Culture Realms of Southeast Asia Term Paper

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The population in Indonesia is 202,110,000, with people speaking the Javenese language. The religion of Indonesia is Sunni Muslim, and the majority of people there live to be 63 years old, with 1 out of 100 people owning cars. Indonesia is a mixed economy with many socialist institutions and central planning but with a recent emphasis on deregulation and private enterprise. Indonesia has extensive natural wealth, yet, with a large and rapidly increasing population, it remains a poor country. In Indonesia, underemployment is widespread, a result of about 2.3 million workers annually entering the labor force. Once the world's largest rice importer, Indonesia is now nearly self-sufficient.

The oil sector dominates the external economy, generating more than 20% of the government's revenues and 40% of export earnings, however, the economy's growth is highly dependent on the continuing expansion of non-oil exports. The Indonesian form of currency is called the rupiah, and the rapid growth in the money supply in 1989-90 prompted the country to implement a tight monetary policy in 1991, forcing the private sector to go to foreign banks for investment financing.


Laos is located in south-east Asia between Vietnam and Thailand, occupying a total area of 236,800 sq km of which 230,800 sq km is on land. Laos has a tropical monsoon climate, with a rainy season from May to November and a dry season from December to April. This part of Asia is home to many peoples, and in the lush river valleys and plains, mend and women work in flooded rice paddies. Many wear broad straw hats to keep off the hot sun or the monsoon rains. The terrain is mostly rugged mountains with some plains and plateaus; natural resources include timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold and gemstones. In the mountains and hills, villagers grow sweet potatoes and hunt in the forests. Laos has a total population of 5,407,453, with Laos nationals speaking the Lao language. The predominant religion is Buddhist, and although Laos is the official language, English and French are also spoken. The average life expectancy rate in Laos is 54 years of age, and.1% of all people there own cars.

The country is known officially as Lao People's Democratic Republic and Laos is a communist state with the capital in Vientiane. The Laos flag consists of three horizontal bands of red (top), blue (double width), and red with a large white disk centered in the blue band. One of the world's poorest nations, Laos has had a Communist centrally planned economy with government ownership and control of productive enterprises of any size. In recent years, however, the government has been decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise. The form of currency used in Laos is called the kip; in Laos there are no railroads, but instead a rudimentary road system, limited external and internal telecommunications, and electricity available in only a limited area. Subsistence agriculture is the main occupation, accounting for over 60% of GDP and providing about 85-90% of total employment. The predominant crop is rice, but Laos really depends on survival aid for survival, however, aid from Eastern Europe has been cut sharply.


Malaysia is located in south-east Asia bordering the South China Sea between Vietnam and Indonesia, occupying a total area of 329,750 sq km of which 328,550 sq km is on land. The country has 2,669 km of land boundaries and 4,675 km of coastline, with a tropical climate that is subject to flooding. The terrain consists of costal plains rising to hills and mountains, and natural resources include tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas and bauxite. Malaysia has a population of 20,932,901 people that speak the Malay language. The main religion is Sunni Muslim, and although Malay is the official language, English, Chinese dialects and Tamil are also spoken. The average life expectancy in Malaysia is 71 years of age, and 14 people out of every 100 people own their own cars. The Malaysian government is a constitutional monarchy, and Malaysia's flag consists of fourteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top) alternating with white (bottom). There is a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a yellow crescent and a yellow fourteen-pointed star. The crescent and the star are traditional symbols of Islam.

The Malaysian economy, a mixture of private enterprise and a soundly managed public sector, has posted a remarkable record of 8%-9% average growth in 1987-92. This growth has resulted in a substantial reduction in poverty and a marked rise in real wages. A demand for Malaysian goods has remained strong and foreign investors have continued to commit large sums in the economy. The government is aware of the inflationary potential of this rapid development and is closely monitoring fiscal and monetary policies. The form of currency used in Malaysia is called the ringgit.

Malaysia has 1,801 km of railroads, 29,026 km of highways and 7,296 km of inland waterways, and about 100 airports. The recent real estate developments that have occurred in Malaysia indicate the flourishing economy in the country. When the twin Petronas Towers building in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia opened in 1996, it became the world's tallest building at 1,483 feet.


Southwest Asia's border with the Pacific Ocean is formed by a scattering of more than 7,000 tropical islands made up of coral and volcanic rocks. These islands make up the Philippines, covering an area of 300,000 sq km, 298,170 sq km is on land and 36,289 km of coastline. The Philippine climate is warm and humid, but substantially cooler in the mountains. The Philippines have a tropical marine climate, with north-east monsoon from November to April and south-west monsoon from May to October.

It is astride the typhoon belt and usually stuck by five to six cyclonic storms per year. Some of the islands have volcanoes that erupt from time to time, and earthquakes are common as well. The terrain is mostly mountainous with narrow to extensive coastal lowlands, and water buffalo plow the terraced rice paddies that are located around lush green hillsides. The Philippines have a total population of 79,345,812, and nationals of Philippines speak the Filipino language. The predominant religion is Roman Catholic at 83%, and the rest are Protestant or Muslim. The average life expectancy in the Philippines is 66 years of age, and 1 person out of every 100 people there own their own cars. Some Philippines live in the country, but the majority live in the towns and cities.

The city of Manila in the Philippines has many manufacturing industries, which include textiles, garments, electrical goods, cane furniture, and food processing. Pineapples are a major crop in the Philippines and are not harvested only for their fruit. Their fiber is used to weave a fabric that is made into the embroidered shirts worn by many men in the religious festivals on the Philippines. A marked increase in capital goods imports, particularly power generations equipment, telecommunications equipment, and electronic data processors, have contributed to a 20.5% import growth in the Philippines. The Philippines have 378 km of railroads, 157,450 km of highways and 3,219 km of inland waterways, and there are about 240 small airports. Communication services on the islands are adequate, and the form of currency used is the peso.


As indicated above, the region that covers Southeast Asia includes many different countries located next to each other or separated by rivers. These countries share some similarities between each other, but also display several differences, as illustrated in the sections above. Some of these countries are poorer than others, and rice remains to be one of the primary crops. In recent years a few of the countries have performed better economically speaking than others that depend on international monetary assistance for survival. It appears that the majority of people in this region are Muslim or Buddhist followers, and the average life expectancy rate is lower than its for other countries, such as the United States. The region of Southeast Asia appears to be one that celebrates and honors many different culture realms.

Scholastic Inc. Atlas of the World. (United Kingdom: Miles Kelly Publishing Ltd., 2001), 152.

Scholastic Inc. Atlas of the World. (United Kingdom: Miles Kelly Publishing Ltd., 2001), 154.

Sunsite.nus, "South-East Asia Information"; Available at Accessed 21 Sept. 2007.

Scholastic Inc. Atlas of the World. (United Kingdom: Miles Kelly Publishing Ltd., 2001), 150.

Scholastic Inc. Atlas of the World. (United Kingdom: Miles Kelly Publishing Ltd., 2001), 151.

Sunsite.nus, "South-East Asia Information"; Available at Accessed 21 Sept. 2007.

Scholastic Inc. Atlas of the World. (United Kingdom: Miles Kelly Publishing Ltd., 2001), 150.

Sunsite.nus, "South-East Asia Information"; Available at Accessed 21 Sept. 2007.

Scholastic Inc. Atlas of the World. (United Kingdom: Miles Kelly Publishing Ltd., 2001), 153.

Sunsite.nus, "South-East Asia Information"; Available at Accessed 21 Sept. 2007.

Scholastic Inc. Atlas of the World. (United Kingdom: Miles…[continue]

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