Prime minister of New Zealand speaking about Work-Life Balance‘s progress in World Economic Forum 2019

Malaysia:  The state of Selangor has introduced “Work From Home” scheme for women in Selangor.

The taboo for women to speak about going out to work but at the same time fight to care for their babies and children is finally over!

The ASEAN WLB Conference in 2016 produced four proceedings which contained recommendations from 2.3 million grassroot voices gathered during the 2015-2016 project. We urged ASEAN governments to implement ‘smart cities’ for citizen’s overall health to achieve work-life balance.  Without clean air, safe travels, green space for relaxation and physical activities, efficient transport and promotion of telework or tele-trading to reduce traffic congestions, city dwellers won’t be able to enjoy work-life balance in full.  Since then, ASEAN has made a lot of achievements under Singapore’s Chairmanship in 2018. Among the highlights is Establishing the ASEAN Smart Cities Network – a platform for cities across ASEAN to tackle urban challenges together, finding innovative digital and technological solutions to improve our peoples’ lives.

Read more about highlights from Singapore’s 2018 ASEAN Chairmanship:

A key concern from the ASEAN WLB  Project 2015-2016 was for the migrant workers as they lack time to be with their families besides safety and legal right to assure their well-being in other countries. Migrant workers contribute to social and economic development in ASEAN. In December 2018, ASEAN launched the Safe Migration Campaign to raise public awareness on safe migration, showcasing high-level support from ASEAN community in protecting and promoting the rights of migrant workers. See the concept video:

One of the barriers to women achieving work-life balance is gender-based violence. In November 2018, ASEAN countries join hands in commemorating the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Themed “Orange the World, #HearMeToo”, this campaign continues the efforts to end violence against women and girls as guided by the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence against Women (, among others.

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a grave violation of human rights and, despite great efforts and commitments, remains a challenge in ASEAN. According to national prevalence studies conducted in 8 ASEAN Member States, the proportion of women who experienced intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence ranges from 2 to 44% across the region.

VAWG affects not only women, but children, families, communities, workplaces, and the wider society. Violence against women impedes human development and the achievement of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Women and girls are also facing the risk of psychological, physical and/or sexual violence by non-partners, ranging from family members to strangers. Research also showed that girls who experience sexual violence in childhood and adolescence are at increased risk of experiencing sexual violence in adulthood. (ASEAN Regional Guidelines on Violence against Women and Girls Data Collection and Use, 2018,

Ensuring seamless travel will increase ASEAN’s attractiveness as a single tourist destination. Travelling in ASEAN, meeting people, enjoying the cultures, foods and sceneries shall be a part of leisure for many in ASEAN soon. ASEAN visitors are expected to reach 187 million by 2030.

But, connectivity #PeopleMobility goes beyond travel and tourism. Connectivity also helps economic growth when trading become more efficient, so less costly to consumers. ASEAN promotes the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 through a workshop organised by the Cambodian government in Siem Reap on 19-20 November 2018. The workshop aimed to support the implementation of common priorities in MPAC 2025 and to promote closer coordination, cooperation and partnership among relevant stakeholders.

On 15 November 2018, Singapore symbolically handed over the ASEAN Chairmanship to Thailand. As the Chair for 2019, Thailand has adopted the theme “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”. The Chairmanship launching video for Thailand Nv 2028 to Nov 2019:  

One of the key issues ASEAN will  focus on is the ‘Safe Migration ASEAN Campagne’ as there are now 7 million migrant workers within ASEAN.  Our 2016 ASEAN Work Life Balance Conference proceedings recommended safety and well-being policies for migrants as we believe that they deserve to achieve work-life balance even though they can’t live at home with their families. Our ‘Internet for ASEAN’ campagne during the 2015-2016 Work-Life Balance Project raised the hopes of 2.3 million grassroot people who wanted better, cheaper and more accessible internet.

Together, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam produced a total of 2.4 million tons of durian in 2017. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, Thailand and Indonesia produced 840,000 tons and 860,000 tons of durian respectively, and if combined, they accounted for approximately 70% of world durian production. This is WORK-LIFE Balance!!! Yum, yum!