South and Southeast Asia

South and South East Asia are regional homes to some of the world’s most diverse cultures, languages, people and religions. With a rich history of being the region where one of the oldest civilizations lived, the Harrapan in the Indus Valley, South and South East Asia is a diverse land struggling to reclaim its past glory and emerge as a region of stable first world countries. Present day South and South East Asian countries face a myriad of environmental,political, cultural and human rights problems. Come explore the area with us as you learn more about the region that shines brightly as the world’s eastern gem.

Listen to the National Anthem here.

in order to achieve human perfection, one must follow the established codes of behavior of Confucianism which include reverence for ancestors and respect for elders…The importance is not upon the individual’s accomplishments but upon his duty to family and society” – Muzny

 A population of about 91,519,289, making them 13th or 14th depending on the source. Economically speaking, Vietnam is in a strange place in the world, not the top or bottom economically, coming in at 41st internationally with a GDP of about $278,100,000,000.00 (according to Nationmaster.com)

    • Importing $103.7 billion, with the bulk of that being: machinery, petroleum products, steel products, raw materials for the clothing and shoe industries, electronics, plastics, automobiles.
    • Exporting about $96.81 billion worth of: clothes, shoes, marine products, crude oil, electronics, wooden products, rice, machinery.

With just imports and exports it is clear, that whatever they are importing is being turned into something that can be altered and exported. Agriculture (Rice) is 20% of their GDP, but has 53.9% of their population in agriculture. Yet, industry (food processing, clothes, and shoes) is 41.4% of their GDP, somehow only needs 20.3% of the population. Finally, the services makes up 38.6% of the GDP, using 25.8% of the population. (Economy data can be found here.)

The main exports of Vietnam are Rice and Coffee, it takes close to 54% of their population to farm the two, which produces 20% of their GDP. In other words, $55,620,000,000 is being earned by 49,420,416 people. Leaving you with a whopping total of $1125.44 per person, which is how much they make per year. In one year, a full-time farmer in Vietnam makes about as much as a high school student in America makes in a month.


Country: Thailand (By Gina Dukes)
75% Thai, Chinese 14% other 11%
Free enterprise. Thai exports mostly machinery and electronic components through manufacturing which accounts for more than half of their GDP.
609.8 million
Rice, cassava, rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans
Major industries:
Tourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing
Thailand has the second largest economy in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.
Interesting facts:

  • World’s second largest tungsten producer
  • Third largest tin producer in the world
  • Major Contribution to the global world: Rice

One of Thailand’s biggest issues was the environmental effects of air pollution due to heavy exhaust fumes from motorcycles, and buses that help transport exported and imported goods.
Air pollution is most prevalent in Bangkok, which is the capital of Thailand, as it is the central area where heavy traffic, tourism, and major businesses take place.

Bangkok before

Bangkok After

Heavy traffic in Bangkok

Person wearing face mask to shield from air pollution

After a decade of dealing with air pollution, Thailand has made extensive measures in order to quell the extreme air pollution. The country has now emerged as a great example of how to solve environmental problems without disrupting the country’s burgeoning economy. According to Jitendra Shah, who was interviewed by the New York Times, “There’s a huge difference when you walk around the streets. Breathing is definitely easier” (click here for interview) Thailand is a good example of how the harmful effects of the global goods and local costs being successfully addressed.

For more info on Thailand’s environmental problems click here


17, 508 islands

33 provinces

population: 239,870,937

Republic with a Presidential system

Ethnic Groups

Javanese : 45%

Sundanese: 14%

Madurese: 7.5%

Malays: 7.5%

Others: 26%

Largest in Southeast Asia
27th biggest exporting country in the world in 2010
Main export markets: Japan, Singapore, U.S & China
Major suppliers of import: China, Japan & Singapore
-machinery (equipment)
-Electrical Supplies
13.3 % living below the poverty line
7.1% unemployment

Life expectancy: 62 years for women/ 58 years for men

Infant mortality rate 71 per 1,000 live births

0.06 hospital beds per 1,000 people

Indonesia was the only G20 member to have economic growth in the financial crisis of 2008.

“During 2009, Indonesia exported goods worth $115.6 billion, which was lower than the $139.3 billion worth of good exported the previous year. The value of imports decreased from $116 billion in 2008 to $86.6 billion in 2009.”-Economy Watch (link posted below)

Map of Indonesia

Indonesia Flag

Indonesia's Mount Merapi Volcano Erupts

Very popular way of transportation (Horse-drawn carts)

Stupas at Borobudur, the world's largest Buddhist temple, overlook Java's jungles.-National Geographic

Indonesia Trade Partners-2008

A market in Indonesia






Kyla Carden

Malaysian Flag

Malaysian Women

Malaysia, as you know, is located in Southeast Asia and bordered by Thailand. Malaysia

Malaysia’s Top Imports

– Electrical and Electronic Products
– Other Products
– Chemicals and Chemical Products
– Machinery, Appliances and Parts
– Refined Petroleum Products

Malaysia’s Top Exports

– Palm Oil
– Rubber
– Electronics
– Oil/Gas

Interesting Facts

Agriculture: Palm oil, rubber, cocoa, rice, sabah, and timber

Climate: Tropical

Religion: 60% are Muslim

Population: 29,179,952

Life Expectancy: 74 yrs.

Above are pictures of what palm oil looks like and where it comes from. Palm oil is Malaysia’s top export and they produce 33 million metric pounds of it every year. The demand is growing even stronger because of society’s new outlook on health. Only 3.1% of Malaysians are unemployed and many of them work in services. Since they produce so much palm oil it is assumed they have a lot of plantations. The problem is some of the plantations are sustainable while some are not. Some are not sustainable because they are cutting clear through into the rainforest and they are placing plantations in the wrong areas. They are also harming the wildlife and, specifically, orangutans out there.

How palm oil affects indigenous people… 

Palm oil is affecting the local people in good and bad ways. On one hand it offers millions of people jobs and safe working conditions. On the other hands some of the plantations and mills are certified and the work places aren’t regulated. Native people are also losing their homes and lands to big palm oil plantations.

Another issue…

Another issue Malaysia is facing is pollution. They don’t have a really well thought-out waste management system set up and the country is facing problems. Much of their water supply is polluted with sewage and garbage and that is no way near good for the people. In unimproved areas only 4% of the people have acces to a sanitation facility. Where else will they put their trash?




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