POAR, when asked about his outstanding design. The 350-square-meter, modern cube-shaped house took two years in the making.
The architect uses clever techniques to make this modern house look like it’s crafted entirely of wood. When her family wanted to build a new house in Thailand’s Northeast, Kanika Ratanapridakul was assigned the task of project architect. It was the first time she had to work directly with local builders and suppliers. Things didn’t go as smooth as planned, but the mission was accomplished – eventually. The key to success lay in being a bit more flexible to ensure things got done right and on schedule.
This garden of more than 15 acres bustles with fascinating activities under the brilliantly glowing light of more than a million bulbs. Here you’ll find a tunnel of many colors, a Christmas tree festooned with lights, models of the 12 constellations of the zodiac, and an indoor sound and light show featuring songs composed by H.M. Rama 9. Open to visitors free of charge Monday – Thursday from 6 to 10 PM, and Friday – Sunday 6 to 11 PM until January 6, 2018: Ratchadapisek Road Soi 8, opposite the Esplanade shopping center.
Here a “3-D projection mapping” light show by the artist group “Limelight” paints a 60-story building with images depicting Bangkok ways of life, culture, and history. Shows from Dec. 14 – 31 2017 five times daily, at 7, 7:15, 7:30, 7:45, and 8PM. On New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) there’s a special additional show for the 2018 countdown at 11:55 PM.
LIGHT UP CHRISTMAS TREE CELEBRATION – Central World
CentralWorld Shopping Plaza has set up an amphitheater in front for a wondrously decorated “land of music” featuring world-famous Argentinian artist Javier Gonzales Burgos. The huge Christmas tree surrounded by statues including Santa, polar bears, and reindeer is a visual highlight.
Harry Potter: Christmas in the Wizarding World – Siam Paragon
The space fronting on Siam Paragon has become a magical country, giving muggles a not-to- be-missed photographic opportunity under the theme “Christmas in The Wizarding World,” put on by Warner Bros. Consumer Products and GES,
organizers of the international show “Harry Potter: The Exhibition” on its first visit to Thailand.
Let’s Celebrate 2018: The Holidays Bring Me Here – Central Embassy
A ten-meter Santa Claus, largest in Southeast Asia, rises majestically above Central Embassy shopping plaza, this year brilliant with more than a million Christmas lights. Here also is “Santa Playland,” designed to take everyone back to a fun-filled childhood atmosphere.
Winter Wonderland the Grand Celebration – The Emquartier – EMPORIUM
The Emquartier – EMPORIUM has transformed the trade center to be a miraculous land of winter under the theme “Winter Wonderland: the Grand Celebration,” with a 12-meter white bear and an army of small white bears beaming smiles at all
passersby. There is also a light show with content changing each week.
The main benefit of having a skylight is all the natural light you get from it. Nobody likes being holed up in a dark or dimly lit home, especially at night. Well thought-out skylights provide your home with extra ventilation and minimize heating, cooling, and lighting costs. Here are some great ideas for energy efficient skylight designs that might interest you.
Public parks offer plenty of physical fitness opportunities and relaxation. They provide some respite from the hustle and bustle of city life, mitigate city climate, and make the effects of pollution less severe. Here are some of the most beautiful parks around the Region.
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– Singapore Botanic Gardens –
The 158-year-old Singapore Botanic Gardens are located on the fringe of Singapore’s CBD on Orchard Road. They are the only tropical botanical gardens on the UNESCO World Heritage List, a first in Asia, and they rank number three in the world (after Orto botanico di Padova, and the Royal Botanic Gardens).
The 82-hectare (512-Rai) gardens offer a unique landscape and significant landmarks in the history of Singapore. They were named a top park attraction by TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for 2013 and declared winners of the International Garden Tourism Awards in 2012. Today the botanical gardens are the least expensive tourist spots in Singapore, and also the world.
An urban park popular among tourists, the National Kandawgyi Botanical Garden was built in 1915 by Alex Rodger, an officer in the Forests Department at the time. The founder came up with a botanical garden concept as part of urban planning initiated by the British Empire.
On December 1, 1942 the Forests Ministry designated the Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens as protected forest area. Known for lush greenery and cultivated fields, the park covers approximately 120,000 square meters of woodland in Pyin Oo Lwin city. It is also home to three museums. The Fossils Museum is a treasure trove of prehistoric mammals. The Petrified Wood Museum displays fossils of plants of prehistoric times. The Butterfly Museum boasts a rich array of butterfly species from Nepal, Taiwan, South America, Japan, and countries in Southeast Asia.
– Saigon Botanical Gardens and Zoo, Vietnam –
Dubbed one of the oldest parks in the world, Saigon Botanical Gardens and Zoo were opened in 1865 at the beginning of the French colonial period. They were the brainchild of Jean-Baptiste Louis-Pierre, who also created several other green spaces around the then city of Saigon. A dense enclave of vegetation along the banks of the Thị Nghè Channel, these sprawling tropical gardens are impressive in scale and variety. They make for a relaxing stroll amongst nature. The zoo may not be a full-fledged showcase by any measure. Nonetheless, it is committed to providing sanctuary for many animals in the most naturalistic ways possible.
How do you do tropical rainforest landscaping? Use high-tolerant plants that grow well in heat and humidity. Living ASEAN has put together the following list of 10 tropical species that are generally easy to find in all ASEAN countries:
Bromeliads (Urn Plant): these are ornamental plants with beautiful flowers, slow-growing, easy to care for, and drought-resistant. They do well both where there is a lot and a moderate amount of sunlight. If one gets a lot of sun, the leaves become more and more colorful. Bromeliads give off oxygen during the night and absorb carbon dioxide, making them especially suitable for bedroom placement.
Spikemoss fern (Selaginella Involvens): a ground cover, this is also known as “medical spikemoss” or “peacock fern.” It’s fan-like, with rounded, flat, bushy leaves, and often found in dense forest around steep mountain slopes or near rocks that get moderate sun.
Left: Begonia: represented by many species, it thrives in humid forests, and is thought of as a forest flower. There are both edible and are inedible varieties., For an an alternate sour taste, edible varieties can be used instead of lime in tom yam soup. The inedible varieties have velvety leaves.
Right: Fan palm (Palas Payung): the standout feature of the fan palm is its wide, spreading leaves, resembling folding fans. It can reach four meters in height. Leaves end in sharp, thorny points.
Left:Staghorn Fern (Climbing bird’s nest fern): this fern has climbing roots and thick, green leaves covered with fuzzy hair. The leaf ends fork, resembling a stag’s antlers. For their beautiful and unusual shapes, and their moisturizing quality, they’re often used as ornamental plants.
Right:Coriander-Leaf Fern (Sphenmeris Chusang): this ground fern, found along the face of earthen cliffs or in foothills, does well in shade or indirect sunlight. The petioles about 30cm long, and leaves are delicate and reminiscent of coriander.
Left:theBead Tree (Elaeocarpus Grandiflorus) has a forest habitat. With gray-brown bark and thick, green, oval-shaped leaves, it produces white flowers with a light fragrance. It’s often found growing on the sides of waterfalls.
Right:Australian tree fern (Dicksonia Antarctica): easy to grow, this rapidly growing fern with a chubby trunk grows in places that are humid, but not too wet. Its leaves grow out bushy and beautiful, but it produces neither flower nor fruit.
Left: The round-leaved banyan (Ficus Annulata Blume) stands out amid a bed of spikemoss. Leaves are round and small, dark green, with smooth edges. It produces a round berry-like fruit, yellow-orange when ripe. It’s considered a good-luck tree, associated with wealth. It grows best in dim to medium sunlight.
Right:Simpoh ayer (Dillenia Suffruticosa): this medium-sized shrub flowers white and is often used in house decoration. In its native to Malaysia, ayer thought to bring good luck. At full size it’s about 8-10 meters tall.
Transparency International (TI) has published its Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2016. Among the very clean, Denmark and New Zealand shared first place scoring 90, followed by Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland at 89, 88, and 86, respectively.
Eight out of ten ASEAN member countries fared miserably indicating endemic corruption in the public sector. Cambodia was the region’s worst performer, while Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia each scored lower than 50 out of a hundred.
TI is a global civil society organization that has led the fight against corruption worldwide since 1996. It collaborates with 12 non-governmental institutions, including the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). High CPI scores reflect the general public’s perceptions of transparency in government, while low scores indicate the tangible impact of corruption that a country is facing.
As for the ASEAN region, Singapore scored the highest at 84 ranking number 8 in the world. Brunei made it big above the midpoint at 58, while the remaining eight ASEAN members didn’t make the cut. Malaysia almost made it scoring 49 on the Corruption Perceptions Index. Within the CLMV Group, Cambodia got the lowest score of 21, ranking number 156 out of 176 countries on the world chart.
Interestingly, Laos made an impressive 5-point gain to stand at 30 points, while Thailand’s score went down big time by 3 points to stand at 35, the same score as that of the Philippines. At 35, the two countries rank number 101 on the world chart.
At the very bottom of the index were North Korea scoring a despicable 8 points, Somalia 10, and South Sudan 11, while Libya, Sudan, and Yemen each scored 14.
TI defines corruption as the abuse of public power for private benefits. Obtained by expert assessments and opinion surveys, high CPI scores reflect transparency in government spending while low scores indicate high levels of ill-gotten gains and the tangible impact of corruption that citizens are facing.
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