Vietnam hopes the Australian House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Anna Burke will pave the way for Australian businesses to pour investment into Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City in particular.
Light up the sky: The colourful opening ceremony with fireworks, music and dancing was held yesterday in Palembang City which will also host the closing ceremony 11 days later. — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Nhut
The ceremony began with a show of folk activities of Indonesians under colourful laser lighting. About 100 children and 3,500 young people dressed in traditional costumes staged the show. Songs such as Sriwijaya – Golden Penninsula and Reach of the Dreams were performed by stars Agnes Monica of Indonesia, KC Conception of the Philippines and Jacklyn Victor of Malaysia.
Sports delegations and flags of participating nations were paraded on boat-shaped vehicles, each carrying a typical image of each nation.
Malaysian athletes came out with a replica of Petronas Twin Towers, the symbol of the country. The towers were once the world's tallest. Thailand came in with their golden pagoda, Cambodia with an Angkor Wat temple replica and Viet Nam with Buddha seated stately on a lotus throne with a replica of Hue's Thien Mu Pagoda.
Olympic 1992 badminton champion Susi Susanti of Indonesia performed the ritual of lighting the flame by spectacularly flying on a trapeze 100m along the stage.
Vietnamese athletes delegation parades in the SEA Game's opening ceremony at the Palembang's Siriwijaya Stadium
The biennial Games involving 11 nations in sports, from athletics and swimming to sepak takraw – a cross between football and volleyball – is being held in the Indonesian capital Jakarta and Palembang in South Sumatra.
Under the slogan United and Rising, the SEA Games will showcase Indonesia's rise as a regional powerhouse, with a booming economy backed by a massive 245 million population.
"It's God's will that the Games will run smoothly," Indonesia Olympic Committee chairwoman Rita Subowo said. "We've been working hard for a long time under difficult circumstances, but I'm confident the Games will go well."
At the Games, which will run until November 22, athletes will take part in 46 sports, competing for 545 sets of medals.
This year, Viet Nam is to participate in 42 sports with a target of 70-90 gold medals which would put them in the top three overall.
The three-hour ceremony ended with a performance of fireworks and lights in the sky and the song Together We Can Give, composed by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. — VNS