CNA’s “Across ASEAN” celebrates harmony despite diversity

In Channel NewsAsia’s five-part series Across ASEAN, different relationships spanning across various countries showcase the differences and similarities of ASEAN and its people. Each episode profiles a special bond between individuals from two countries, exploring their dynamics and the...

Across ASEAN ASEAN Asia Channel NewsAsia


SINGAPORE – Channel NewsAsia’s newest five-part series Across ASEAN showcases the diversity yet surprising similarities of ASEAN and its people, featuring relationships that flourish even across borders and different cultures.


With 10 member states and a combined population of more than 640 million, ASEAN is the world’s fastest growing region. Yet, beyond the headlines of politics and economies , connections are being forged on a more personal level.


Across ASEAN features five very different relationships that span across the various ASEAN countries. Each episode profiles a special bond between individuals from two different ASEAN countries, exploring the dynamics between them and the factors that have drawn them to each other.


Each relationship will provide an insight to the ties that can form between people from different backgrounds with different life experiences. These are the stories about the discoveries they make about themselves and each other.


“Producing this series has been both an eye-opening and a heart-warming experience. It was so clear to us that, in each episode, our profiles cared for each other, even if they didn’t always understand the other’s culture or life experiences. You could see that their affection for each other was warm and real. And very inspiring,” said Executive Producer, Ng Yuina.


Across ASEAN is a collection of inspiring stories of the unexpected bonds that can form between the diverse individuals who have made ASEAN their home.


Episode 1: An Unlikely Friendship

Sofia, a young Singaporean volunteering in Cambodia, invites Ban, a tuk-tuk driver to join her for a beer in the midst of a downpour. From there, an unlikely friendship forms, strengthened by a shared passion for photography.





Episode 2: Mothers and Sons

Adi follows his dreams and leaves Indonesia to be the lead singer in a band in Malaysia. There, he meets his bandmate’s mother, Hazizah. In the decade since, they have forged a close relationship that rivals that of most mothers and sons.





Episode 3: Beyond the Ring

In the Muay Thai ring, Krai, a Thai trainer, and Sai, his Laotian protégé, have a connection built on blood, sweat and tears. Beyond the ring, separated from their families, they have also learnt to be there for each other.





Episode 4: Old Friends, Best Friends

Ann and Min move to the Philippines with their Filipino husbands after the Vietnam War. As cooks, they meet Jun who works helping displaced Vietnamese. Withstanding the test of time and relocation, these old friends have since become best friends.





Episode 5: A Modern Family

Sparks fly when Bruneian Zefri meets Indonesian Handara in London. As global citizens, they are now raising 3 multi-cultural children in Singapore. They may have roots in different cultures but this modern family is making their own way.





The series is currently available on video-on-demand at