Azerbaijan Dance

Azerbaijan’s 103 Years Celebration

Hi ASEANers! Have you ever heard about Azerbaijan before? In commemoration of 103 years of the founding of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic on May 28 this year, through this article, we will take you to travel virtually and share more information about this beautiful country.

Azerbaijan is a country located in the South Caucasus region. With Baku as its Capital city, the country covers an area of 86,600 km2. Geographically, it borders with the Russian Federation in the North, the Islamic Republic of Iran in the South, Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia in the West, and through the Caspian Sea on Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in the East. If we look at the world map, Azerbaijan is located at the junction of Europe and Asia and the Southeast part of the South Caucasus. However, probably not many people, particularly in ASEAN countries know about Azerbaijan. This is understandable considering the fact that both are separated by huge geographical distances.

Although geographically separated, ASEAN and Azerbaijan have started to work closely and enhance relations with each other. In June 2012, ASEAN welcomed H.E. Mr. Tamerlan Karayev, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Azerbaijan to ASEAN (the First Official Ambassador of Azerbaijan to ASEAN). In his first time serving in ASEAN, Ambassador Karayev underlined the commitment of the Republic of Azerbaijan to pursuing closer cooperation with ASEAN, where he introduced some potential cooperation areas such as historical education, musical and cultural exchanges, oil explorations, agricultural exports, tourism, and investment.

Going further after almost a decade, H.E. Jalal Mirzayev, the current Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to ASEAN also re-emphasized Azerbaijan’s commitment to open more rooms for cooperation with ASEAN countries in some potential sectors, such as energy, defense industry, trade and investment, tourism, infrastructure and technology, as well as cooperation in socio-cultural aspects. Therefore, to enhance relations as well as cooperation between Azerbaijan and ASEAN, we have to first understand and identify potentials and challenges between both entities. In this article, we try to understand both Azerbaijan and ASEAN Countries potentials for cooperation through several similarities they have.

At least, there are four similarities that Azerbaijan and ASEAN have that will be further elaborated in this article. First, Azerbaijan is a country with diverse ethnicities. This is because Azerbaijan is located between Asia and Europe, where it has become a bridge for Eastern and Western civilizations. Thus, Azerbaijan becomes home to more than 15 ethnic groups, quite a large number considering that this country only has a total population of around 10.2 million inhabitants. Some of these ethnic groups include Azerbaijani (92% of the population), Lezgin (2% of the population), Russian (1% of the population), Talyshi (1% of the population), and other ethnic groups (2%. of the population). Although the majority ethnicity in the country is Azerbaijani, inter-ethnic harmony is preserved. It’s similar to ASEAN member states which also have ethnic diversity in each country. In this regard, Azerbaijan and ASEAN countries share similarities in ethnic diversity and the spirit to maintain inter-ethnic harmony and peace.

The second similarity comes from the terms of religious diversity. Azerbaijan is a country with a majority of Muslim population, where it is also a home to Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and other religions. In ASEAN, each country also has religious diversity, although we can also see several religious groups become the majority. However, this does not become a barrier to coexistence among religious communities. Therefore, with its uniqueness, Azerbaijan is also known as “The Land of Religious Tolerance”. Since its establishment, Azerbaijan has never experienced a single religious conflict among the three major religions, namely Islam, Judaism, and Christian.

Third, similar to some ASEAN countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, Azerbaijan is also famous for its rich natural resources. The country is also known to have large reserves of oil (ranked 20th globally) and natural gas (ranked 25th globally), where it contributes to 0.4 percent of world oil reserves with around 7 billion barrels and 35 trillion cubic feet of total natural gas. Vast reserve oil and natural gas in Azerbaijan have been well known since ancient times. Records of the Byzantine empire in the 5th century even mention that ever-burning fires could be seen all over the lands and mountains of Azerbaijan. It occurs because the endless supplies of underground gas sometimes reach the surface and trigger the flames that will burn for as long as the gas supply remains. Until now, we can still see the eternal fire burning on the soil of Azerbaijan. Two places that can be visited to see the eternal fire are Yanar Dagh Mountain and Ateshgah Fire Temple, located in Baku City. Therefore, no wonder that Azerbaijan is also famous as ‘The Land of Fire’.

Fourth, Azerbaijan and ASEAN countries are alike in terms of attractive tourist destination spots. Tourist destination spots in Azerbaijan are diverse, ranging from natural, cultural or ancient civilizations to modern attractions. Baku City, for example, will spoil your eyes with beautifully blended architectural styles from ancient Azerbaijan civilization with modern styles of architecture. You will be amazed with the beauty of the Flame Towers, a trio of skyscrapers representing the spirit of the Land of Fire. The Old City of Baku is one of the most famous places recognized by UNESCO as the World Heritage Site. Moreover, you can find yourself entertained by the Formula 1 Grand Prix at certain times when visiting Baku. As mentioned earlier, tourists can visit natural attractions of Azerbaijan by visiting the Caspian Sea, Quba area, or, the beauty of Great Caucasus Mountains, Tenghi Canyon, and waterfalls.

Azerbaijan Scenery Baku City
Khinaliq Village Mountain in Quba

Finally, the ASEAN Youth Organization would like to wish a very Happy Azerbaijan National Day! May Azerbaijan always be peaceful and prosper. We hope that the relations and cooperation between Azerbaijan and ASEAN member states can improve and get stronger in the future!

Writing note showing Life Skills. Business concept for skill that is necessary for full participation in everyday life Clipboard sheet calculator pencil clock smartphone color background

Life Skills to Learn in Your 20s

Your 20s are the prime time of your life. Brimming with idealism and youthful exuberance, you feel ready to change the world or take on whatever challenges come your way. After more than a decade of formal education, you are all set to embark on your career and perhaps settle down and start a family.

For some, the transition from adolescence to adulthood is fraught with uncertainty, confusion, and even fear. Society expects you to live like a fully functioning adult – to earn your keep, be successful, be a productive member of your community, and so on. Yet, deep down, you may still feel like you are no different than when you were 18.

If you are feeling lost in your 20s, you are not alone. It is okay if you are still figuring your way in your 20s. Age does not provide all answers; it provides perspectives.

Here are five life skills we think people in their 20s should learn to navigate the adulting journey better.

Willam Tanuwijaya

William Tanuwijaya – “Dream as high as the sky so that if you fall it’s still among the stars “

William Tanuwijaya, a name that most millennials look up to. His product, Tokopedia, has empowered  10 million entrepreneurs so far and served more than 100 million monthly active users across Indonesia. Despite being born to an ordinary family, his dream was not ordinary at all. Not only did he successfully build one of the biggest e-commerce companies in Southeast Asia, but William has also helped many other businesses grow and gave space to many new entrepreneurs in the growing startup market.

Tokopedia has a mission to democratize commerce through technology. Its vision is to build a Super Ecosystem where anyone can start and discover anything. To this day, Tokopedia has empowered millions of merchants and users across the marketplace and digital goods, financial technology, and payment, logistics, and fulfillment.

The Early Days

Despite his recent success, his early life was not so easy. Born in Pematang Siantar, North Sumatera, on November 18, 1981, he decided to pursue higher education in Jakarta, Indonesia, leaving all of his memories behind in Pematang Siantar to get a better education and fight for a better future for him and his family.

William was not your typical startup founder who graduated from Stanford, Harvard, or any Ivy League university. He took an undergraduate at Bina Nusantara University (BINUS), majoring in computer science. His four-year journey on campus was not easy. In his second year, he had to take up a part-time job in order to support his father, who fell sick and needed medical treatment. His first job was as a computer operator at an internet cafe, monitoring and maintaining the internet cafe’s computers and systems. No one saw how his first job would be the first baby step into the digital world he would come to dominate. 

Journey of Life

After he graduated, William worked in several big IT companies in Jakarta before thinking about his next big idea. Listening to problems is how a startup company is made – in order to find an innovative solution. William often heard issues related to scams on the internet that his close relatives were experiencing. Because of this, on February 6, 2009, Tokopedia was born.

Willam, with his close friend, Leontinus Alpha Edison, started to develop Tokopedia.com. It needed more than six months since the initial founding to launch the website platform. But in 2010, the world was not used to startup companies yet. Luckily, Tokopedia got funding from several of Willam’s close connections, such as the boss from his former workplace and other small investors. 

With all of the limitations, William Tanuwijaya’s mission and effort to grow Tokopedia to the next level paid off as the Indonesian company got more funding from the big league, such as East Ventures in 2010, and Softbank in 2013. This budget gave William an enormous amount of Indonesia’s biggest e-commerce companies’ capital to grow and later on being one of the biggest e-commerce companies in Indonesia alongside Shopee, BukaLapak, and Lazada. 

Every day it’s easy for us to find 1001 reasons for “can’t”, but the truth is, we only need one reason to be able to. When we wanted to start Tokopedia, the biggest challenge was about building trust. Even at one point, I met an investor and he gave me a piece of advice, “don’t be too grandiose about our dream” – at that point, I met my purpose in life. The past cannot be changed, but the future is in our own hands.

I remember Soekarno Hatta (Founding Father of Indonesia) gave a speech, “Dream as high as the sky so that if you fall it’s still among the stars” It has not been 100 years since we were independent, it will be very sad if we lost our freedom to dream.

– William Tanuwijaya

Tokopedia Today

Tokopedia’s 8th Anniversary (2017), Announcing US$1,1B new funding. 

Today, Tokopedia is on the top ladder of Indonesian e-commerce platforms alongside Shopee. Their future is quite promising with giant funding across the world to the point where Tokopedia has crowned a unicorn startup company with US$2,8 billion funding as of right now, backed by 13 huge investors, including Google, Alibaba, SoftBank, and Sequoia. Tokopedia has created more than 5000 jobs across all of Indonesia, naming its employees “Nakama”.

Other than that, Tokopedia has collaborated with BTS and Blackpink,  two of the top figures in the Korean entertainment industry at the same time. 


Written by Juandi

Juandi is a content writer for ASEAN Youth Organization, where he publishes content related to ASEAN country’s relations and events. He was born in the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, and has lived most of his life there. At 20 years old, he is currently studying at one of Indonesia’s top universities, Tarumanagara University, majoring in Business Accounting. He is currently working for one of the top esports startup companies in Singapore, IMPLS Entertainment.


Yu Young Jin

Yu Young Jin on International Women’s Day: “Many incredible women deserve to be recognized.”

Charli is one of the few who decided to make a bold move into the world of journalism. She was the former reporter at Asian Boss, a channel covering all kinds of conflicts, stories, bringing people’s voices together and bridging cultural gaps between Asia and the West.

We sat down with Yu Young Jin (Charli) and talked about her past as a Korean-Canadian who moved to Canada, and later worked in several Korean companies in the media industry. Other than that, she expressed her view on international women’s day and gender equality these days.


ASEANYouth: Can you tell a little bit more about yourself?

Charli: I’m currently a graduate journalism student at Northwestern University. 

ASEANYouth: Tell us more about your childhood, and did your family have a journalism/media background?

Charli: I moved to the US when I was three years old and spent my childhood there. When I was nine, I moved to Canada. My father studies media, so my career interests sort of followed his. He’s been a great inspiration to me in pursuing my dreams. 

ASEANYouth: Does journalism have been something that you always want to do?

Charli: Yes, I’ve always been interested in journalism. I loved to write as a kid and took a notebook and pen with me everywhere I went. I started writing for my high school paper, and naturally, that passion grew into what it is now. I love to write and learn about people. Journalism was the perfect way to combine my interests. I’m finding out new things about the world every day. 

ASEANYouth: Back to your college life in UC Berkeley, as a Korean who pursue college in the US, how does that shape you into becoming who you are right now? 

 Charli: I loved my time at UC Berkeley. There were people from all walks of life with diverse backgrounds, and it made me realize that the world was so much larger than I had known. I think my time made me love learning about different cultures and industries, and I think it was a large stepping stone for my personal growth and maturity as a young adult. 

One of Charli’s work at Asian Boss
(Source: Youtube)

ASEANYouth: Walk us through your first intern experience, Is there any moment that you remember until today? 

Charli: I remember at my interview, my boss told me that he liked my creativity from my portfolio and resume. I had never thought of myself as creative, and now that I think about it, that interview gave me a lot of confidence to write or create stories in my own unique voice rather than trying to copy someone else. 

ASEANYouth: How about your time in The Korea Times? How did it feel to be a part of one of the oldest newsletters in South Korea? What do you remember from your time in The Korea Times?

Charli: I interned at The Korea Times throughout my last year of college. I absolutely loved my experience there. It was the first time I felt like an official journalist, and to know that I was contributing to a larger community was so rewarding. I had a wonderful boss who gave me a lot of creative control over my stories and I consider her as one of my most respected mentors. The Korea Times was my first experience in a traditional newsroom and I had such a great time there, it never felt like work. I was always so excited to be there.  

ASEANYouth: How’s working in Asian Boss? Tell us more about your current position and the work there.

Charli: I actually don’t work at Asian Boss anymore; I officially stopped working there in January to focus on my graduate school studies. But I worked as a writer and reporter for a year, and it was a great eye-opening experience. It was my first time working for a video-based media company, so I got to learn an entirely new set of skills. Everyone worked extremely hard, and each video was a team effort.

ASEANYouth: If you can turn back the time, what skills do you want to learn sooner? And why?

Charli: I would like to learn more about camera work. I know the basics, but am not confident yet to shoot a documentary by myself. I realized that learning to operate a camera is extremely useful in today’s media environment, and it would have been nice to know more about it. 

ASEANYouth: Do you feel that the current society has a gender equality mindset? 

Charli: I think that while there has been significant progress in identifying gender inequality in today’s society, there is still much work to be done. Unfortunately, change takes a long time, and I think we’re still transitioning to become more educated on this issue. I am hopeful, though, that if enough people share their experiences dealing with inequality or discrimination (not just relating to gender but also race, religion, sexual identity, etc.), then there will be enough momentum to stimulate progress. 

ASEANYouth: Is there anything you want to say about International Women’s Day?

Charli: I am all about supporting women in their endeavors and hope that women all over the world will feel empowered on this day. There are so many incredible women doing outstanding work, and they all deserve to be recognized. 

ASEANYouth: How do you maintain the motivation to continue your journalism work?

Charli: Like any career, journalism has its obstacles. But knowing that I can share people’s stories and use my voice to shed light on issues, I’m passionate about has kept me motivated. It’s an honor to have a platform and voice to spread awareness to a broad audience. Not everybody has that.

ASEANYouth: What is something that has always been your principal in creating high-quality content across your work? 

Charli: People are affected and influenced by what they see on the news or in the media. I would never want to spread fake or unsupported facts and give people the wrong information. I think that this helps me take responsibility in making sure I do my research and produce high-quality content. 

ASEANYouth: With these experiences, is there something you want to say to everyone who is currently pursuing a journalism career or chasing their dreams?

Charli: It takes a lot of work and a little bit of luck (for journalism and other career paths). But if you’re doing it for the right reasons, then you’ll find a way to make it work. Take every obstacle as an opportunity to grow or learn something new, and have the confidence in yourself to take risks and go for what you want. 


Interview conducted by Juandi

Juandi is a content writer for ASEAN Youth Organization, where he publishes content related to ASEAN country’s relations and events. He was born in the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, and has lived most of his life there. At 20 years old, he is currently studying at one of Indonesia’s top universities, Tarumanagara University, majoring in Business Accounting. He is currently working for one of the top esports startup companies in Singapore, IMPLS Entertainment.


10000 hours

Do you really need 10,000 hours to be good at something?

“If you really want to be good at something, it will take 10,000 hours to master those skills.”

In line with Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour theory, Bill Gates did 10,000 hours of coding sessions before establishing Microsoft. The Beatles played for 10,000 hours in small bars across the country before they were famous. But the real question that no one is asking is – how much of an expert do you truly need to be?

From a largely unknown music band to a world-famous ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’-worthy pop group, it may take The Beatles 10,000 hours. But is 10,000 hours really necessary?

Let’s take an example: playing the guitar. It certainly does not need more than 10,000 hours to learn to play “Jason Mraz – I’m Yours” with four chords. In fact, many pop songs use the same four chords.

In short, you do not need 10,000 hours to be good at something.

1. The first reason for misconception is that people tend to give up easily. Research shows that someone with zero knowledge can learn the guitar’s four chords in just around 20 hours of practice. The biggest limitation is not time or intelligence level – but psychology. Many people give up before taking the first step of their journey.

It’s true that the length of time actually required will range from person to person. Research shows that in the chess world, to claim the Master’s status, some people need only 728 hours, but others will need more than 16,120 hours to do the same thing. Research shows that many variables can affect how fast a person can absorb knowledge, such as gen factor, talent, and selecting the best learning method.

Therefore it’s not about the quantity of hours but the quality.

2. The second misconception is to study for 10,000 or more without learning from your mistakes. People who do not take feedback seriously and improve on it = 10,000 hours of wrongdoing = becoming an expert of misconduct.

So to conclude, 10,000 hours is just a number – nothing more. To become good at something, don’t get intimidated by the number of hours of practice you have to put in. Focus on deliberate practice: learning from your mistakes and being intentional with how you improve. Find shortcuts or ways to simplify the task (such as learning the four main guitar chords to play many songs). And soon enough, you’ll have mastered the skill of your dreams 😉 


Written by Juandi

Juandi is a content writer for ASEAN Youth Organization, where he publishes content related to ASEAN country’s relations and events. He was born in the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, and has lived most of his life there. At 20 years old, he is currently studying at one of Indonesia’s top universities, Tarumanagara University, majoring in Business Accounting. He is currently working for one of the top esports startup companies in Singapore, IMPLS Entertainment.