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Southeast Asia in a New Era

Ten Countries, One Region in ASEAN

Rodolfo C Severino, Elspeth Thomson and Mark Hong

Publication Year: 2009

This book is about Southeast Asia in a new era. This new era began with a new century and a new millennium posing great challenges to the region and to each country in it. It has a chapter on each of the ten countries in the region, covering both the politics and the economic aspects. It has one on the region as a whole, and one on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It has a thoughtful afterword that is a summary of its contents but is more than the sum of the individual chapters. Many books and chapters of books have been written on Southeast Asia, usually by external observers. Aside from being up-to-date, this book is different from most of them in several ways. Most of the chapters are written by Southeast Asians; indeed, most of the country-chapters are written by natives of those countries. This means that the perspectives are based on local insights, which provide nuance and sensitivity. The book is addressed primarily to the young people of Southeast Asia, so that they can get to know their neighbours better. Each chapter has a guide to further reading and a series of questions to provoke further research and deeper inquiry.

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

Unlike most of the existing publications on ASEAN, this volume focuses not on ASEAN as a regional entity but on the ten countries that compose the whole. It is this approach that makes this an interesting and useful volume, and which complements well the recently...

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pp. ix-x

This book arises out of the conjunction of several events and objectives. The events include the celebration of ASEAN’s fortieth anniversary as well as ISEAS’ own fortieth anniversary in 2008: what better way to commemorate these two significant anniversary years...

About the Contributors

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pp. xi-xviii


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pp. xix-xx

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1. Southeast Asia: An Overview

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pp. 3-26

Lying between China and India to the north and northwest, respectively, and Australia to the south, Southeast Asia straddles 30 degrees of latitude and over 40 degrees of longitude at its widest in Indonesia. The distance from the northern tip of Aceh...

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2. Brunei Darussalam

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pp. 27-46

Brunei Darussalam, translated as Brunei Abode of Peace, is the smallest and youngest of the ASEAN states. Although it is new in terms of independent statehood, it has a long history. Its unique identity was emphasized in the Proclamation of Independence of Brunei Darussalam...

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3. Cambodia

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pp. 47-66

Bordering Thailand in the west, Laos in the north, and Vietnam in the east, Cambodia became a member of ASEAN in 1999. The country has a total population of 14,241,640 (2008 estimate) and a land area of 181,035 square kilometres...

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4. Indonesia

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pp. 67-96

The Republic of Indonesia is the largest archipelagic state in the world, located in Southeast Asia and stretching along the equator between the Asian and Australian continents and between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The name “Indonesia” derives from the Latin...

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5. Laos

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pp. 97-112

In the first centuries CE, Laos was inhabited by people who spoke Austro- Asiatic languages, a family to which Mon and Khmer belong. Southern Laos, in the vicinity of Champasak, was the centre of an early Cambodian kingdom, described in Chinese texts as “Land Zhenla”...

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6. Malaysia

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pp. 113-134

Like most countries in Southeast Asia, the Federation of Malaysia that we see today gained its contours through colonial contingencies. Apparently, the first contact that the peninsula had with Europeans was made in August 1511, when the Portuguese attacked the port of Malacca...

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7. Myanmar

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pp. 135-160

Myanmar’s official name has changed thrice since the country gained independence from Britain on 4 January 1948. The name was then changed from the colonial “Burma” to the “Union of Burma”. In March 1974, it became “The Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma”...

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8. The Philippines

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pp. 161-180

The Philippines claims to be the oldest democracy in Southeast Asia. More than two decades after the first “People Power Revolution” in 1986, however, it is still struggling to build a stable and prosperous nation whose people jealously guard their freedom and the democratic way of life...

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9. Singapore

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pp. 181-200

Modern, multicultural, efficient, and dynamic are words often used to describe Singapore. In the light of its history, the composition of its population, and the blend of the traditional and modern in its people’s way of life, this is hardly surprising. Throughout Singapore’s history...

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10. Thailand

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pp. 201-222

It is unanimously agreed by visitors that the “Land of Smiles” is an apt description of Thailand. This is so because the Thais are generally friendly and hospitable towards outsiders. Today, friendliness has become one of Thailand’s most recognizable national traits....

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11. Vietnam

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pp. 223-242

Shaped like an elongated S, Vietnam is located on the southeast side of the Indochinese peninsula, bordered by the East Sea and the Pacific Ocean to the east, China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, and the Gulf of Thailand to the south...

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12. The Association of Southeast Asian Studies

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pp. 243-268

No discussion of Southeast Asia as a region is complete without touching on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN. ASEAN is the institution that has brought the countries of Southeast Asia together. It is ASEAN that deals with the world on behalf of Southeast Asia as a whole...

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13. Afterword: Southeast Asia in a New Era

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pp. 269-281

By promoting an understanding of ASEAN’s great diversity, we hope that this book will serve as an important step in creating a caring and prosperous community of the different peoples of Southeast Asia. Greater understanding can result in increased empathy...

E-ISBN-13: 9789812309587
Print-ISBN-13: 9789812309570

Page Count: 281
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: 1