South East Asia: Social & Geographical Differences | My Paper Hub

South East Asia: Social & Geographical Differences


South East Asia is characterized by unique geographical aspects. It is different from other regions of the world because of its unique geographical distribution of different countries. However, it is a region rich in cultural, social, economic an...Read More


~Posted on Feb 2018

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South East Asia is characterized by unique geogra...

South East Asia is characterized by unique geographical aspects. It is different from other regions of the world because of its unique geographical distribution of different countries. However, it is a region rich in cultural, social, economic and political diversity. Area studies explore the different aspects of social and geographical differences characterized by demarcation into states. The scramble for the area which took place after the Second World War led to the establishment of states based on social and political factors. However, the scramble for the area was not inclusive of all social aspects. Because of high diversity in South Asia, not all social factors were enough to warrant for a geographical space. The aspect of geographies of knowing was, therefore, limited to heartlands which were areas big enough to have area dispensation. However, other areas were left behind as peripheral areas to larger ones.  The use of geography for the production of a particular type of knowledge can be limited because of lack of inclusivity of a lot of other smaller factors that do not fit within political and social dispensations.

Module 2 radio interview

Professor Adrian Vickers explores south East Asia as a geographical entity regarding how some of its features influence its political, cultural, economic and social aspects of the region. The aspect of insular islands is important for the geographic characteristic of the region. It is characterized by having the mainland and the islands. The islands are considered to be connected with one another by the sea and have been significant for social and economic aspects of the region. They were connectors of trade between India and China and remain significant. The numerous geographical divisions associated with the islands caused the establishment of different and unique cultures within them. However, there was always a sense of connection within them that has influenced the establishment of unique cultural aspects of the South East Asian region. The establishment of contemporary sates in the region was influential in removing the historical connections between different social and cultural groups of the region.

Module 3 reflection

The aspect of gender is very significant within the Vietnamese society. It is a social construction that is rooted in deeper social and religious aspects of the Vietnamese society. One main aspect is religion and mediumship. Religious rituals are very significant in the society of Vietnam. They are also very influential in the development of gender role. A good example is a mediumship which is a role dominated by women. There is also the aspect of music and art and how they are represented within religious settings within Vietnam. Of great importance is how these aspects of mediumship, have been influential in the development of the cultural identities of the people of Vietnam. Mediumship music is a great element of religious ritual in the country. They are significant because of their construction of religious identities. The representation of gender through religious factors is significant in understanding the characteristics of social and cultural aspects of the South Asian regions.

Module 3 radio interview

Marl Allon explores the influences religion has on the gender identities of the people of South Asia. He speaks about Buddhism and how it is represented within the societies of South Asia. The practices of Buddhism are unique. They included different practices that are very influential in defining gender roles in the society. A good example is monks who are usually men and are committed to strict practices of Buddhism that include celibacy, and meditation. Buddhism has also influenced political aspects of southeastern Asia. Indonesia is, however, a country that is unique because it is based on a mixture of different religious beliefs. Buddhism has had limited influence on the social-cultural and political aspects of the country. Despite the great religious diversity, south Asia is characterized by high religious tolerance, which is representative of the aspect of accommodation.

Module 4 reflection

The combination of storytelling with concepts adds historical accounts with a lot of insight and illuminates the truth. The history of the political aspects of South East Asia explores various factors that are very influential of what the region is today. The use of theories is very important in telling historical events because they bring out the aspects of causalities. Causalities are a feature that is very instrumental in explaining why certain things are the way they are. For a long time, the aspects of nation and nationalism have been described using historical accounts. However, there has been a great need for more scrutiny from which concepts and theories can help answer. The use of theories has helped in establishing the validity of the various political systems within different countries of the region. Modern knowledge established through history has explored colonial and postcolonial aspects of the countries of the region. However, more scrutiny is needed to know why various political systems existed.

Module 4 radio interview

Dr. Lagerkvist explores the nation of Laos as it emerged as a modern nation-state. She explores the political establishment and establishment of Laos as part of the South East Asian society. Laos was developed as a result of high pressure within the region for the development of nations after colonization. Various historical factors within the region influenced the establishment of the different political systems within the region. Laos is a country that experienced great changes in its politics especially form military to social rule. The relationship between Laos and other countries was also significant in explaining its various characteristics. Unlike many other democratic nations in the country, Laos is based on a social, political system like China and Vietnam. It is, therefore, evident to say that there are various political factors responsible for the establishment of Laos. Historical events can, however, be scrutinized to offer more insight and illumination to offer causality of various factors.

Module 4 radio interview two

Professor Adrian Vickers explores the history of Indonesia regarding the different nations that colonized it. These are nations that had great influences over the political and social nature of the nation. The Dutch were the first colonist of the nation. The Dutch's influence over the nation was limited to trade and other forms of business. The British came in and had a little more interest in the nation. The country's colonization by the British was for a short period but had great influence over how various social, political and economic aspects of the nation came to be. The interview explores various historical aspects of the colonization of Indonesia and how they were influential for the establishment of the unique features associated with the Indonesian social and political factors.  There was also the French who had interest in the nation. The Dutch, the French and the British all had interests in the nations and this created tension in the nation. The current map and nature of South East Asia including Indonesia are based on the colonial era.  

Module 4 radio interview three

Dr. Yeow Tong explores the historical links between Singapore and Malaysia. These are the two nations of South East Asia which have a great relationship with one another. One factor is based on their history and to be more specific, the fact that they were both colonized by the British. Direct and indirect rule by the British colony has been influential in the development of the social and political nature of both Singapore and Malaysia. There were various mechanisms used by the British colony to exert control over the two nations. The two nations were controlled as one, but after the Second World War, the colonial government established them as individual nations. The aspects of race, especially about the high number of Chinese in Singapore, coupled with high nationalism in Malaysia, led to the separation of the two nations. However, the British colony intended to establish them as a single nation.

Module 5 reflection

The association of South East Asia represents several countries in the region. It is an intergovernmental organization which is responsible for the promotion of Pan-Asianism regarding aspects of political, social, economic and security among others. It is an organization expected to have great levels of power based on the political and economic aspects of the nations that are part of it. However, there are different organizations of scholars who provide different perspectives about the nation of the countries for this reason. Neo-realists believe that the nations of these regions have a good economic, political, and cultural organization, but are unable to convert such aspects into actual power. On the other hand, constructivists consider the good political and economic, and cultural organizations as a show of great power and do not have to involve aspects of the conflict. Neo-realist related power to coercion and force and the use of military strength to exert power within the region.

Module 5 radio interview

Paul Busbarat explores the political aspects of different nations of South East Asia based on their historical developments. These are factors that are very influential of the nature of the political, economic and cultural aspects of the region of power. Most of the countries in the regions were colonized except a few such as Thailand. Most of them have thus adopted a European political system. Thailand is, however, a nation that was never colonized. It is characterized by having a constitutional monarchy which makes it have a system more like the European type of political governance. The political history and characteristics of the different countries of South East Asia have been very influential in the development of a liberal form of organization that is characteristic of the ASEAN.  It is an aspect that creates a differentiation between a neo-realist perspective and that of constructivist.

Module 5 radio interview two

Simon butt explores the political organization of the countries of South East Asia. He specifically focuses on Indonesia because of its unique characteristic. Indonesia has established itself as a democratic nation. It is, however, a very diverse nation and sometimes trying to meet the needs of all single groups of people is difficult. Democracy has sometimes been considered as a political system that has failed. However, no other political system has prevailed in Indonesia other than democracy. The democratic nature of the different political aspects has led to the development of liberalism which reflects on the neighboring nations of the region. The establishment of a democratic state in Indonesia has not been easy. However, there has been a high focus on ensuring that it thrives and becomes a strong political system. It is a political system that resonates with other countries in the region, and that makes it very important for Indonesia.

Module 5 radio interview three

Christine Ward explores the post-conflict transition into democracy in Cambodia. Cambodia is a nation from South East Asia, whose politics is characterized by several transitions. There has been a period of conflict which it transitioned into a central government and the continued to development of the somewhat democratic politics associated with the voting of political officials. However, the democracy of Cambodia has been met with a lot of challenges especially regarding the strength of electoral institutions. There have been many protests in the nation for the fight for democracy. Cambodian politics has had a lot of military influence on political matter. There have been many Coup De’ Tats. The use of force associated with military power has hindered the nation from attaining full democracy. It is a nation that considers itself as democratic, but there are still many challenges that are limiting the rights and liberties of the people. The power structures are very dynamic, and this has caused a lot of problems for the country’s political space.

Module 6 reflection integrating all materials

The region of Asia has had an unprecedented rise in economic development since the 1980s. The high rate of development has set it as one of the most economically developing regions of the world. However, there are different aspects at play about why the region has developed to such high level. One factor is associated with the relationship between economic development and politics. The politics of the region has been highly influential in its economic environment. The markets of East Asia are considered developed and rich and have been growing rapidly over the years. They are one of the main producers of manufactured goods in the world and export their products to many regions of the world. The economic characteristic of the region is built upon a political foundation that resonates with most of the countries of the same region. It is therefore important to understand that politics of South East Asia has been very influential in their economic development.

Module 6 radio interview

Gavan Butler explores the political economy of the countries of South East Asia. He explores Thailand in relations to how politics influence the economy of the region. Politics is a very significant factor because it dictates the stability of the nation. It influences investments, production and the development of economic policies that favor growth and development. The political characteristics of Thailand show the changes in economic factors in the country. The 2014 coup in the country led to the establishment of a military government which was more authoritative. This form of government had great implications of the economic aspects of the country. The country’s economic growth went down; business went low as tourists and investors reduced. People are complaining of the slowness of the economy. The case of Thailand is evident of the political and economic nature of any country. Politics is very influential of the success of the economy of any region.

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