10 Southeast Asia 05

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					               Southeast Asia
 Background
  – Southeast Asia is a land of large and small
    peninsulas and islands
  – region is a cultural and political mosaic of diverse
    peoples and lands
  – influence of India and China on the historical
    development of region
      Buddhism strongly entrenched in Burma, Thailand,
       Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam
      Hindu cosmology and beliefs influential in region
Angor Wat Temple
    temples like Ankor Wat (Cambodia) and Prembanan
     and Borobodur (Java) reveal Indian influences
    Chinese also influential politically and culturally in
     Southeast Asia
    overseas Chinese are major entrepreneurs in large urban
    Thai people pushed out of southern China in 13th C

    direct Chinese influence on Vietnam

    Vietnam occasionally ruled by China

– influence of colonialism
    moststates under colonial rule from 19th to 20th C, i.e.
    UK (Myanmar, Singapore and Malaysia); France
    (Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos) Holland (Indonesia);
    US (Philippines)
      brutal colonial wars for independence
      only Thailand (Siam) never colonized by the West

      Thai monarchy practiced skillful diplomacy to preserve
       their independence
      Thailand historically was a buffer between UK and France

 Physical   regions
  – physically, Southeast Asia divided into two major
    regions of roughly equal size, i.e. mainland Southeast
    Asia and insular Southeast Asia
  – mainland Southeast Asia includes Burma, Thailand,
    Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam
  – insular Southeast Asia includes Indonesia,
    Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore
– mountain ranges run in north-south direction; difficulty
  with east-west transportation and communication
– river valleys for core areas of national states, i.e.
  Irrawady River (Rangoon, Mynanmar); Chao
  Phraya River(Bangkok, Thailand); Mekong River
  ( Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh City,
  Vietnam); Red River, Hanoi/Haiphong, Vietnam)
– rivers very important for internal transportation and
– series of high hills separate Mynanmar from India
– Shan plateau between Mynanmar and Thailand
– Korat plateau in northern Thailand
– cordillera runs from Laos to south Vietnam
– volcanic chain of islands run from western
  Mynanmar offshore through Anaman Islands,
  Sumatra, Java and the Philippines
– Sunda platform from Sumatra and Malaysia to
  island of Kalimantan.
– Sunda Strait and Straits of Malaka crucial to
  ocean shipping.
– substantial tanker and container shipping through
  these important straits
– deep water trenches off shore, i.e Java Trench
– region of active volcanoes, i.e. Krakatoa, Indonesia
  in 1883 and Mt. Pinatubo, Philippines in 1991-92


                                         Sunda Platform

Asia Physical Map Southeast
 Climate
  – Southeast Asia enjoys substantial rainfall
  – mainland Southeast Asia influenced by the monsoon
    with summer winds bringing torrential rainfall from
    May to October. Rangoon gets 100 includes per year
  – cooler weather and less rainfall from November to
    early spring. High pressure over Asia with winds
    blowing out to sea
  – areas near equator receive abundant rainfall all year
 Population
  – Southeast Asia has a large, expanding population
  – in 1965, combined population of all countries was
    250 million; by 1993 it increased to 400 million; and
    by 2025 it is expected to rise to 550 million
  – most countries growing at 2% per year; Thailand and
    the Philippines growing at 3%; Cambodia and Laos
    have rates close to 1% reflecting ravages or war
  – urbanization increasing in all countries though
    Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam still have less than
    20% living in urban areas
– Indonesia and Thailand have 30% of their
  populations in urban areas
– Philippines just over 40%; Malaysia 50%
– 100% of the population in Singapore live in the city
– most Southeast Asian states have a high percentage
  of their people living in a primate city, i.e. Bangkok,
  Thailand; Manila, Philippines, Phnom Penh,
  Cambodia, etc.
– migrations from rural areas to cities have strained
  governmental budgets, made it difficult to provide
  adequate services
 Agriculture
  – problems of agriculture in SE Asia due to several
      erosion of hillside cultivation which washes down large
       quantities of silt that end up in delta areas
      leeching of soluble minerals especially iron oxide which is
       necessary for good plant growth
      laterization of soils which makes the soil very hard on the
       top layer and spongy when wet
      groundwater evaporation exceeds drainage encouraging
       growth of grasses that choke plants
– types of agriculture swidden and sawah
– swidden agriculture
    also known as shifting cultivation or slash and burn
    practiced on grasslands and plateaus (hill farms) where
     brush, trees and grass are burned so crops can be planted.
     Ash enriches the soil but only briefly
    after several years, people must change locations and
     repeat the cycle again
    variety of crops grown by this method including
     pineapples, bananas, fruit trees, dry rice, taro, sweet
     potatoes, yams, maize, legumes, and tobacco
    ecological knowledge of farmers based on experience

    cannot support a large population
– sawah cultivation
    also known as wet rice agriculture or paddy agriculture
    water dependent agriculture with fields irrigated by adequate
     rain or various irrigation projects
    terraced rice fields in Java, Luzon, and Bali

    possible to get 2/3 rice crops per year under good conditions

    supplemental vegetables occasionally grown in as
     interplanted crops in rice paddy fields, i.e. corn, potatoes,
     legumes, sweet potatoes, etc.
    use of decomposed manure, night soil or chemical fertilizers
     to obtain good yields
    use of the water buffaloes to plow fields; small tractors
     increasingly replacing water buffaloes
– Plantation agriculture
    commercial   plantations managed by Europeans but
     worked by indigenous labor or imported labor
    availability of cheap water transportation downstream

    contract labor from India or China common due to
     subsistence commitments of indigenous farmers
    rubber plantations- Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand

    oil palm and coconut plantations- Malaysia,
     Philippines, and Indonesia
    tea plantations in highlands of Indonesia
 Legacy   of the Cold War
  – states of Southeast Asia drawn into the cold war
    from the 50’s through the 70’s
  – French Indochina War until 1954
  – US hostile to colonialism but aided the French to
    reestablish control in French Indochina to prevent
    the Communists from coming to power.
  – Ho Chi Minh extremely popular, nationalist
    patriot and Communist built a movement to expel
    the French and obtain independence.
  – US picked up the torch and continued war in
    Vietnam until 1973 when the costs became too
– insurgencies in Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines
– non-aligned governments in Cambodia, Burma, and
– US very hostile towards “neutrals” like Norodom
  Sihanouk in Cambodia and Sukarno in Indonesia
– abortive Communist coup in Indonesia results in the
  Indonesian military coming to power. Much more
– lack of reform in the Philippines under Ferdinand
  Marcos, wide gaps between rich and poor, Filipino
  democracy subverted by Marcos, rich established
  families controlled politics of country
– communal problems between Chinese and Malays in
  Malaysia; ethnic tensions threaten to come unglued
– Sihanouk overthrown by military coup supported by
  the US
– popular monarch replaced by unpopular military
– Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge succeed in establishing
  brutal communist dictatorship in Cambodia. Mass
  murder of educated intellectuals; gross human rights
  violations. “Killing Fields”
– Thailand most stable government in region with a
  popular king a figurehead and military/civilian
  government in charge of country
 Economic   Development
  – several Southeast Asian have made substantial
    economic progress since 1960;s
  – Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and
    Philippines have good economic growth rates with
    rising incomes
  – Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Vietnam have lagged behind
    the rest of the countries of the region.
  – recently Vietnam opening the country up to market
    forces, foreign investment, development of a thriving
    business community.
 Thailand
  – occupies the heart of mainland Southeast Asia
  – formerly known as Siam until 1939; name
    Thailand means “land of the free”
  – Thailand centered in delta of Chao Praya
    (Menam) River
  – Bangkok (5.5 mil) is a primate city serves as the
    capital and major port for country; Chengmai,
    (170K) main city in north
  – Korat plateau in northeast Thailand has been
    historically depressed, a poor area, inhabited by
    hill tribes
– Karens, a hill tribe people, related by Cambodians
  and Laotians found in Korat and Northwest
  Thailand and Burma;
– southern Thailand near Kra Isthmus inhabited by
– 95% of Thailand’s population practice Buddhism;
  most men become monks for a period in their life
– Siam traditionally ruled by strong absolute
  monarchs (Anna and the King of Siam by
  Margaret Landon adapted for the musical
  The King and I)
– in modern period, the Thai king has become the
  symbolic head of the government with no power
– King Bhomipol universally revered and loved by the
  people; subtle and important influence on the
– Siam was historically a buffer between British and
  French colonial rule; preserved their independence by
  adroit diplomacy
– WW II, Siam allowed Japanese army to transit the
  country, collaborated with the Japanese until the end
  of the war a “Free Thai” movement took power,
  approached the US for recognition and avoided
  retaliation for their collaboration with the Japanese
  during WW II
– Golden Triangle in NW was major source of opium
– 6 million Chinese influential in economic affairs,
  control much of the economy
– Chinese in Thailand are very assimilated into social
  structure unlike Chinese in other SE Asian countries
– guerrilla warfare in 1960’s and 1970’s successfully
  suppressed with US economic assistance
– healthy agricultural sector of the economy growing
  rice, tropical fruits, seafood for export, canned
– service sectors stimulated by US military presence
  during Vietnam War years, especially bars, brothels,
  and other forms of “entertainment”
– export based manufacturing doing well
– thriving Thai stock market with publicly traded
– construction boom from 70’s through 90’s
– friendly business environment for investors
– good economic growth of 5-8% per year
– severe ecological problems specially in Bangkok
  where canals (klongs) are polluted; car traffic
  stifling, traffic jams horrible
– klongs crowed; transport by fast motorized Thai
– Asian economic flu adversely affecting Thailand
  with the Thai bhat falling 50% in value
– banking failures, rising unemployment, cut in the
  Thai standard of living; hard times today
– IMF mounting a rescue effort to bail Thailand out
  of its economic problems
– Thailand is a strong supporter of ASEAN
  (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)
– economy should snap back soon and resume its
  positive course
– political problems with mild corruption and
  ineffective civilian/military leaders
 Malaysia
  – spatially fragmented state with a dense population
    on the western coast and a sparse population in
    Sarawak and Sabah
  – original Federation of Malaysia included
    Singapore, but fears of ethnic domination by
    Chinese led to separation of Singapore from the
    federation in 1965
  – multiethnic population in Malaysia with 60%
    ethnic Malays; 30% Chinese; and 10% Indian
  – Chinese and Indians disproportionally found in
    business and commerce
– Malays control the government of the country
– Penang (Pinang), a Chinese city in West Malaysia is
  the Silicon Island of the country with major
  investments by large MNC’s like Intel, HP, Sony,
  Panasonic, etc.
– Malaysian economy traditionally dependent on tin
  and rubber plantations; palm oil and copra also
  important agricultural products
– area between Penang and Malaka was heartland for
  tin and rubber production
– Malaka was major port for British during colonial
  period: ideal location in shipping lanes
– Kuala Lumpur (KL) centrally located to serve as
  capital and commercial center of country
– KL is a modern city with skyscrapers, luxury
  shopping, upscale business, and financial
– tropical hardwoods (especially teak) produced in
  Sarawak and Sabah
– Malaysia is an Islamic country, but practices
  toleration of other faiths.
– Malaysia has democratic parliamentary form of
  government based on British model; fundamental
  freedoms of speech, press, assembly protected
– Malaysia has historically been well governed
– Malaysia is a strong supporter of ASEAN
  (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) dedicated
  to promoting trade among countries of region
– Malaysia has a strong, vibrant economy with
  expanding per capita incomes for the people.
 Singapore
  – Singapore is a distinctive country because it’s a city
    state of only 240 sq. miles
  – only nation where Chinese constitute a majority of
    the population (90% Chinese city)
  – throughout colonial period, Singapore functioned as
    a major trading entrepot for regional maritime trade
  – historically functions as a leading transshipment and
    processing center for Malay peninsula and Dutch
    East Indies
  – in 1990, Singapore surpassed Hong Kong as busiest
    container port in world
– island generate substantial manufacturing exports
  around the world
– by values most important exports include machinery
  and transport equipment; basic manufactures, such
  as textile yarn, fabric, iron, and steel; miscellaneous
  manufactured articles; petroleum and petroleum
  products; and food and live animals.
– The country's major exports are machinery and
  transportation equipment and refined petroleum
– also functions as global maritime center for
  financial services, banking, insurance,
  communications, consulting services
– serves as a regional center for multinational
  corporations dealing with Asia
– assembles high tech products and electronic
– world’s largest producer of data storage units for
  major computer firms in US, Japan, and Asia
– politically, Singapore among the most stable
  democracies in world with outstanding political
– planning for the 21st century with a computer
  network that will connect whole country
– Lee Kuan Yew, PM from 1959-1990 to responsible
  for much of Singapore’s success
– Singapore one of the best functioning and cleanest
  cities of the world. Even public housing is attractive
– heavy fines for anti-social behavior, no eating on
  public transportation, heavy fines for failing to flush
  toilets, high taxes to drive a car in central business
– Singapore benefited from fears over Hong Kong’s
  return to China.
– per capital income of $26K for Singapore residents
 Indonesia
  – large archipelago stretching 3,000 miles
  – Indonesia one of the world's largest populated states
    with over 200 million people
  – six major islands constitute state of Indonesia- Java,
    Sumatra, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Maluku, and
    Irian Jaya
  – smaller islands of Bali and East Timor also
  – formerly ruled by the Dutch until 1949 when
    Indonesia fought a bloody conflict with the
    Netherlands for independence
– national motto is Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in
– diverse population of many cultures, languages,
  religions, and ethnic groups
– 87% of the population are Muslims but many are
  nominal Muslims
– regional problems have created problems for the
  central government, i.e. Outer islands vs. Java and
  problem of East Timor, a former Portuguese colonial
  taken over militarily by the Indonesian military in
  1975-76. Gross human rights violations
– problems of political stability, liberal democracy
  through 1959, Guided Democracy under Sukarno,
  then New Order Democracy under Suharto
– Suharto former high-ranking general who assumed
  power in 1965 after an abortive communist coup
– Suharto opened Indonesia to Western influence and
  foreign multinational investment
– oil industry boomed in 1970’s under Pertamina,
  Indonesian National Oil Company
– boom in timber industry, Indonesian hardwoods
  valuable but with great ecological destruction and
  loss of habitat for endangered species like
– host of state-owned or joint stock companies have
  produced great economic growth in export
  orientated businesses
– major opportunities for corruption and get rich
  quick schemes
– Madam Tien Suharto, “Ms. Ten Percent”
– transmigration policies to encourage movement to
  outer island
– impact of the Green Revolution on Indonesia rice
  farming very positive
– current political and economic problems, the Asian
  flu, poor Indonesian reaction to crisis, protests for
  political change by students/ intellectuals
– Chinese as the “escape goat” for Indonesian
  economic problems
– Political instability in Indonesia today, separatist
  movements, Aceh, Maluku, Papua
– Suharto stepped down as President in 1998
– B.J Habibie, a close associate of Suharto took over
  reigns of power as a transitional leader
– In the 1999 elections, Abdurrahman Wahid was
  elected President of the Republic of Indonesia; in
  2002 Megawati Sukarnoputri, Sukarno’s daughter
  elected President; 2005 Susilo Bambang
– Need for political and economic reform
– major economic problems in aftermath of Asian
  flu, i.e. runaway inflation, currency devaluation
– continued high unemployment and high foreign
– problems with terrorism in aftermath of Bali
  bombings, attack on Marriot Hotel, etc.
– impact on tourism and foreign investment
– 2005 Tsunami in Banda Aceh

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