Watches, daggers and cricket ice cream: Asian summit treats

Nov 10, 2022, 10:06 PM | Updated: 10:32 pm
This undated photo released on Nov. 3, 2022, by Agence Kampuchea Press (AKP), shows a custom wristw...

This undated photo released on Nov. 3, 2022, by Agence Kampuchea Press (AKP), shows a custom wristwatch which Cambodia produced as souvenirs for world leaders who will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Cambodia. (Agence Kampuchea Press via AP)

(Agence Kampuchea Press via AP)

BANGKOK (AP) — A custom wristwatch from Cambodian leader Hun Sen at the ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh, a foot-long dagger at the G-20 meetings in Bali, and cricket ice cream and Thai noodles with worm sauce at the APEC talks in Bangkok.

World leaders have a surfeit of swag and surprises awaiting them as they attend back-to-back-to-back summits in Asia starting this week.

Hun Sen raised eyebrows a few weeks ago when he announced that he would be having special-edition watches made for U.S. President Joe Biden and other leaders attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, which runs through the weekend. Many speculated the former mid-level Khmer Rouge commander would feature his own mug on the timepiece in the narcissistic vein of autocratic leaders in the past, like Iraq’s Saddam Hussein or Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.

But the final product, which Hun Sen said was designed and made in Cambodia, is a sleek silver timepiece with coppery-gold hands and a leather strap, with “ASEAN Cambodia 2022” imprinted on its face.

Hun Sen did not say what the gift was worth as he unveiled it this week on his Facebook page, but did say he’d be wearing it himself at all three summits — foregoing one of the rare, designer wristwatches in his collection whose $1 million-plus price tags have been a source of grumbling in impoverished Cambodia.

In addition to Biden, many other world leaders who will be receiving the Cambodian watch, including Australia’s Anthony Albanese, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, will travel from Phnom Penh next to the Indonesian island of Bali where there are some traditional trinkets in store for them at the Group of 20 summit.

G-20 organizers this year say the leaders, also expected to include China’s Xi Jinping, will be asked to wear colorful shirts made of the traditional Balinese woven fabric endek, similar to those that Indonesia gave out at the 2013 APEC meetings they hosted in which the country revived the on-again, off-again summit tradition of a group photo in what some have dubbed “silly shirts.”

The tradition was started in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton, who gave out leather bomber jackets as a memento to leaders in attendance as a way to lighten the mood of the serious economic talks.

In Indonesia, all 120 member and non-member states’ representatives attending will also be given shawls made from another Balinese fabric known as gringsing, typically red, off-white and black woven in a geometric pattern.

Leaders will also receive a traditional kris dagger, a distinctive asymmetrical knife usually between 11 and 14 inches long with a wavy blade.

According to organizers, each dagger takes between one and six months to make, and while used as combat weapons in the past they are today typically worn at special ceremonies.

There were no “silly shirts” last year at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings, held virtually due to the pandemic, with host New Zealand instead providing merino wool scarves for the men and capes for the women.

It looks like Thailand doesn’t plan on reviving the shirts this year at the upcoming APEC summit in Bangkok. Instead, organizers say they will be giving leaders silk neckties and shawls, as well as handkerchiefs and face masks.

There is culinary excitement, however, as the country, renowned for its cuisine, brings in Thai food startups selected from a competition to highlight sustainability under a concept dubbed “plate to planet.”

Biden isn’t expected to be on hand for the APEC meetings, but Vice President Kamala Harris, Xi and others will be given the opportunity to try out dishes like carb-free ramen noodles made from egg white protein, milk-free ice cream with kale and passion fruit, low-sodium Thai noodles with a sauce made from sandworms, and ice cream made from the protein from crickets, government spokesman Anucha Buraphachaisri said.

Celebrity chef Chumpol Chaengprai is preparing the gala dinner to cap the event, under the concept of “sustainable Thai gastronomy.” Its menu has not yet been announced.

_____

Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul in Bangkok, Niniek Karmini in Jakarta and Sopheng Cheang in Phnom Penh contributed to this story.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              This undated photo released on Nov. 3, 2022, by Agence Kampuchea Press (AKP), shows a custom wristwatch which Cambodia produced as souvenirs for world leaders who will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Cambodia. (Agence Kampuchea Press via AP)
            
              Blacksmiths make a traditional dagger called 'kris' similar to what will be given to leaders and delegates at the G20 Summit as souvenirs, in Aung Tong Tong village in Sumenep, Madura Island, Indonesia, on June 22, 2022. A custom wristwatch from Cambodian leader Hun Sen at the ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh, a foot-long dagger at the G-20 meetings in Bali, and cricket ice cream and Thai noodles with worm sauce at the APEC talks in Bangkok. World leaders have a surfeit of swag and surprises awaiting them as they attend back-to-back-to-back summits in Asia starting this week. (AP Photo/Trisnadi)
            
              This undated photo released on Nov. 3, 2022, by Agence Kampuchea Press (AKP), shows a custom wristwatch which Cambodia produced as souvenirs for world leaders who will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Cambodia. (Agence Kampuchea Press via AP)
            
              This undated photo released on Nov. 3, 2022, by Agence Kampuchea Press (AKP), shows a custom wristwatch which Cambodia produced as souvenirs for world leaders who will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Cambodia. (Agence Kampuchea Press via AP)
            FILE - APEC leaders, wearing matching jackets, laugh during a group photo opportunity on the campus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, Nov. 25, 1997. From left are Japan's Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto; South Korea President Kim Young-sam; Philippines President Fidel Ramos; Canada's Prime Minister Jean Chretien; Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad; Mexico's President Ernesto Zedillo; New Zealand Prime Minister Jim Bolger; Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Bill Skate; Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong; Koo Chen-fu of Taiwan; Thai Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai; U.S. President Bill Clinton. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) FILE - U.S. President George W. Bush, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin wave to photographers prior to the leaders' group photo at the APEC summit in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 21, 2004. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan, File) FILE - U.S. President George W. Bush, center top row, smiles with other leaders during a group photo session of the APEC summit in Bangkok, Thailand. From left; South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, U.S. President George W. Bush, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Mexican President Vicente Fox and Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. (Kimimasa Mayama/Pool Photo via AP, File) FILE - U.S. President George W. Bush, right, wears a Drizabone jacket with APEC leaders during a photo opportunity at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia, Sept. 8, 2007. Pictured from left to right: Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File) FILE - Australian Prime Minister John Howard, left, and U.S. President George W. Bush, wear traditional Chinese jackets as they chat during a group photo session at the APEC summit in Shanghai, China, Oct. 21, 2001. (Eriko Sugita/Pool Photo via AP, File) FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, greets U.S. President Bill Clinton, second right, as Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, second left, and Taiwanese representative Perng Fai-nan watch as they wear traditional shirts during the APEC group photo session at Jerudong Polo Club in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, Nov. 16, 2000. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File) FILE - Wearing traditional Peruvian ponchos, Thailand's Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, top left, U.S. President George W. Bush, top center, Vietnam's President Nguyen Minh Triet, top right, Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso, bottom left, and South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak, boom right, wave during the official group photo of the APEC summit, in Lima, Peru, Nov. 23, 2008. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File) FILE - Dressed in traditional Malaysian batik shirts, from left to right: Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov; Singaporean Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong; Taiwan Chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development, Chiang Pin-kung; Thailand Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai; and U.S. Vice President Al Gore, applaud after the reading of the declaration at the conclusion of the APEC summit in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, Nov. 18, 1998. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File) FILE - Wearing traditional "ao dai," U.S. President George W. Bush, top row left, Russian President Vladimir Putin, top row center, Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, top row right, Chinese President Hu Jintao, bottom row left, and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet wave during a group photo with APEC leaders in Hanoi, Vietnam, Nov. 19, 2006. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File) FILE - U.S. President Bill Clinton, right, wearing a traditional "barong tagalog" from the Philippines, does "the wave" with Koo Chen-fu of Taiwan, left, and Thai Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa, center, during a group photo outside at the APEC summit in Subic Bay, Philippines, Nov. 25, 1996. (AP Photo/David Longstreath, File)

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Watches, daggers and cricket ice cream: Asian summit treats