“The Games came to life in a flourish of color, dance and performance, all under the banner of the Games slogan 'For A Stronger Southeast Asia,” read the article entitled “Opening ceremony lights up Hanoi in a spectacular celebration of Southeast Asia as SEA Games officially begin” on IOC website.

“Highlights included a beautiful lotus dance representing inspiration, aspiration, and strength, and the unveiling of 11 woodcut folk paintings accompanied by a dance,” it said.

The Southeast Asian Games Federation and SEA Games 31 flag hoisting ceremony at the opening

Singapore's The Straits Times newspaper wrote: “The SEA Games returned to Vietnam for the first time in almost 20 years on Thursday night (May 12) with a dazzling light show and spectacular pyrotechnics witnessed by more than 20,000 spectators in a packed My Dinh Stadium."

Sazali Abdul Aziz, the author of the article, appreciated the efforts of the host country, saying this will be the first SEA Games to be staged since the emergence of COVID-19. Vietnam, like many other ASEAN nations, is taking confident strides towards returning to normalcy, he wrote.

Singapore's CNA television channel commented that the opening ceremony of the SEA Games 31 had blown up the spirit of the Games, even though it was raining heavily in Hanoi just a few hours before the start of the event.

According to the Bernama news agency of Malaysia, host Vietnam staged an eye-catching opening ceremony in a blaze of colour, light and fireworks.

The Star newspaper of Malaysia wrote that SEA Games 31, the regional biggest sports event, started with a glitzy affair that showcased the cultural fabric and solidarity of the republic. The host nation also showed the solidarity of all countries in Southeast Asia, which has grown stronger over the year, it said.

The ASEAN Post of Malaysia cited some locals’ opinions that the organization of the Games is a sign that life is returning to normal.

Indonesia’s The Jakarta Post newspaper also runs an article with the title “The opening ceremony of the SEA Games 31 shows Vietnamese identity.”

Thai newspapers also highlighted this event. According to the Khao Sod, the organisers used traditional values to connect Southeast Asia. The host country Vietnam has mobilized more than 1,000 performers who have made a strong impression with their own cultural identity and traditions, reflecting the strength of the people of ASEAN through modern technology, the newspaper said, adding it represents "For a stronger Southeast Asia" spirit.

International news agencies such as Xinhua News Agency, Associated Press (AP), Agence France-Presse  (AFP) also reported on this event.

“Vietnam set off a spectacle of lights, dance and music at Thursday's opening ceremony of the Southeast Asian Games, brushing aside gloomy weather to launch a party-like atmosphere eclipsing a six-month COVID delay of the event,”  wrote an AFP article entitled “Lights and dance as Vietnam opens 31st SEA Games.”

Source: VNA