Fifty years is a long time to be a mystery, but that is what Asean is to most of its 640 million peoples.
Among those who do know of the 10-member grouping, some like to call it a "talk shop", "toothless tiger" and "road to nowhere". These are unwelcome but not always undeserved. Asean has at least 1,000 meetings a year, but often takes one year to field a new idea - and sometimes longer to honour deals.
Only top leaders of its member-countries can speak on its behalf, not the Asean secretary-general. And they must all agree before Asean can do anything.