Brunei Darussalam (Official: Nation of Brunei, Abode of Peace)

Brunei is an independent Islamic sultanate and situated on the northern coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. It is surrounded to the north by the South China Sea and on all other sides by the East Malaysian state of Sarawak. The capital city of Brunei is Bandar Seri Begawan and it lies in the western part of the country. It became a British protectorate in 1888 and was occupied by Japanese during World War II. In 1959 Brunei was recognized as a self-governing state. An Islamic sultanate was established after full independence was restored in 1984.

About three-fifths of the population is officially regarded as Malays and Chinese accounts for one-fourth of the population. Non-Malay indigenous people, comprising various peoples of South Asian descent and migrant workers primarily from Asia and Europe, make up the rest. Official language of Brunei is Malay. In addition, English and Chinese are widely used. The largest proportion of Brunei’s population is Sunni Muslim. Chinese citizens usually practice Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism or Christianity while others follow their own local indigenous religions.

Sultan, the Head of State as well as the Government, has the ultimate authority. Brunei is one of the member countries of the Commonwealth, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), United Nations, OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries), APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) and WTO (World Trade Organization).

Brunei’s abundant petroleum and natural gas fields enabled its citizens to enjoy one of the highest per capita incomes in Asia with well-developed social facilities. Brunei is classified as a developed country and has second highest HDI (Human Development Index) among Southeast Asian Countries. The currency of Brunei is Brunei Dollar (BND).

The country’s fine facilities for a wide range of sports produce its own strongest and internationally competitive athletes. Bruneians are famous for their competence in unique Southeast Asian sports such as sepak takraw (rattan ball), Main Kikik (kite flying) and pencak silat (martial art). Brunei was officially admitted to the SEAP Games in 1977 which was since then known as SEA Games. In 1999 Brunei hosted the 20th Southeast Asian Games in Bandar Seri Begawan at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium. The 30th SEA Games will be hosted by Brunei in Bandar Seri Begawan in 2019 for the second time.

 Cambodia (Official: Kingdom of Cambodia)

Cambodia is situated on the Indochina mainland of Southeast Asia and bordered by Thailand (West & North West), Vietnam (East and Southeast) and Gulf of Thailand (Southwest). Cambodia lies amid important overland and river trade routes linking China to India and Southeast Asia. Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia and situated at the confluence of the Mekong, Basăk (Bassac), and Sab rivers. Cambodia experienced French colony, Japanese occupation, postwar independence, and political instability. Cambodia has suffered from devastation by Khmer Rouge, a rural communist guerrilla movement. The country finds its resilience by the Cambodian proverb, "Fear not the future, weep not for the past". National independence was attained in 1953 and Political Autonomy is eventually regained in 1990.

The majority of population is Khmer (Cambodian). Ethnic minorities compose of Chinese, Vietnamese, Muslim Cham-Malays, Laotians, and various indigenous peoples of the rural highlands. The Khmer language is spoken by nearly all people in Cambodia; Vietnamese, dialects of Chinese and Mon-khmer are also used in regional context. Theravada (Hinayana) Buddhism is mainly followed by majority of ethnic Khmer as Buddhism was officially recognized as the state religion of Cambodia until 1975, and it was restored as Cambodia’s state religion again in 1993. Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism, Muslim, Christianity are also popular among ethnic minorities.

The Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and a multiparty liberal democracy. The Royal Throne Council is vested with the authority to elect the Monarch among Royal descendants as head of State. The King appoints the Prime Minister to head the cabinet and the Prime Minister acts as the head of Government. King Norodom Sihamoni was selected to rule the Kingdom following the abdication of King Sihanouk in 2004.

Cambodia Economy relies mainly on agricultural and fishery sectors as rural inhabitants outnumber city dwellers. Tourism is a second greatest source of national revenue and benefited from the historical sites such as massive temple complexes, Angkor Wat and Bayon; and the imperial capital of Angkor Thom. Although per capita income of Cambodia stands among World’s lowest rank and remained as least-developed country, it has been rising recently. Cambodian Riel is the currency of the Kingdom.

Football/soccer, badminton, tennis, cycling, Khmer-kickboxing and golf are popular and widely played. Football and volleyball are by far, the most popular sports in the country. The Kingdom has its own sports such as traditional boat-racing, buffalo-racing, Pradal Serey (Khmer traditional wrestling) and Bokator or Lakokkatao (a type of Khmer martial art). Cambodia participated in the Olympic Games from 1956. Cambodia is also one of founding members of the SEA Games (formerly known as SEAP Games), however, did not compete in the inaugural SEAP Games. Cambodia will host the SEA Games in 2023 in Phnom Penh.

 Indonesia (Official Republic of Indonesia)

Indonesia is a sovereign state. It is identified as the largest country of South East Asia and the fourth-largest Asian country. Indonesia has land boundaries with Malaysia (on Borneo), Papua New Guinea (on New Guinea), and East Timor (on Timor). It is bounded by the South China Sea (to the north), the Pacific Ocean (to the north and east), and the Indian Ocean (to the south and west). The capital, Jakarta, is located near the northwestern coast of Java. It has splendid islands consisting Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Bali; and more than 100 active volcanoes. Indonesia underwent colonization by the Dutch (Netherlands) and Japanese occupation during World War II. As a result of struggle for independence since 1945, Indonesia gained the full recognition of its sovereignty from the Dutch in 1949.

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Indonesia population is mainly made up of Melanesian and Asian groups. The country consists of more than 300 different ethnic and linguistic groups. Javanese is the largest ethnic group and politically dominant group. Different islands have their own distinct characteristics in terms of religion, language and customs. Most of the population follow Islam and Christianity; Hindu and Buddhism are also practiced in the country. As Hindu and Buddhism were the first religions to enter the country, their influences are distinctly embedded in religious practices, in Bali for example. Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) is the national language.

The president is the head of state and the head of government, commander-in-chief of the Indonesian National Armed Forces, and the director of domestic governance, policy-making and foreign affairs. For the very first time, people directly voted for the President and the Vice President in the 2004 presidential election. Indonesia plays an active role in several international organizations such as ASEAN, OPEC and UN.

The country has abundant natural resources and substantial amount of the national revenue are from exporting the crude petroleum and the natural gas, rubber, coffee, cocoa, and palm oil. The country’s production extends to a wide range of other commodities, such as sugar, tea, tobacco, copra, and spices (e.g., cloves). Economic diversity can be found in the urban areas. The country’s currency is rupiah (Rp).Football is highly likely to be the most popular sport among Indonesians as football fields can be found across the country. Pencak silat (knives and sticks), sisemba (handless combat) and bull-racing are the traditional sports. Indonesians are also passionate about badminton and won a total of five medals at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Indonesia is formally admitted to the SEA Games (then SEAP) in 1977. 10th SEA Games was held in Jarkata, Indonesia in 1979, followed by the 14th in 1987 and the 19th in 1997, respectively. Indonesia also acted as a co-host in 2011 for the 26th SEA Games. It has won several medals in series of SEA Games.

 Laos (Official: Lao People's Democratic Republic)

Laos, a landlocked country of northeast-central mainland Southeast Asia, is bounded to the north by China, to the northeast and east by Vietnam, to the south by Cambodia, to the west by Thailand, and to the northwest by Myanmar (Burma). Vientiane (Lao: Viangchan), the capital of Laos, is located on the Mekong River in the northern portion of the country. Like many other South East Asian countries, Laos went through French colonization, Indochina wars and a civil war. It gained independence in 1945 and was granted autonomy in 1949. The establishment of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR) took place in 1975.

A wide diversity of ethnicities and languages can be found in Laos. Lao is regarded as the official language of country with various foreign languages used by the elites. French was once spoken by upper classes but replaced by English by the 1970s. Various peoples of Laos were officially grouped primarily by language and location into three main categories: Lao Loum (“Lowland Lao”), Lao Theung (“Lao of the Mountain Slopes”), and Lao Soung (“Lao of the Mountain Tops”). Lao Loum amount to two-third of population. Large portion of Laos practise the Buddhism while some two-fifths of the population, primarily the Lao Theung and Lao Soung groups, follow non-Buddhist indigenous religions.

Laos is one of the five remaining socialist (officially as communist) countries of the world. The president is the head of state and the General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party. The prime minister is the head of government and a senior member of the Politburo. The National Assembly elects the President and the Prime Minister from high-ranking party members. The National Assembly has the power to approve presidential appointments of the prime minister and members of the cabinet (Council of Ministers).

The economy of Laos primarily relies on agricultural sector. The agricultural sector in Laos constitutes cultivation of sweet potatoes, sugarcane, corn (maize), assorted vegetables and fruits in smaller quantities, and tobacco. Large volume of Coffee is also produced for export. As Laos has considerable mineral reserves, its income is drawn from tin, gold, copper and precious stones mining, gypsum production, granite and limestone extraction. However, market-oriented reforms were ushered into country in 1986 and the country economy shifted towards manufacturing such as food processing, sawmilling, the production of building materials, and the manufacture of a variety of light consumer goods. Garment production, largely for exports, has been expanding rapidly. Handicrafts are also an important component of Laos’s manufacturing sector.

Sports are an integral part of Laotians’ recreational life. A traditional game of field hockey and boat races are modernized, aiming to improve competency in global context. Football has increasingly gained popularity in the country. Laos has competed in the Summer Olympic Games since 1980. Laos is a founding member of SEA Games and hosted 25th SEA Games in 2009 in which it won a total of 110 medals including 33 gold medals.

 Malaysia (Official: Malaysia)

Malaysia, Federal Constitutional Monarchy, is composed of two noncontiguous regions: Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Malaysia Timur). Malaysia situated at the nexus of one of the major maritime trade routes of the world and has long been the meeting place for peoples from other parts of Asia. Land borders are shared with Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei; and maritime borders exist with Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines. Malaysia had been a subject to the British Empire from the 18th century. The Federation of Malaya was founded in 1948 and it achieved independence on 31 Aug 1957. The country’s title was changed to Malaysia with the unification of North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore in 1963. Two years later Singapore seceded in 1965. The Malaysian capital, Kuala Lampur, lies in the western part of the peninsula. Malaysia is a founding member of the Commonwealth, APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference), and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).

The population of Malaysia has great ethnographic complexity. Chinese, Indians, Sri Lankans, Sikhs and Pakistanis are ethnic minorities of Malaysia. The national language, a standardized Bahasa Malaysia (formerly Bahasa Melayu) is spoken to some degree by most communities, and it is the main medium of instruction in public primary and secondary schools. In terms of language, the population can be categorized into two groups: speakers of Dravidian languages (Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and others) and speakers of Indo-European languages (Punjabi, Bengali, Pashto and Sinhalese). About three-fifths of population practise Islam which is the official religion of Malaysia. Adherence to Islam distinguishes Malays from non-Malays as the Malays from Peninsular and East Malaysia are overwhelmingly Muslims. Non-Malays follow Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Hinduism and Sikhism.

The King is the head of state and the monarch is elected from the hereditary rulers of the nine Malay states every five years. The monarch appoints the ministers and members of the upper House on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The head of government is Prime Minister. Executive power is vested in the cabinet, led by the Prime Minister. The most recent parliamentary election took place in March 2008.

The country made and economic transformation in 1970 and the economic growth is fuelled by export-oriented manufacturing. In addition to the manufacturing industry, Malaysia produces and exports rubber, palm oil, petroleum, natural gas and commercial hardwoods. Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with GDP growing an average 6.5 per cent annually from 1957 to 2005. The Malaysian government is trying to promote tourism and export with establishment of free-trade zones. Manufacturing is the backbone of Malaysia’s economic growth. Malaysia currency is Ringgit (RM).

Popular sports in Malaysia include football, badminton, field hockey, bowls, tennis, squash, martial arts, horse riding, sailing and skate boarding. Silat (martial arts) and Tomoi (Malaysian kickboxing) are Malaysian traditional martial arts. Malaysian showed internationally competitiveness of badminton in Munich Olympics Games and won five medals. At the 1992 and 1996 Summer Games the country took medals in men’s badminton. Football is the most popular sport in Malaysia and Malaysia is studying the possibility of bidding as a joint host for 2034 FIFA World Cup. Malaysia hosted the 3rd and 10th Hockey World Cup; and the Commonwealth games in 1998. Malaysia is one of the founding members of SEA Games. Malaysia has hosted SEA games for five times to date.

 Myanmar (Official Republic of the Union of Myanmar)

Myanmar (Burma) is a sovereign state located in the western portion of mainland Southeast Asia bordered by China, Thailand, India, Laos and Bangladesh. Myanmar is the world's 40th largest country and the second largest in Southeast Asia. The British Empire colonized the Burma in the 19th Century and The country experienced Japanese occupation during World War II. Burma attained independence in 1948 and became a sovereign state since then. Nay Pyi Taw is the official capital city of Myanmar.

A total of 8 ethnic groups are officially recognized as indigenous national races and the largest group is Burmese amounting to more than half of the population. The remaining groups are Kachin, Karen, Kayah, Chin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. Small but significant portion of the population accounts for Chinese and Indian communities. All of the ethnic groups and almost all of sub-ethnic groups have their own languages and are used in local context. The official language is Burmese, spoken by the Burmese and used by non-Burmese races as a second language. English was once the official language during British colonial period and is still widely used in commerce and tourism. Buddhism is proclaimed religion of the State and practiced by most of the people. Christianity, Hindu and Islam are also followed by the significant proportion of country’s population.

The 2008 Constitution was approved in May and came into effect since January 2011. Elections for the new Parliament was held in November 2010. The president is elected by members of the House of Representatives. The president is vested with the Executive authority and heads the Cabinet. Legislative authority rests with the Parliament.

In terms of economy, the country still relies heavily on the agricultural sector. Export of natural gas, timber and petroleum; and foreign-invested mining has significantly increased. Myanmar is rich in minerals, including metal ores, petroleum, and natural gas, and also has significant deposits of precious and semiprecious stones. Manufacturing is up and coming industry. The national currency of Myanmar is Kyat.

The Lethwei, Bando, Banshay and Pongyi Thaing are traditional martial arts; and Chinlone (rattan ball) is one of the national sports. Myanmar is a founding member of the SEA Games and previously hosted the 2nd SEA Games event in 1961 and the 5th event in 1969. After being absent for 44 years, Myanmar is designated to be a host for upcoming 2013 SEA Games and games are scheduled to be held in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Mandalay.

 Philippines (Official Republic of the Philippines)

The Philippines is a sovereign island country of Southeast Asia and located on Pacific Ring of Fire. It is bordered by Taiwan, Vietnam, and island of Borneo. It was under Spanish rule for 333 years and under U.S. tutelage for a further 48 years. On July 4, 1946, the Philippines attained its independence. It underwent political turmoil in late 20th Century. Its capital city, Manila is located on Luzon, the largest island.

Nearly 100 culturally and linguistically distinct ethnic groups make up of contemporary Filipino society. One-fifth of country population is divided into Tagalog and Cebuano, the largest groups. Ilocano and Hiligaynon account for one-tenth of the population each. A combination of Waray-waray and bicol account for one-tenth of population; the rest are indigenous and immigrant population. More than 150 languages and dialects are used and they are closely related. The national language of the Philippines, Pilipino (also called Filipino), is based on Tagalog, the most widespread language of central Philippines. English is the official language and used as a medium of instruction. Nearly four-fifth of the Filipinos are Roman Catholics. Contemporary Muslim Filipino communities, collectively known as Moros, are limited to the southern islands and account for about 5 percent of the population. Some Filipinos profess Buddhism and local indigenous religion.

The Philippines is a constitutional republic with a presidential system. Restoration of a democratic government to the Philippines was brought about by the People Power Revolution. The President functions as both head of the state and head of government, and also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president, the head of state, can be elected to only a single six-year term and the vice president to two consecutive six-year terms. The president appoints the Cabinet, which consists of the heads of the various ministries. The Philippines is endowed with natural resources and famous for biodiversity. The country’s primary minerals are copper and gold; iron ore, lead, zinc, chromite are also drawn from major deposits. The Philippines initiated manufacturing industry in the 20th Century. Major manufacturing products include electronics components, garments and textile, processed foods and beverages, chemicals, and petroleum products. The Philippines is still largely an agricultural country. Primary agriculture products of the Philippines are sugarcane, rice, coconuts, bananas, corn (maize), and pineapples. Especially toward the end of the 20th century, rapid industrial expansion was spurred by a high degree of domestic and foreign investments. The Philippines’ currency is Peso.

Basketball, boxing, cockfighting, volleyball, football, badminton, karate, taekwondo, billiards, ten-pin bowling, chess and sipa are the Filipinos’ favorite sports. Motocross, cycling and mountaineering are also becoming popular. Above all, the most popular sport is Basketball and played at both amateur and professional levels. The Philippines is the first Southeast Asian nation to compete and won medals in Summer Olympic Games, and it is also the first tropical nation to compete at the Winter Olympics. Luksung Baka, Patintero, Piko, Tumbang Preso and Sungka are the Philippines’ traditional games. The Philippines was admitted to the SEA Games in 1977. The Philippines was a host country for series of 1981, 1991 and 2005 SEA Games in Manila. The second event (1991 SEA Games) was recorded as the only SEA Games where the overall championship was heavily contested which were decided by the last sport, women’s marathon. The third time was remarkably noted for having the most number of delegates in the history of the SEA Games and accordingly, it was the first time that the opening and closing ceremonies were held in a large open field.

 Singapore (Official Republic of Singapore)

Singapore is a city-state located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. It consists of the diamond-shaped Singapore Island and over 60 much smaller islets. Geographically, Straits of Johor separated Singapore from Malaysia and Singapore Strait separated Singapore from Indonesia. Singapore united with other former British territories to form Malaysia in 1963. It seceded from Malaysia two years later and became an independence state. Singapore is a founding member of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).

Predominant Chinese ethnic account for 75% of the population and is the largest group followed by Malays and Indians, respectively. English is the most used language among all other official languages such as Mandarin Chinese, Malay and Tamil. The largest group, Chinese, practice Confucianism, Buddhism, or Taoism; some Chinese adherence to Christianity; and most of the Malays and the Indians follow Islam. There are also many Singaporeans who have no religious affiliation.

Singapore is a Parliamentary Republic. The President and the Prime Minister head the Cabinet which has the executive authority. The President is elected by a popular vote and has some veto power over key decisions. Legislative body of government is represented by the Parliament. Members of Parliament (MPs) consist of elected, non-constituency and nominated members. As Singapore is heavily urbanized, it is the world's fourth-leading financial center. It has, by far, the largest port in Southeast Asia which is one of the five busiest ports in the World. Singapore has enjoyed a remarkable economic growth and diversification since 1960. Singapore has the most advanced economy in Southeast Asia. The economy depends heavily on refining imported goods, especially in manufacturing, which constituted 26% of Singapore's GDP in 2005. In terms of Purchasing Power Parity, Singapore has the third-highest per capita income in the world.

Popular sports include football, basketball, cricket, swimming, sailing, table tennis and badminton. Water sports are popular which include sailing, kayaking, water skiing and scuba diving. Singapore also hosted the inaugural 2010 Summer Youth Olympics. A round of the Formula One (F1) World Championship, the Singapore Grand Prix was held in Singapore in 2008. It was the inaugural F1 night race and the first street circuit in Asia. Singapore started hosting the SEAP Games in 1973 and again in 1983 and in 1993. Singapore suggested the name alteration in the 5th edition of SEAP Games held in Yangon. In 1977, the title of SEAP Games was changed to SEA Games to reflect the expansion and the inclusion of Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines. Singapore will be hosting the 28th SEA Games in 2015.

 Thailand (Official: Kingdom of Thailand)

Thailand is located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by Burma (to the north), Laos (to the north and east), Cambodia (to the east) and Malaysia (to the south). Thailand is the only Southeast Asian nation that was not under a colonial rule. Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and metropolitan area of the country.

The country population consists of people with diverse cultural, linguistic, and religious backgrounds. Thailand owns the characteristics of most Southeast Asian countries in terms of ethnic diversity. 75 percent of the population represents Thai and 14 percentages of that are Thai-Chinese. Malay ethnic account for 3 percentage and the other ethnic minorities make up the rest. 95% of the population practices Buddhism which is the primary religion of the country. A large portion of population in southern part are devoted to Islam. The country’s official language is Thai. The largest of the indigenous minorities speaks Malay while other speaks Mon and Khmer. In addition, English is widely used in Thailand for commercial and many official purposes.

The country is a Constitutional Monarchy. House of Chakri, the world’s longest-serving head of state and longest-reigning monarch in Thai history, has reigned since 1946. The ruling King Rama IX acceded to the throne. The king of Thailand is the head of State, head of the Armed Forces, adherent of Buddhism, and upholder of religions. All legislative powers are vested within the person of the monarch. The Prime Minister is the head of government. The seated Prime Minister is Yingluck Shinawatra who won the general election by a landslide in 2011.

Thailand is the 4th richest nation in Southeast Asia. It is classified as the 2nd largest economy in Southeast Asia. It is dynamic and heavily export-dependent economy. Thailand is presently a newly industrialized country and a major exporter. Even agricultural is transformed into a more industrialized and competitive sector. Tourism also contribute significantly to the Thai economy. Major exports of Thailand include Thai Rice, textiles and footwear, fishery products, rubber, jewelry, cars, computers and electrical appliances. Thailand’s currency is Baht.

Thai Boxing (called Muai Thai), a native form of kickboxing, is Thailand's national sport. Thailand gained medals in boxing at the Olympics Games. Takraw (woven rattan ball), Sepak takraw and Buka Ball are also sports native to Thailand. Popularity of Basketball among Thais has increased especially on the professional sports club level. The Chang Thailand Slammers won the 2011 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Basketball League Championship. Thailand became the first country in the world to host an international 80 kg welterweight rugby tournament in 2005. Thailand, promoted as the Golf Capital of Asia, attracts international golfers and became a popular destination. The then Vice-President of the Thailand Olympic Committee, Luang Sukhumnaipradit, proposed the concept of the SEAP Games. The first edition of SEAP Games was held in Bangkok, Thailand in 1959. It has been 6 times for Thailand to have hosted SEA Games, one of which was held in non-capital city (Chiang Mai) for the very first time in its history.

 Timor-Leste (Official: Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste)

Timor-Leste comprises of the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesia West Timor. Portuguese, Spain, Dutch and British governed the region successively. Timor-Leste was occupied by the Japanese in Second World War and was once again colonialized by the Portuguese. It was invaded by Indonesia after brief independence in late 1975. Timor-Leste restored absolute independence on May 20, 2002 and became the 1st sovereign state of the 21st Century. Timor-Leste became a member of the UN and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries immediately after independence. Dili is the capital and largest city of Timor-Leste.

Native East Timorese consist of a number of distinct ethnic groups, most of whom are of mixed Malayo-Polynesian and Melanesian/Papuan descent. Although many left in the mid-1970s, Chinese still remains as a small minority group. Christianity is the primary religion practiced by the largest portion of the population, followed by Muslims and those with no religions. Portuguese and Tetum are official languages; the latter belongs to the Austronesian family of languages spoken throughout Southeast Asia. Indonesian and English are defined as working languages.

The President is the head of state of Timor-Leste and elected by popular vote. The President has a veto power over certain types of legislation. The leader of the ruling party or majority coalition is appointed by the President as the Prime Minister and presides over cabinet (the Council of state). The Prime Minister acts as the head of government. MPs(Members of Parliament) of Timor-Leste National Parliament are elected by popular vote.

The country’s economy is currently dependent upon export of crude oil, petroleum gases and coffee. Timor-Leste is the supplier of the World’s famous Starbucks. US Dollars, USD, is used as the country’s currency.Timor-Leste was admitted as the newest member in 22nd SEA Games. Timor-Leste athletes competed in the 2003 Southeast Asian Games held in Vietnam and won a total of 14 medals in games.

 Vietnam (Official: Socialist Republic of Vietnam)

Vietnam is a country occupying the eastern portion of mainland Southeast Asia and it is the eighth-most-populous Asian country. Like most of the Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam experienced Chinese invasion, French colonization and Japanese Occupation. Reunification of South and North Vietnam was made in 1976. Hanoi since has been a capital of Vietnam. Vietnam is a member of World Trade Organization.

Generally, Vietnamese ethnic group has inhabited the lowlands while smaller ethnic minorities have lived in highlands. In cultural and linguistic context, it has seen most distinct characteristics of ethnic minorities which is differ from those of Vietnamese. The dominant Viet or Kinh ethnic group make up the largest portion of population. Vietnam has been home to 54 ethnic minority groups. Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam. The largest of the northern highland groups speak languages belonging to the Tai Language family. Almost all people of Vietnam share religious belief to some extent in Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and some other indigenous religions.

The President of Vietnam is the head of state and the commander-in-chief of the military, serving as the Chairman of the Council of Supreme Defense and Security. The Vice-president is nominated by the President and approved by the National Assembly. The Prime Minister of Vietnam is the head of government, presiding over a council of ministers composed of three deputy prime ministers and the heads of 26 ministries and commissions.

Although Vietnam is a single-party communist state, it has practiced Capitalist economy and enjoyed the economics growth. Its literate and energetic people are major contributing factor to the country’s economy. Tourism, manufacturing and exports industries are increasing, followed by a rapid and dramatic GDP growth. Vietnam has large reserves of anthracite coal, lime, phosphates, iron ore, barite, chromium ore, tin, zinc, lead, and gold. Manufacturing, Information Technology and high-tech industries has been growing recently. 2011 output of 318,000 barrels per day made Vietnam the third-largest oil producer in Southeast Asia. The country’s currency is Dong.

The Vovinam and Bình Ðịnh (martial arts) are widespread in Vietnam. Soccer is the country's most popular team sport. Badminton, Tennis, volleyball, Ping-Pong and chess have gained popularity in the country. Contemporarily, the most popular sport in Vietnam is Football (soccer). Vietnamese athletes are internationally competent in swimming and water sports, rowing and canoeing, weightlifting, table tennis, track and in Wushu, karate and tae kwon do. Vietnam achieved its first Olympic medal in women’s tae kwon do at the 2000 Summer Games. Vietnam’s women’s team has been a formidable competitor of sepak takraw (rattan ball) at the Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games. Vietnam is the founding member of SEA Games. The 2003 SEA Games was held in Vietnam and it was the first time in SEAG history that the game venues were assigned into two cities namely Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.