Discussion Questions Southeast Asia

Subject: Sociology
Type: Synthesis Essay
Pages: 7
Word count: 1791
Topics: Urbanization, Geography

Question One

Delimitation is the drawing of territorial boundaries to mark areas under control of a particular country, county or municipality. In the case of two or more countries, it sets to prevent or help resolve any dispute that may arise as to who controls what resources. For instance, in the case of South China Sea dispute, nations like China, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia are in disagreement as to who should control the region as it has a high traffic of international trade. 

With the aforementioned countries being coastal states and sharing the Indian and Pacific oceans with United States, Northeast Asia and some Western maritime powers, it is strategically and economically important to many. In total, there are thirty-seven territory arrangements since 1969 categorized as Delimitation Agreement where a boundary is agreed upon and a provisional one with no agreed up boundary states approving to exercise joint management of resources (Davenport, 2012). 

Question Two

A compact shape like that of Belgium and Cambodia is circular, which is easy to manage. The main advantage is that resources are in proximity making it easy to defend. As a disadvantage, these nations are primarily small in size and may lack many natural resources compared to larger states. A protruded state like Thailand, Myanmar, and Oklahoma has an elongated land extension. Such a state has an advantage of easy access to the coast and local natural resources and is also able to bar access by a rival. Governance of such a territory is complicated by the shape itself, which a disadvantage. A perforated nation like South Africa must entirely surround another nation. The main advantage here is that these nations must co-exist since the surrounded nation relies on the other for access. The disadvantage is to the surrounded nation for its dependency. An elongated state like Chile and Vietnam has an advantage as it encloses many landscapes. It is, however, difficult to govern and defend. Fragmented countries like Denmark, Indonesia, and the Philippines have the advantage of vastness. It is, however, difficult to co-ordinate islands making up such a nation due to communication challenges (Rosenberg, 2017). 

The success of a nation is measured by the ability to thrive economically and defend her borders. Ease of governance and coordination is also necessary. A compacted country has all its resources pooled making it easy to utilize and protect them for the good of the residents. 

Question Three

Urbanization in Southeast Asia has been fairly slow with growing urban populations as a result of high rates of natural increase more so in rural areas. Since the countries differ in urban hierarchies, their policy strategies and goals are also different. Traditionally, factors like the search for jobs, health facilities, proper sanitation, educational facilities, transportation and communication, poverty among others force people to move to urban areas. For instance, between the 1950s and 1960s, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines became the first bloc in this region to formulate industrialization-focused plans. Indonesia came up with “eight-year plan comprehensive development” as Thailand launched regulations on industry investment incentives. Flourishing industrialization meant the creation of more jobs and provision of numerous government services leading to urbanization, which was rampant in these nations (Qianqian, 2012). 

Question Four

It is a fact that Chinese rule in Southeast Asia. Economically, they control many high rise businesses and lead in technology development. Since China itself is historically stronger economically and got industrialized at an early age, this exposure led to the immigration into other Asian nations in pursuit of success. Just like the doctor in Bandung admits, the modernity of the Chinese is admirable. As the case is in Indonesia, the three percent of Chinese control nearly sixty percent of the economy. They have participated in the growth of the major cities in Southeast Asia through their professional services in medicine and engineering. Despite all the positivity Chinese bring in this region, the superiority of their home country has affected their relationship with the locals as they feel on top. The need to control the region economically is made obvious by the dispute in the South China Sea. This bullying leads to inequality in the region which is a source of international relations concerning attracting other interested parties like the U.S (Blij, Muller & Nijman, 2014).

Question Five 

Vietnam has made significant strides to open up the space for economical participation and partnership with the rest of the world. To this effect, capitalism and foreign investment have been embraced to spur economic growth and development. However, various challenges do exist lagging behind this urge. Vietnamese development focuses mainly on natural resources like physical and human, which are characteristic of an agrarian economy. Developing industries that are ready for the fast expansion of production rather than quality, technical equipment and productivity has been prioritized. Infrastructure, democratization, and reluctance of the Communist party to share power also play a part in slow growth (Mazyrin, 2013). 

To overcome these challenges, there is a need for investment in infrastructure projects as these are known to be the backbone of any economy. Emphasis should also be laid on the quality of products and services rather than quantity for them to win international market share.

Given that the city has a 100,000 bill of local currency; it is a sign of a weak economy. Transportation is also not as efficient given that one has to commute on motorcycles and tricycles. The presence of power and communication lines is a step towards economic development, but given the nature of building structures, they indicate a less developed city compared to other major cities of the world. The locals seem to enjoy traditional meals betokening a highly valued culture that any tourist would love to experience.

Question Six

Singapore is one degree north of the Equator where the Indian and Pacific oceans meet. Singapore River is the source of economic prowess of the city since the 7th century; then under Sumatran Empire. An eight-meter statue of Merlion, which is half fish and half lion overlooking the river, welcomes tourists here. Buildings around gives the memory of colonial times with a city hall adjacent to the supreme court and the parliament building next to Victoria memorial hall (Videosource Travel Guide, 2011). It is a dynamic city full of color and contrast with a beautiful blend of East and the West. Technology and innovation is top notch given the transportation system by rail in the city and the magnificent buildings and other infrastructure like road networks. It is a city full of different races where culture and hospitality are seemingly excellent. Recreational facilities like sporting, golf, for instance, entertainment and cable cars will keep locals and visitors alike feeling at home (Bestdestination, 2008). These two videos depict a city is highly advanced and developed to the standard of the world. Business thrives well and especially tourism since there is rich traditional and modern culture to enjoy.

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Question Seven

Although prostitution is illegal in Thailand, the country’s tourism thrives much on sex trade with clients being Thai men and foreigners who search for both male and female prostitutes. The fact that the industry is not recognized legally has made HIV/AIDS spread most in this region albeit slowly in recent years. AIDS is a global epidemic and given that Thailand is an international destination, there is need to have the vice in check. Economically the industry helps the country grow. As the sellers of sex services get their money, the same is used locally and even though not taxed directly, as it is consumed indirect taxes go to the government that helps in growing sectors in need. The trade may also attract tourists from the world over as people are interested in experiencing the hear-say first hand. As Thailand’s tourism minister clearly puts it, the country is rich in culture to offer, and sex is not what attract tourists. The trade should banned and those directly affected encouraged to pursue other economic activities that will uphold the nation’s heritage. The rebranding of beaches like the Pattaya famously known for sex tourism into a water sports destination will change the world’s view on Thai’s tourism and ensure that the economic benefit that would otherwise be lost is retained (Reuters, 2016).

Question Eight

The Bangkok City of Thailand is a modernized one resembling renowned cities of the world. Its skyline shows a city that is well planned from the road networks to buildings and the rail lines. The bordering water body would provide much-needed transportation of goods by sea. The skyscrapers indicate a city that is technologically advanced making it a business hub (TheChamaemelum, 2011). Chiand Mai city, on the other hand, is full of traditional culture. Locals and any visitor will enjoy traditional music performance throughout the night. Traditional artifacts are some of the items a visitor may take back home. It is more of a tourism destination and the businesses at night show an advanced stage of development (Sittichainate, 2008). The two cities draw a picture of traditional culture mixed with modern culture making the country good for both business and tourism travel. 

Question Nine

Makeong River is the longest in Southeast Asia stretching from the Tibetan Highlands of China to the South China Sea and borders Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand, across Cambodia, and southern Vietnam. The region is home to different ethnic groups sharing various cultural practices that include Buddhism, Hinduism, and animism. A large part of the basin is rural with poor people who engage in rice and fish farming for their livelihood. Investment and foreign aid to support lives here are modernizing the region with increasing population and demand for resources threatening the physical and human environment. With the river being the main pillar of human activity, large scale economical development has been hampered by waterfalls and rapids on the upper side (Blij, Muller & Nijman, 2006).

Question Ten

Southeast Asia is a maritime region surrounded by many geographical phenomenon like earthquakes and Typhoons. The region is still in its development stages as it is yet to become fully developed into a world economic hub. The rich traditional culture and landscapes make it an exciting tourist destination as the many tribes living in the region have their practices. Many regions, especially rural areas, are poor with people living in extreme poverty and there is a need for humanitarian aid to bring civilization to the residents. Like any growing economy, the region offers lucrative business opportunities as there are abundant labor and resources for economic activities boom. China as an Asian powerhouse, however, needs to be tamed to cooperate with the rest of the region so as to move along regarding development rather than bullying them (Cook, 2017).

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  1. Bestdestination, (2008). Comments on “visit Singapore-A world of contrast”. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=va9awWNjInE
  2. Blij J., Peter, O. M., & Jan, N. (2014). Geography: realms, regions and concepts, 16th edition. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  3. Blij J., Peter, O. M., & Jan, N.  (2006). Geography: Realms, regions, and concepts, 12th Edition. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  4. Cook, D. (2017). A closer look at China’s critical South China Sea submarine base. Retrieved from thediplomat.com/2017/03/a-closer-look-at-chinas-critical-south-china-sea-submarine-base/
  5. Davenport, T. (2012). Southeast Asian approaches to maritime delimitation. AsianSIL Working Paper 2012/ 7.
  6. Mazyrin, M. V., (2013). Economic modernization in Vietnam from industrialization to innovation stage. VNU Journal of Economics and Business, 29(2), 87-106.
  7. Qianqian, L. (2012). Urbanization and urban poverty in Southeast Asia, The International Poverty Reduction Center in China
  8. Reuters, (2016). Bad news for Thailand’s sex tourists as minister vows to clamp down on industry. Retrieved from www.rt.com/news/351774-thailand-sex-tourist-industry/
  9. Rosenberg, M. (2017). Shape of the state. Retrieved from www.thoughtco.com/shape-of-the-state-1433558
  10. Sittichainate, A. (2008). Comments on Chiang Mai Thailand night market. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1IHVi4Ol7c&feature=fvst
  11. TheChamaemelum, (2011). Comments on “Bangkok city skyline”. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQJv2gXJhrg
  12. Videosource Travel Guide, (2011). Comments on “Singapore’s history”. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v
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