Charles Santiago is a Malaysian Member of Parliament representing the constituency of Klang and Chairperson of Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights.
In 2017, upon becoming the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern acknowledged there will be "good days and bad days". She did well on the good days -- a young leader who was compassionate when needed and gutsy when the situation called for it. But she has done even better in the dark days, following the March 15 shooting in Christchurch that killed at least 50 people.
On Sept 6, heads of state from around the world will gather in Vientiane, Laos, for the year's only Asean Summit. The high-profile meeting should be a chance for the Lao government, as hosts, to showcase its regional leadership potential. But don't expect a spectacle of economic, social or environmental innovation. The only thing on display will be the communist government's unflinching commitment to authoritarianism at all costs -- something that neighbouring governments seem ever eager to emulate.