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CHAPTER TEN Southeast Asia I. THE GEOGRAPHIC SETTING A. Physical Patterns Landforms Southeast Asia is a region of peninsulas and islands. The land area of the region ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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  • Southeast Asia

  • Landforms
  • Southeast Asia is a region of peninsulas and
  • The land area of the region is about half that of
    the contiguous United States.
  • The irregular shape and topography of Southeast
    Asia are due to the same tectonic forces
    unleashed when India left the African Plate and
    crashed into Eurasia.

Physical Patterns
  • Landforms
  • The ridges and valleys created by this crash
    become wider as one goes from the Tibetan Plateau
    to the South China Sea. Associated with every
    valley is at least one major river.
  • Volcanoes in the Philippines occur where the
    Philippine Plate pushes against the Eurasian
    Plate. This is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
  • Sundaland (the shelf of the Eurasian continent)
    was above sea level during the last Ice Age.

Physical Patterns
  • Landforms
  • Sahulland was a second exposed shelf attached to
    Australia and New Guinea, but the two shelves
    never joined because of a deep-water trench.
  • Wallacea is a biogeographical transition zone
    between Asian and Australian flora and fauna.
    Within this zone is some mixing of the two
  • The ease of movement of nonhuman animal species
    (or lack thereof) explains the unique
    distributions of fauna within the region.

Physical Patterns
  • Climate
  • The climate is tropical throughout Southeast Asia
    with temperatures consistently above 65 F with
    heavy rains.
  • The wet summer monsoon occurs from May to
    October. From November to April, there is a dry
    season on the mainland portion of Southeast Asia.
    Many of the islands do not, however, have a
    noticeable dry season because of the moisture
    picked up over the bodies of water.
  • Normal patterns of rainfall can be interrupted by
    the El Niño phenomenon, causing serious drought,
    especially on the islands. El Niño reverses the
    normal pattern of circulation, making the waters
    of the Pacific near Southeast Asia cooler and
    drier, causing drought and air pollution problems
    in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Physical Patterns
  • Climate
  • Tropical soils in Southeast Asia are not
    particularly fertile, but if undisturbed can
    support a proliferation of trees and shrubs
    (i.e., biomass) into which most of the soluble
    nutrients have been absorbed. Leaf litter and
    other organic detritus is quickly decomposed in
    the high temperature and humidity conditions of
    the forest floor.
  • This region boasted impressive rain forests,
    which today are logged at record rates.

B. Human Patterns Over Time
  • Southeast Asia has been easily accessible to
    ocean trade and cultural influence from outside
    the region.

Human Patterns over Time
  • The Peopling of Southeast Asia
  • The indigenous populations of Southeast Asia came
    from two widely separated migrations. The first
    were the Australo-Melanesians some 60,000 years
    ago. The second migration began about 5000 years
    ago with skilled seafarers and farmers, called
    Austronesians, from South China.
  • No clear biological or geographic boundaries
    divide the descendants of the earlier
    Australo-Melanesians and the more recent
  • The migrations of many different peoples to this
    region, together with its extremely fragmented
    physical geography, have led some geographers to
    compare Southeast Asia with Southeastern Europe.

Human Patterns over Time
  • Other Cultural Influences
  • Merchant ships traveled to this region during the
    winter monsoons and took Southeast Asian produce
    and animals to other parts of the world.
  • Traders and teachers brought major religions
    (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam) and cultural
    influences that have blended together over the
  • As important as external influences have been,
    indigenous cultural characteristics also have
    shaped the character of this region. One powerful
    urban empire was Angkor (in present-day
  • Family structure and gender roles dating from the
    earliest inhabitants of this region can still be

Human Patterns Over Time
  • Colonialism
  • Over the past five centuries, Japan, Europe, and
    the United States have influenced Southeast Asia.
  • The Portuguese, who arrived earlier in the
    region, stirred up animosities with their
    anti-Islamic policy. The Spanish who came later
    were more pragmatic and ruled the Philippines for
    400 years.
  • The Dutch were very successful economically with
    their Dutch East India Company. Its headquarters
    was in Batavia (Jakarta) on the island of Java.

Human Patterns Over Time
  • Colonialism
  • Islamic religious movements resisted the
    heavy-handed Dutch who forced agriculturalists
    onto their coffee, sugar, and indigo plantations.
    Loathing for these practices spread the Islamic
  • In the early nineteenth century, the British
    founded the British East India Company it
    controlled ports in Malaysia and thus the trade
    through the Straits of Malacca.
  • The British annexed Burma in 1885 to gain trade
    routes to China and control of some fine tropical

Human Patterns Over Time
  • Colonialism
  • French Catholic missionaries sought converts in
    the Indochina area, and France colonized in the
    nineteenth century.
  • Only Thailand remained independent and protected
    itself by undergoing a massive European-style
    modernization. Thailands location made it the
    perfect buffer between the competing interests of
    Britain and France.

Human Patterns Over Time
  • Struggles for Independence
  • The Philippines started the independence movement
    with its fight against Spain only to become a
    colony of the United States (1899) as a result of
    the Spanish-American War.
  • The independence movement was delayed until after
    World War II when Europes ability to administer
    its colonies was badly damaged by the Japanese.
  • Singapore had to wait until the 1960s to become

Human Patterns Over Time
  • Struggles for Independence
  • Indochina became nominally independent in 1949,
    but in the midst of nationalistic movements
    against the French, the influence of the
    communists grew. France was finally defeated in
    Vietnam in 1954.
  • Later, the Americans took up the cause of trying
    to contain the spread of communism, and the
    Vietnam War dragged on until 4.5 million people
    were killed, and the rural countryside and
    vegetation were decimated by defoliants. North
    and South Vietnam were united under communist
    leadership in 1975.

Human Patterns Over Time
  • Struggles for Independence
  • Cambodia suffered under the Khmer Rouge, a rabid
    revolutionary group whose aim seemed to be
    creating a rural communist society. One-quarter
    of the population (2 million people) are
    estimated to have been killed until Vietnam
    invaded Cambodia and ridded the country of the
    Khmer Rouge while exacting damage of its own.
  • Independence elsewhere in the region has meant
    peace, but also a type of neocolonialism in which
    major markets for the countries products are the
    former colonizers. Competition among these
    nations is stiff and wages are kept low with
    little regard for health or safety considerations.

C. Population Patterns
  • Despite the overall large population of the
    region (more than 500 million), significant areas
    have population voids.
  • Small groups of indigenous people have lived here
    for thousands of years, but are now losing
    subsistence land to logging and commercial
  • The population is crowded onto dense rural
    patches, especially river deltas and in
    increasingly large and often unmanageable cities.

Population Patterns
  • Population Dynamics
  • Fertility rates are decreasing throughout the
    region, but Thailand is an example of a country
    where the typical inverse relationship between
    birth rate and wealth is not the case. The
    extremely poor countries of the region (Laos and
    Cambodia) demonstrate the expected relationship
    and have very high infant mortality rates.
  • Because of socialist family planning education
    and increased job opportunities for women outside
    the home, infant mortality and birth rates are
    dropping in Vietnam.
  • Use of birth control is higher in Southeast Asia
    (51 percent) than in South Asia (42).

Population Patterns
  • Population Dynamics
  • Singapores government is concerned about low
    fertility rates that are not at replacement
  • Fertility rates are likely to drop further when
    birth control technology is more readily
    available to women desiring fewer children.
  • Given Southeast Asias relatively small land area
    and rising levels of consumer demand, population
    pressure on land, soil, water, and forest
    resources will remain a major public issue for
    years to come.

Population Patterns
  • Southeast Asias AIDS Tragedy
  • HIV infection is growing across Southeast Asia
    with Burma and Thailand having the highest
    infection rates. AIDS is Thailands leading cause
    of death.
  • Attitudes will have to change for the rate to
    diminish in Thailand, a visit to a brothel is
    considered a male right of passage.
  • Open discussions and expressions about sexuality
    are not the norm in the region this helps to
    spread the disease.

  • Southeast Asia has often responded in unique ways
    to the forces at work elsewhere around the third
    world history of colonial rule, uneven
    development, disparities of wealth, expanding
    links to the global economy, diversity of
    cultural, and religious groups.
  • Because the region has developed rapidly since
    World War II, it is often cited as a proving
    ground for development strategies that may be
    usable elsewhere.

Political Issues
  • High economic growth rates since the mid-1980s
    have earned some of the countries in Southeast
    Asia accolades as economic tigers.
  • Beginning in 1997, economic growth stagnated and
    political instability increased. Political
    leaders inappropriate responses deterred foreign
  • By 2003, economic recovery helped reduce the
    number of people living in poverty.
  • Southeast Asian economies are grounded in
    agriculture, service and industry

Economic and Political Issues
  • Agriculture
  • Although 60 percent of the population still live
    in rural villages and are sustained by
    agriculture, the contribution of agricultural
    production to the regions economy declines.
    Today it accounts for less that one-sixth of the
    economic output.
  • Slash-and-burn (shifting or swidden) cultivation
    is practiced by subsistence farmers in the hills
    and uplands where population densities are low.
  • Wet (paddy) rice is practiced in river valleys
    and deltas and on rich volcanic soils. It is
    sustainable over long periods with careful
    management. In many areas, this form of
    agriculture has transformed the landscape with
    carefully planned rice terraces.

Economic and Political Issues
  • Agriculture
  • Mechanization and broadcasting the seed
    (vis-à-vis planting seedlings) makes it possible
    to grow rice part-time, but the yields are lower.
  • Commercial farming is practiced with plantation
    crops using fertilizers and high yielding
    varieties (e.g., the Green Revolution). Some of
    these practices involve clear-cutting and other
    nonsustainable methods.

Economic and Political Issues
  • Patterns of Industrialization
  • Generally, the poorer countries of the region and
    rural areas of the economically advanced
    countries are dependent on agriculture, fishing,
    and forestry.
  • In urban and suburban areas of the wealthier
    countries, manufacturing is important. Most of it
    is classic low-wage work, but in a few areas
    there may be petroleum refineries, chemical
    plants, and computer equipment manufacturers.
  • The star that stands above the rest is Singapore,
    with the worlds busiest port, a well-developed
    financial sector, and high-tech production.
  • Government policies from the 1960s to the 1990s
    resulted in sustained economic growth.

Economic and Political Issues
  • EPZs
  • In the 1970s the region adopted a strategy aimed
    at manufacturing products for export to developed
  • Foreign multinational corporations were attracted
    to export processing zones (EPZs)or free trade
  • EPZs generally employ an entirely female labor
    force. The feminization of labor is a distinct
    characteristic of globalization of the past three

Economic and Political Issues
  • Growth Triangles
  • Much success in the region is based on the
    emergence of growth triangles or economic zones
    to take advantage of location, low-cost
    manufacturing, and connections with the global
  • The method of subcontracting, common among the
    multinational firms, makes it difficult to hold
    the parent company responsible for poor wages,
    long hours, and adverse working conditions. The
    example of Nike shoes is highlighted.

Economic and Political Issues
  • Tourism development
  • Southeast Asia views tourism as a key role in
    economic development because it continues to make
    significant contributions to individual
    countries coffers.
  • Tourism may threaten cultural historical sites
    and local cultures as well as the local natural

Economic and Political Issues
  • Tourism and the sex industry
  • Sex tourism had its start with the sexual
    entertainment industry that served foreign
    military troops stationed in Asia after World War
    II and during the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam.
  • Sex tourism is expanding throughout the region
    especially when some countries encourage sex
    tourism to create jobs.
  • Sex workers appear to earn higher wages than
    counterparts in other industries. However, abuses
    occur, especially where local demand is greatest.

Economic and Political Issues
  • Tourism and the sex industry
  • It is the custom for young men to visit brothels
    upon reaching puberty, and a majority of the
    adult male population in Thailand regularly
    visits brothels.
  • Corrupt public officials earn illegal, untaxed
    income from bribes.
  • Organized crime is growing and girls and young
    women are sold by families to become sex workers.

Economic and Political Issues
  • Economic Crisis and Recovery The Perils of
  • In 1997, a wave of financial failures and crises
    swept over the region. A major cause was the
    rapid shift of most Southeast Asian economies
    away from government regulation toward the free
    market. A second factor was widespread
  • By the late 1980s, the governments were opening
    up to international investment and markets.
  • To increase profits, banks often invested in
    risky ventures by the mid-1990s there was a glut
    of office space all over the region, prices
    plummeted, and many banks defaulted.

Economic and Political Issues
  • Economic Crisis and Recovery The Perils of
  • In Indonesia and elsewhere, leaders often made
    risky loans to their families and friends (crony
  • By 1997, the huge net inflow of investment into
    the region from the United States turned into a
    net outflow.
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) came to the
    rescue, but the bailout has to be paid back in
    tax revenues that will hurt subsidy programs for
    the poor.
  • By 2000, the economic recovery was apparently
    under way, and by 2001, economies registered
    positive growth rates.

Economic and Political Issues
  • Consequences of the Economic Crisis
  • Low-income people have suffered the most they
    lost jobs and had small economic cushions upon
    which to rely.
  • Southeast Asian currencies were devalued
    increased prices affected all consumers.
  • Many urban workers who no longer have connections
    to the countryside cannot get help in the form of
    food during hard times.
  • The region realized the implications of too great
    a dependency on foreign investment, and when it
    is withdrawn, the region suffers.
  • The external debt of all affected countries
    remains high.

Economic and Political Issues
  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations
  • The Southeast Asian countries trade on a much
    larger scale with rich countries than they do
    with one another.
  • Started in 1967 as a bulwark anticommunist,
    anti-China organization, the Association of
    Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) continues to be
    important both politically and economically.
  • Regional cooperation has been enhanced, such as
    the establishment of a nuclear weapons free zone.
  • The ASEAN is assembling a free-trade association
    (ASEAN Free Trade Association-AFTA) patterned
    after the North American Free Trade Agreement and
    the European Union.

Economic and Political Issues
  • Pressures for Democracy and Self-Rule
  • Some have argued that the region may never enjoy
    the freedom and democracy of other regions
    because the Asian values of conformity to the
    community are not compatible with individualism.
    Asian values are supposedly grounded on the
    Confucian view that individuals should be
    submissive to authority.

Economic and Political Issues
  • Is Indonesia Breaking Up?
  • Independence movements have sprouted in four
    distinct areas.
  • A new independent nation is forming in East
  • The large far eastern province of West Papua has
    a growing separatist movement.
  • Religious clashes in the Molucca Islands pit
    Christians and Muslims against one another.
  • Jakarta tries to appease these movements by
    giving people in separatist areas greater control
    over their own affairs, but it is wary that such
    autonomy may lead to demands for independence.

Economic and Political Issues
  • Progress Toward Democracy
  • Increased economic growth and literacy provide
    people with tools to question existing regimes.
    Massive demonstrations led to Suhartos
    resignation and the promise of democratic
    elections in Indonesia.
  • The military regime in Burma appears
    intransigent, despite the reform efforts by Aung
    San Suu Kyi.

Economic and Political Issues
  • International Terrorism
  • Local groups have connections with international
    terrorist networks
  • Governments struggle to cope with terrorist
    activities because of inefficient and/or
    under-funded security forces.
  • Governments fail to address local issues that
    fuel militancy

Economic and Political Issues
  • Modern-Day Pirates
  • Piracy is increasing in the region.
  • The physical geography of the region is conducive
    to the rise of piracy.
  • Pirates act in collusion with corrupt officials
    or organized crime.

  • Culturally complex societies can often be in
    precarious balance if national mores fail to help
    citizens relate well across ethnic and religious

B. Sociocultural Issues
  • Cultural Pluralism
  • Southeast Asia is a place of cultural complexity.
    Despite some indigenous peoples, most residents
    are a cultural and biological mix of many ethnic
  • Adding to this diversity, there has been
    in-migration into the region.
  • Until very recently, the various ethnic and
    cultural groups, often living in proximity,
    failed to create a melting pot. Now that
    uniqueness is being lost to the homogenizing
    forces of industrialization and globalization.

B. Sociocultural Issues
  • The Overseas Chinese
  • One group that is important beyond its sheer
    numbers is the Overseas (or Ethnic) Chinese. The
    trickle of Chinese migration that began thousands
    of years ago, and increased over the last 500
    years, became a flood with the communist takeover
    of China in 1949.
  • The Overseas Chinese are industrious and
    prosperous, with region-wide connections and
    access to start-up money.
  • Such success often breeds discontent among
    non-Chinese who blame the Overseas Chinese when
    economic struggles arise.

Sociocultural Issues
  • Religious Pluralism
  • Only animism is native to the region. All other
    religions were introduced by traders, colonists,
    or missionaries. Traditional practices are often
    blended with newly introduced religions.
    Christians and Hindus in Indonesia have to accede
    to some of the practices of the major Muslim
  • Divorce is fairly common among the Muslim people
    in Indonesia and Malaysia, perhaps because of the
    influence of ancient traditional mating customs.

Sociocultural Issues
  • Family, Work, and Gender
  • Family organization in Southeast Asia is
    variable. Patriarchal overlay derives from the
    major religions, but some interesting variations
    and practices are evident.

Sociocultural Issues
  • Family Patterns
  • Couples often live with the wifes parents, even
    in predominately Islamic areas.
  • Various family practices help to empower a woman
    within the marriage bonds.
  • Urban families are often nuclear in the early
    years of marriage, with a limited pool of
    extended kin for child care.
  • Family money management is usually the womans

Sociocultural Issues
  • Work Patterns
  • Agriculture is gradually changing from small-plot
    cultivators to larger commercial operations.
    Large tracts produce oil palm, cacao, rubber, and
    tea for export.
  • Many part-time farmers supplement their urban
    earnings with their farm income.
  • Men continue to work in agriculture,
    construction, and services as well as in
  • Women are increasing their numbers in
    manufacturing sector jobs but their wages average
    only about one-half those of men.

Sociocultural Issues
  • Migration
  • Rural-to-Urban Migration
  • Individuals and families leave rural areas to
    escape poverty in the countryside. Commercial
    agriculture often displaces subsistence
    cultivators who must then obtain cash to buy what
    they need.
  • Migrants often leave behind young and old family
    members, whom they in turn support by

Sociocultural Issues
  • Resettlement
  • Resettlement schemes move groups of rural people
    from overpopulated areas to less dense areas.
    Numerous reasons for this transmigration include
    food production, regional development, national
    integration, and population redistribution.
  • Resettlement schemes are not always welcomed by
    indigenous people who are displaced or find their
    subsistence agriculture compromised by the influx
    of new farmers.

Sociocultural Issues
  • Migration out of the Region
  • Extraregional migration for the purpose of short-
    and long-term stays allows skilled workers to
    find higher-paying jobs in other parts of the
  • Refugees from Conflict
  • Forced migration still plays a role in the
    movement of people. War is the most prevalent

Sociocultural Issues
  • The Sex Industry
  • Sex tourism had its start with the sexual
    entertainment industry that served foreign
    military troops stationed in Asia after World War
    II and during the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam.
  • Some countries governments encourage sex tourism
    to create jobs.
  • Sex workers appear to earn higher wages than
    counterparts in other industries. However, abuses
    occur, especially where local demand is greatest.
  • It is the custom for young men to visit brothels
    upon reaching puberty, and a majority of the
    adult male population in Thailand regularly
    visits brothels.
  • Some of the sex workers have been sold by their
    families into the brothels. Others earn far too
    little to be able to buy their way out.

  • Environments are deteriorating because of
    population pressures and economic activities,
    including logging, mining, and commercial
  • Resources are extracted, then sold abroad. Only a
    fraction of profits are reinvested in host

Environmental Issues
  • Deforestation
  • Between 13 and 19 square miles (3000 to 5000
    hectares) of Southeast Asias rain forests are
    destroyed each day, a rate 50 percent faster than
    the Amazon.
  • Estimates are that 20 percent of the forests are
    lost to legal logging operations and
    infrastructure improvement, 25 percent to
    resettlement schemes, and 55 percent to
    commercial agriculture and shifting cultivation.
  • The problem is that too many people are making
    demands on the land and resources. Erosion and
    soil depletion are serious issues.
  • The Philippines has lost its old-growth forests.
    Secondary forest will regrow after the first
    cutting, but it will not have the diversity of
    species of the original forest.

Environmental Issues
  • Mining
  • Mechanical strip-mining is highly disruptive to
    the land.
  • International mining interests know that
    environmental laws are nonexistent or unenforced
    (e.g., the 13,000-foot open-pit multimineral mine
    in West Papua). Tailings pollute the streams
    flooding has been exacerbated.
  • Clashes reflect the conflict between the
    interests of local, isolated politically weak
    indigenous peoples and national governments
    focused on rapid economic development

Environmental Issues
  • Air Pollution
  • Twice in the 1990s, Southeast Asia experienced
    harmful air quality. The culprit was the smoke
    from the burning of the rain forest, exacerbated
    by unique weather events (perhaps relating to the
    El Niño phenomenon).
  • Pollution from the use of oil and gas is already
    a severe problem. Automobile use is likely to
    increase in the coming years.

  • GDP per capita varies radically between states of
    the region from very high (in Singapore) to
    moderately high (in oil-rich Brunei, Malaysia,
    and Thailand) to very low (in Cambodia, Laos, and
  • Also, there is a good deal of variance in the
    UNs Human Development Index (HDI). Singapores
    value is very high and those for Cambodia, Laos,
    Burma, and Vietnam are among the bottom third.
  • The UNs Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) has
    missing data for five countries in the region.
    Singapore has the highest value in the region,
    indicating that women have employment
    opportunities, albeit at lower wages than men. In
    the Philippines and Malaysia, women with nursing
    and technical training have opportunities
    (especially outside the region), but poor women
    may not. Compared to South Asia or Africa, women
    are gaining some ground toward equal treatment.