Southeast Asia, an undefined term for Asia east of India and south of China and Japan. Many of the countries experienced in the late 1900-t high economic growth, and the term SEA-Asia is often used in the context of this finding (see, inter alia, The Little Tigers). Defined by Countryaah official site, the region usually includes Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Indonesia. They are now all members of ASEAN.
SEA Asia is one of the world’s most densely populated areas. Traditionally, the populations have been dependent on intensive rice farming, but now several of the countries are on their way to a status as modern island countries.
Southeast Asia Peoples
Characteristic of most countries in South Asia is the colonial past and an ethnic complexity (see plural society). The colonial powers introduced fixed borders and fixed ethnic affiliations and designations as timeless units of the past. Upon independence after World War II, the countries had to define themselves as modern nations spanning many different peoples in addition to the majority. The modern ethnic classifications are therefore often a political showdown with the colonial past; thus in Myanmar (Burma), where the regime claims that in addition to the largest group (Burmese) there are 135 different “national races” gathered under one common Myanmar identity as opposed to the 8-10 “races”, i.e. larger ethnic groups as defined by the British.
In Malaysia, special laws were introduced for bumiputra (‘sons of the country’), Muslims and of Malay descent, who made up 50% of the population after independence. The laws were to secure the indigenous people from the domination of the Chinese and Indians, who immigrated at the instigation of the British colonial power. In addition, there are a number of ethnic minorities, including Dayak and Penan in Sarawak and Semang, often referred to as the indigenous population.
By Vietnam’s independence, Ho Chi Minh defined 54 nationalities and promised minorities autonomous territories, which, however, were never created; kinh (viêt) makes up approximately 87% of the population and the 53 minorities are divided into over 100 smaller groups. Thailand was not directly colonized, but had its borders imposed by Britain and France. Ethnic Thais make up the largest group in the country, and the ethnic minorities only a few percent. In Laos, the group lao makes up approximately 70% of the population. In Cambodia, Khmer constitutes-the people the largest group, the rest are mainly Chinese and Vietnamese minorities. In the Philippines, which was first a Spanish and later an American colony, the majority are different Malay peoples, people of Filipino-Spanish and Filipino-Chinese origin, while the so-called indigenous cultural communities, ie. ethnic minorities, make up approximately 8%.
Indonesia has the largest ethnic diversity with approximately 300 different groups divided between Muslims, Christians and Hindus. There have been numerous ethnic uprisings since 1945; both majorities and minorities have turned their attention to their ethnic boundaries, and ethnicity, nationality, and national boundaries are constantly changing.
Southeast Asia Language
SEA is a linguistically complex area, and the national languages belong to four very different language families: Burmese is a Tibeto-Burmese language, Thai and Lao Thai languages, Khmer and Vietnamese Mon-Khmer languages, and Baha Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia as well. Filipino Austronesian languages; in addition, there are a very large number of minority languages within the mentioned language families. The Karen languages form a special family within the Sino-Tibetan language family, and the Miao-Yao languages Hmong and Mien have similarities with both Sino-Tibetan and Tai. Finally, in our time there is a significant influx of Chinese andIndo-Aryan languages in Southeast Asia.
This tangle of language is of old date, but not original. Most of the language families seem to have spread from about the same area in southeastern China, the Tibeto-Burmese languages especially to the west, the Austronesian languages via Taiwan to archipelagos to the east and south, and the Thai languages to central Southeast Asia. The Southeast Asian mainland has from early times been the core area of the Austro-Asian Mon-Khmer languages with Mon and Khmer as two ancient cultural languages; however, in the western and central parts of the area they have been pushed back by Burmese and Thai.
Southeast Asia Music
South Asian music is far less described than both West and East Asian music. In particular, the music of the area’s many ethnic minorities is only rarely mentioned, but is very versatile.
Two materials have been important for music development: bamboo and bronze, but while bamboo instruments have not attracted much attention among musicologists, the gong ensembles are well documented. The great ensembles from Java and Bali (see gamelan) are the best known and most sophisticated, but far from the only ones. Throughout the area there are small and large ensembles with gongs as the instrumental core, including both hanging and lying gongs, possibly. in voted rows. The Southeast Asian gongs are characterized by having a knob in the middle (as opposed to the East Asian flat gongs). The instruments are most often made of bronze, but in certain areas, e.g. iron. In addition to tuned gongs, metallophones are used in many of the larger ensembles as well as instrument types such as flutes, xylophones, drums and string instruments.
The music is melodic and built over a rhythmic skeleton of beats on the big gongs (colotomy). Above, the melodic layers are laid one by one, not in the form of harmonies, improvisations or polyphony, but as a central core melody with relatively fixed replays, doublings or multiples and variations on high-sounding instruments. In particular, even-floating seven-tone scales are used, from which changing fifteen-tone scales are selected. Within this tightly structured and hierarchical form of composition, the tone density, ie. the number of tones in a measured period of time, eg a gong cycle, a typical phenomenon. The beats are symmetrical in contrast to both West and South Asia, and the compositions are very regular, if not exactly symmetrical.
The gong ensembles are found both within the art music of the courts, on ceremonial and religious occasions and in more humble versions such as in the popular groups of the cities. At the same time, they have played an important role in tourism, which has helped to strengthen their central place as national symbols. However, there are also many other ensemble forms, comprehensive bamboo instruments with strings, flutes and percussion. These instruments are used in art music, especially in chamber music and solo genres. In addition, they are widespread among the rural populations of most of the countries.
The Chinese influence on music has been limited to certain areas, not least Vietnam’s art music and art and urban music in other areas with large Chinese immigration; moreover, it is found among the minority groups close to China. Here, the crisp melodic lines dominate from intimate chamber musical instruments or from various drums, cymbals, etc. within theater music.
Muslim and Indian influence prevailed in the 1200’s-1600’s, both through mass migration, intensive trade relations and conquests from both West Asia and from the then Muslim India. A number of instruments (including ud, rebab and zurna) have Arabic-Indian roots. With the great epic narratives Mahabharata and Ramayana as a starting point, the area’s theatrical traditions are often related to each other, and since then, the Arab and especially Indian popular music, film music, has left its mark on the soundscapes of the cities.
Minority groups with high status in the world community have particularly influenced music in recent times. In addition, Indian popular music continues to play a significant role along with the European-American forms of culture, which are increasingly gaining ground in modern cities and in mass culture.
Southeast Asia Cuisine
The cuisine of the area is a refined, rich and cosmopolitan mixed cuisine with influences from Chinese, Indian and Polynesian food culture.
The most common animal raw materials are chickens, ducks, fish and shellfish, which do not encounter religiously restricted restrictions; Muslims use some beef, while pork is important among Buddhists (roasted suckling pig).
Fruit is used in line with vegetables as an accompaniment in dishes, while both also appear raw in salads (contrary to Chinese practice). The fruit selection is very large: pineapple, durio, ginkgo nut, kumquat, litchi, mango, papaya and rambutan in addition to the imported banana and citrus fruits.
Some spices are peculiar to the region. This applies to lemongrass, pastas or extracts of fermented fish or shellfish, eg nam pla in Thailand and nuoc mâm in Vietnam, and a species of small green lemons (Citrus hystrix) with a stronger aroma than lime. The food is seasoned vigorously; Spanish pepper, ginger, saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg and all the other spices of the Orient appear in various compositions combined with coconut paste, garlic, shallots, lemon balm and coriander. Indonesian sambal are ready-made sauces dominated by chili in salty, sour and sweet varieties.
The meal traditionally consists of several dishes served at once with browned rice or noodles. Soups and stews of fish, meat, fruit and vegetables such as Indonesian nasi goreng are accompanied by garnishes such as grated fresh or fried coconut, banana slices, raw cucumber and other softening accessories. Spring rolls in different versions are also popular. See also Thailand (cuisine).
Southeast Asia History
An important feature of the early history of Southeast Asia is the strong influence of India and China, which gained momentum especially as areas in Southeast Asia became part of the trade between India and China in the first centuries AD. From India came Hinduism, Buddhism and later Islam as well as architecture, literature and theories of state organization. The Chinese influence was strongest in Vietnam, which until about the year 1000 was under Chinese rule. The first major state formations in the region, such as Funan (approximately 100-550) and Angkor (approximately 900-1431) in Cambodia and Srivijaya (approximately 600-approx. 1100-t.) On Sumatra, were strongly influenced by Indian civilization and are known as the “Indianized” states.
From about 1300-t. followed a new period with a higher degree of political and cultural integration, in which the larger Southeast Asian civilizations that came to dominate the region took a distinct form. This included Ava (1364-1783) in Myanmar, Le Dynasty (1428-1787) in Vietnam, Ayutthaya (1351-1767) in Siam (Thailand), Majapahit (1294-approx. 1520) in Java and the Malacca Sultanate (approximately 1400-1511) on the Malacca Peninsula. In the 1400’s. Islam came to SEA-Asia, and in the late 1600-t. dominated this religion on the islands, while Theravada Buddhism was prevalent on the mainland. The European powers came to the region in the 1500’s. and gradually increased their influence until the whole area with the exception of Siam in the late 1800-t. was under colonial rule. The Japanese occupation of the area under 2. World War II served as an important stimulus for the anti-colonial nationalism that met the recurring colonial powers after the war. In the late 1950’s, the majority of countries were independent. Efforts to consolidate the independent states led to increasing interference from the great powers in the form of military and economic aid. It culminated in the US deployment of troops in Vietnam from the mid-1960’s to 1975, when communist regimes came to power in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The first initiative towards establishing a regional cooperation was taken with the formation of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations, refer to Abbreviationfinder official site) in 1967. As a member state, ASEAN originally had only the non-communist countries, but in the 1990’s membership expanded to include all the countries of the region.