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ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
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ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
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ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
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ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
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ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
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ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
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ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน
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ประเทศสมาชิกอาเซียน

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  • 1. 1 ASEAN Member States) Brunei Darussalam Head of State : His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah Capital : Bandar Seri Begawan Languages: Malay, English Currency : B$ (Brunei Dollar) Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade of Brunei Darussalam Land area: 2,035 sq mi (5,271 sq km); total area: 2,228 sq mi (5,770 sq km) Population (2012 est.): 395,027 (growth rate: 1.7%); birth rate: 18/1000; infant mortality rate: 11.8/1000; life expectancy: 75.9; density per sq km: 72 Capital and largest city (2009 est.): Bandar Seri Begawan, 78,000
  • 2. 2 Other large cities: Kuala Belait 27,800, Seria 23,400 Geography About the size of Delaware, Brunei is an independent sultanate on the northwest coast of the island of Borneo in the South China Sea, wedged between the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. Government: Constitutional sultanate. History Brunei was trading with China during the 6th century, and, through allegiance to the Javanese Majapahit kingdom (13th to 15th century), it came under Hindu influence. In the early 15th century, with the decline of the Majapahit kingdom and widespread conversion to Islam, Brunei became an independent sultanate. It was a powerful state from the 16th to the 19th century, ruling over the northern part of
  • 3. 3 Borneo and adjacent island chains. But Brunei fell into decay and lost Sarawak in 1841, becoming a British protectorate in 1888 and a British dependency in 1905. Japan occupied Brunei during World War II; it was liberated by Australia in 1945. The sultan regained control over internal affairs in 1959, but Britain retained responsibility for the state's defense and foreign affairs until 1984, when the sultanate became fully independent. Sultan Bolkiah was crowned in 1967 at the age of 22, succeeding his father, Sir Omar Ali Saifuddin, who had abdicated. During his reign, exploitation of the rich Seria oilfield had made the sultanate wealthy. Brunei has one of the highest per capita incomes in Asia, and the sultan is believed to be one of the richest men in the world. In Aug. 1998, Oxford- educated Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah was inaugurated as heir to the 500-year-old monarchy.
  • 4. 4 Sultan Bolkiah began taking cautious steps toward democratic reform in Sept. 2004, when he reinstated Parliament for the first time since Brunei gained independence in 1984. He was widely praised in May 2005 when he fired four members of his cabinet, including the education minister, whose plan to expand religious education angered many parents. Kingom of Cambodia Head of State : His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni Head of Government : Prime Minister Hun Sen Capital : Phnom Penh Language : Khmer Currency : Riel Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation of Cambodia
  • 5. 5 Cambodia (kămbōdēə), Khmer Kampuchea, officially Kingdom of Cambodia, constitutional monarchy (2005 est. pop. 13,607,000), 69,898 sq mi (181,035 sq km), SE Asia. Cambodia is bordered by Thailand on the west and north, by Laos on the north, by Vietnam on the east, and by the Gulf of Thailand on the south. Phnom Penh is the capital and largest city. GEOGRAPHY Cambodia is located on mainland Southeast Asia between Thailand to the west and north and Vietnam to the east. It shares a land border with Laos in the northeast. Cambodia has a sea coast on the Gulf of Thailand. The Dangrek Mountain range in the north and Cardamom Mountains in the southwest form natural boundaries. Principal physical features include the Tonle Sap lake and the Mekong and Bassac Rivers. Cambodia remains one of the most
  • 6. 6 heavily forested countries in the region, although deforestation continues at an alarming rate. PEOPLE AND CULTURE Ninety percent of Cambodia's population is ethnically Cambodian. Other ethnic groups include Chinese, Vietnamese, hill tribes, Chams, and Laotian. Theravada Buddhism is the religion of 95% of the population; Islam, animism, and Christianity also are practiced. Khmer is the official language and is spoken by more than 95% of the population. Some French is still spoken in urban areas, and English is increasingly popular as a second language. Angkor Wat Over a period of 300 years, between 900 and 1200 AD, the Khmer Kingdom of Angkor produced some of the world's most magnificent architectural masterpieces on the northern shore of
  • 7. 7 the Tonle Sap, near the present town of Siem Reap. The Angkor area stretches 15 miles east to west and 5 miles north to south. Some 72 major temples or other buildings dot the area. Suryavarman II built the principal temple, Angkor Wat, between 1112 and 1150. With walls nearly one-half mile on each side, Angkor Wat portrays the Hindu cosmology with the central towers representing Mount Meru, home of the gods; the outer walls, the mountains enclosing the world; and the moat, the oceans beyond. Angkor Thom, the capital city built after the Cham sack of 1177, is surrounded by a 300-foot wide moat. Construction of Angkor Thom coincided with a change from Hinduism to Buddhism. Temples were altered to display images of the Buddha, and Angkor Wat became a major Buddhist shrine. During the 15th century, nearly all of Angkor was abandoned after Siamese attacks. The exception was Angkor Wat,
  • 8. 8 which remained a shrine for Buddhist pilgrims. The great city and temples remained largely cloaked by the forest until the late 19th century when French archaeologists began a long restoration process. France established the Angkor Conservancy in 1908 to direct restoration of the Angkor complex. For the next 64 years, the conservancy worked to clear away the forest, repair foundations, and install drains to protect the buildings from their most insidious enemy: water. After 1953, the conservancy became a joint project of the French and Cambodian Governments. Some temples were carefully taken apart stone by stone and reassembled on concrete foundations. Tourism is now the second-largest foreign currency earner in Cambodia's economy, and Angkor Wat has helped attract international tourism to the country. Economy
  • 9. 9 Cambodia is one of the world's poorer nations, although its economy has recovered significantly from the effects of the civil war that racked the country during the latter part of the th cent. Conditions are ideal for the cultivation of rice, by far the country's chief crop. Livestock raising (cattle, buffalo, poultry, and hogs) and extensive fishing supplement the diet. Corn, vegetables, cashews, tapioca, peanuts, tobacco, cotton, and sugar palms are widely cultivated. Rice and rubber historically were the principal exports of Cambodia, but exports fell sharply after the onset ( of the civil war, which put most of the rubber plantations out of operation. By the s, however, rubber plantings had been undertaken as part of a national recovery program, and rubber and rice were again being exported. The fishing
  • 10. 10 industry also has revived, but some food shortages continue. Until recently, inadequate transportation hampered exploitation of the country's vast forests, but by the mid- s timber had become a major export. Mineral resources are not abundant, but phosphate rock, limestone, semiprecious stones, and salt support important local mining operations. Garment manufacturing for export is now an extremely important economically; many of the country's other industries are based on the the processing of rubber and agricultural, fish, and timber products. Tourism also contributes significantly to the economy. Cambodia is connected by road systems with Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam; waterways are an important supplement to the roads. The country has two rail lines, one extending from Phnom Penh to
  • 11. 11 the Thai border and the other from Phnom Penh to Kompong Som (Sihanoukville). Clothing, timber, rubber, rice, fish, tobacco, and footwear are the main exports; petroleum products, cigarettes, gold, construction materials, machinery, motor vehicles, and pharmaceuticals are the main imports. The chief trade partners are the United States, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. Republic of Indonesia Head of State : President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Capital : Jakarta Language : Indonesian Currency : Rupiah Department of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia PEOPLE
  • 12. 12 Indonesia's approximately 245.5 million people make it the world's fourth-most populous nation. The island of Java, roughly the size of New York State, is the most populous island in the world (124 million, 2005 est.) and one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Indonesia includes numerous related but distinct cultural and linguistic groups, many of which are ethnically Malay. Since independence, Bahasa Indonesia (the national language, a form of Malay) has spread throughout the archipelago and has become the language of most written communication, education, government, business, and media. Local languages are still important in many areas, however. English is the most widely spoken foreign language. Education is compulsory for children through grade 9. In primary school, 94% of eligible children are enrolled whereas 57% of eligible children are enrolled in secondary school.
  • 13. 13 Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom apply to the six religions recognized by the state, namely Islam (88%), Protestantism (5%), Catholicism (3%), Buddhism (2%), Hinduism (1%) and Confucianism (less than 1%). In the resort island of Bali, over 90% of the population practices Hinduism. In some remote areas, animism is still practiced. HISTORY By the time of the Renaissance, the islands of Java and Sumatra had already enjoyed a 1,000-year heritage of advanced civilization spanning two major empires. During the 7th-14th centuries, the Buddhist kingdom of Srivijaya flourished on Sumatra. At its peak, the Srivijaya Empire reached as far as West Java and the Malay Peninsula. Also by the 14th century, the Hindu Kingdom of Majapahit had risen in eastern Java.
  • 14. 14 Gadjah Mada, the empire's chief minister from 1331 to 1364, succeeded in gaining allegiance from most of what is now modern Indonesia and much of the Malay archipelago as well. Legacies from Gadjah Mada's time include a codification of law and an epic poem. Islam arrived in Indonesia sometime during the 12th century and, through assimilation, supplanted Hinduism by the end of the 16th century in Java and Sumatra. Bali, however, remains overwhelmingly Hindu. In the eastern archipelago, both Christian and Islamic proselytizing took place in the 16th and 17th centuries, and, currently, there are large communities of both religions on these islands. Beginning in 1602, the Dutch slowly established themselves as rulers of present-day Indonesia, exploiting the weakness of the small kingdoms that had replaced that of Majapahit. The only
  • 15. 15 exception was East Timor, which remained under Portugal's control until 1975. During 300 years of rule, the Dutch developed the Netherlands East Indies into one of the world's richest colonial possessions. During the first decade of the 20th century, an Indonesian independence movement began and expanded rapidly, particularly between the two World Wars. Its leaders came from a small group of young professionals and students, some of whom had been educated in the Netherlands. Many, including Indonesia's first president, Soekarno (1945-67), were imprisoned for political activities. The Japanese occupied Indonesia for three years during World War II (1942- 1945). On August 17, 1945, three days after the Japanese surrender to the Allies, a small group of Indonesians, led by Soekarno and Mohammad Hatta,
  • 16. 16 proclaimed independence and established the Republic of Indonesia. They set up a provisional government and adopted a constitution to govern the republic until elections could be held and a new constitution written. Dutch efforts to reestablish complete control met strong resistance. After four years of warfare and negotiations, the Dutch transferred sovereignty to a federal Indonesian Government. In 1950, Indonesia became the 60th member of the United Nations. Shortly after hostilities with the Dutch ended in 1949, Indonesia adopted a new constitution, providing for a parliamentary system of government in which the executive was chosen by and accountable to parliament. Parliament was divided among many political parties before and after the country's first nationwide election in 1955, and stable governmental coalitions were difficult to
  • 17. 17 achieve. The role of Islam in Indonesia became a divisive issue. Soekarno defended a secular state based on Pancasila, five principles of the state philosophy--monotheism, humanitarianism, national unity, representative democracy by consensus, and social justice--codified in the 1945 constitution, while some Muslim groups preferred either an Islamic state or a constitution which included a preambular provision requiring adherents of Islam to be subject to Islamic law. At the time of independence, the Dutch retained control over the western half of New Guinea (known as Irian Jaya in the Soekarno and Soeharto eras and as Papua since 2000) and permitted steps toward self- government and independence. Negotiations with the Dutch on the incorporation of Irian Jaya into Indonesia failed and armed clashes broke out between Indonesian and Dutch troops in
  • 18. 18 1961. In August 1962, the two sides reached an agreement and Indonesia assumed administrative responsibility for Irian Jaya on May 1, 1963. The Indonesian Government conducted an "Act of Free Choice" in Irian Jaya under UN supervision in 1969 in which 1,025 Papuan representatives of local councils agreed by consensus to remain a part of Indonesia. A subsequent UN General Assembly resolution confirmed the transfer of sovereignty to Indonesia. Opposition to Indonesian administration of Papua gave rise to small-scale guerrilla activity in the years following Jakarta's assumption of control. In the more open atmosphere since 1998, there have been more explicit expressions within Papua calling for independence from Indonesia. Unsuccessful rebellions on Sumatra, Sulawesi, West Java, and other islands beginning in 1958, plus a failure by the
  • 19. 19 constituent assembly to develop a new constitution, weakened the parliamentary system. Consequently, in 1959, when President Soekarno unilaterally revived the provisional 1945 constitution that gave broad presidential powers, he met little resistance. From 1959 to 1965, President Soekarno imposed an authoritarian regime under the label of "Guided Democracy." He also moved Indonesia's foreign policy toward nonalignment, a foreign policy stance supported by other prominent leaders of former colonies who rejected formal alliances with either the West or Soviet bloc. Under Soekarno's auspices, these leaders gathered in Bandung, West Java in 1955 to lay the groundwork for what became known as the Non-Aligned Movement. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, President Soekarno moved closer to Asian communist states and toward the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in domestic affairs. Though the PKI
  • 20. 20 represented the largest communist party outside the Soviet Union and China, its mass support base never demonstrated an ideological adherence typical of communist parties in other countries. By 1965, the PKI controlled many of the mass civic and cultural organizations that Soekarno had established to mobilize support for his regime and, with Soekarno's acquiescence, embarked on a campaign to establish a "Fifth Column" by arming its supporters. Army leaders resisted this campaign. Under circumstances that have never been fully explained, on October 1, 1965, PKI sympathizers within the military, including elements from Soekarno's palace guard, occupied key locations in Jakarta and kidnapped and murdered six senior generals. Major General Soeharto, the commander of the Army Strategic Reserve, rallied army troops opposed to the PKI to reestablish control over the
  • 21. 21 city. Violence swept throughout Indonesia in the aftermath of the October 1 events and unsettled conditions persisted through 1966. Right-wing gangs killed tens of thousands of alleged communists in rural areas. Estimates of the number of deaths range between 160,000 and 500,000. The violence was especially brutal in Java and Bali. During this period, PKI members by the tens of thousands turned in their membership cards. The emotions and fears of instability created by this crisis persisted for many years as the communist party remains banned from Indonesia. Throughout the 1965-66 period, President Soekarno vainly attempted to restore his political stature and shift the country back to its pre-October 1965 position. Although he remained President, in March 1966, Soekarno transferred key political and military powers to General Soeharto, who by that time had become
  • 22. 22 head of the armed forces. In March 1967, the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly (MPRS) named General Soeharto acting President. Soekarno ceased to be a political force and lived under virtual house arrest until his death in 1970. President Soeharto proclaimed a "New Order" in Indonesian politics and dramatically shifted foreign and domestic policies away from the course set in Soekarno's final years. The New Order established economic rehabilitation and development as its primary goals and pursued its policies through an administrative structure dominated by the military but with advice from Western- educated economic experts. In 1968, the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) formally selected Soeharto to a full five- year term as President and he was re- elected to successive 5-year terms in 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, and 1998.
  • 23. 23 In mid-1997, Indonesia suffered from the Asian financial and economic crisis, accompanied by the worst drought in 50 years and falling prices for oil, gas, and other commodity exports. As the exchange rate changed from a fixed to a managed float to fully floating, the rupiah depreciated in value, inflation increased significantly, and capital flight accelerated. Demonstrators, initially led by students, called for Soeharto's resignation. Amid widespread civil unrest, Soeharto resigned on May 21, 1998, three months after the MPR had selected him for a seventh term. Soeharto's hand-picked Vice President, B.J. Habibie, became Indonesia's third President. President Habibie reestablished International Monetary Fund (IMF) and donor community support for an economic stabilization program. He released several prominent political and labor prisoners, initiated investigations into the
  • 24. 24 unrest, and lifted controls on the press, political parties, and labor unions. In January 1999, Habibie and the Indonesian Government agreed to a process, with UN involvement, under which the people of East Timor would be allowed to choose between autonomy and independence through a direct ballot held on August 30, 1999. Some 98% of registered voters cast their ballots, and 78.5% of the voters chose independence over continued integration with Indonesia. Many people were killed by Indonesian military forces and military-backed militias in a wave of violence and destruction after the announcement of the pro-independence vote. Indonesia's first elections in the post- Soeharto period were held for the national, provincial, and sub-provincial parliaments on June 7, 1999. Forty-eight political parties participated in the
  • 25. 25 elections. For the national parliament, Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan (PDI-P, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle led by Megawati Soekarnoputri) won 34% of the vote; Golkar ("Functional Groups" party) 22%; Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa (PKB, National Awakening Party linked to the conservative Islamic organization Nadhlatul Ulama headed by former President Abdurrahman Wahid) 13%; and Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (PPP, United Development Party led by Hamzah Haz) 11%. The MPR selected Abdurrahman Wahid as Indonesia's fourth President in November 1999 and replaced him with Megawati Soekarnoputri in July 2001. The constitution, as amended in the post- Soeharto era, provides for the direct election by popular vote of the president and vice president. Under the 2004 amendment, only parties or coalitions of parties that gained at least 3% of the
  • 26. 26 House of Representatives (DPR) seats or 5% of the vote in national legislative elections were eligible to nominate a presidential and vice presidential ticket. The 2004 legislative elections took place on April 5 and were considered to be generally free and fair. PDI-P lost its plurality in the House of Representatives, dropping to under 19% of the total vote, while Golkar remained near 1999 levels with 21% of the vote. Five other parties won between 6 and 11% of the national vote. Of the 18 other parties that participated, nine won small numbers of seats in the DPR. The first direct presidential election was held on July 5, 2004, contested by five tickets. As no candidate won at least 50% of the vote, a runoff election was held between the top two candidates, President Megawati Sukarnoputri and retired General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, on September 20, 2004. In this final round, Yudhoyono won 60.6% of the vote. Approximately 76.6%
  • 27. 27 of the eligible voters participated, a total of roughly 117 million people, making Indonesia's presidential election the largest single-day election in the world. The Carter Center, which sent a delegation of election observers, issued a statement congratulating "the people and leaders of Indonesia for the successful conduct of the presidential election and the peaceful atmosphere that has prevailed throughout the ongoing democratic transition." Natural disasters have devastated many parts of Indonesia over the past few years. On December 26, 2004 a 9.1 to 9.3 magnitude earthquake took place in the Indian Ocean, and the resulting tsunami killed over 130,000 people in Aceh and left more than 500,000 homeless. On March 26, 2005, an 8.7 magnitude earthquake struck between Aceh and northern Sumatra, killing 905 people and displacing tens of thousands.
  • 28. 28 After much media attention of the seismic activity on Mt. Merapi in April and May 2006, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake occurred 30 miles to the southwest. It killed over 5,000 people and left an estimated 200,000 people homeless in the Yogyakarta region. GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS Indonesia is a republic based on the 1945 constitution providing for a separation of executive, legislative, and judicial power. Substantial restructuring has occurred since President Soeharto's resignation in 1998 and the short, transitional Habibie administration in 1998 and 1999. The Habibie government established political reform legislation that formally set up new rules for the electoral system, the House of Representatives (DPR), the People's
  • 29. 29 Consultative Assembly (MPR), and political parties without changing the 1945 Indonesian constitution. After these reforms, the constitution now limits the president to two terms in office. The president, elected for a five-year term, is the top government and political figure. The president and the vice president were elected by popular vote for the first time on September 20, 2004. Previously, the MPR selected Indonesia's president. In 1999, the MPR selected Abdurrahman Wahid, also known as Gus Dur, as the fourth President. The MPR removed Gus Dur in July 2001, immediately appointing then-Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri as the fifth President. Megawati brought a certain amount of stability to Indonesia, yet there were concerns over progress on combating corruption and encouraging economic growth. In 2004,
  • 30. 30 Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was elected to succeed Megawati. The president, assisted by an appointed cabinet, has the authority to conduct the administration of the government. President Yudhoyono's Democratic Party (PD), holds 55 of the 550 seats in the House of Representatives (DPR), making it the fourth-largest political party represented in the legislature as of mid- 2006. Yudhoyono, however, also had the support of other political parties that combined to hold a majority of the seats in the DPR. The People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) has 678 members, consisting of the 550 members of the DPR and the 128 representatives of the House of Regional Representatives (DPD), which includes four members from each of Indonesia's 32 provinces. Since 2004, all seats in the DPR and DPD have been held by legislators elected by the citizenry. Previously, some seats had been reserved for
  • 31. 31 representatives of the armed forces. The military has been a significant political force throughout Indonesian history. The armed forces shaped the political environment and provided leadership for Soeharto's New Order from the time it came to power in the wake of the abortive 1965 uprising. Military officers, especially from the army, were key advisers to Soeharto and Habibie and had considerable influence on policy. Under the dual function concept ("dwifungsi"), the military asserted a continuing role in socio-political affairs. This concept was used to justify placement of officers to serve in the civilian bureaucracy at all government levels. Although the military retains influence and is one of the only truly national institutions, the wide-ranging democratic reforms instituted since 1999 abolished "dwifungsi" and ended the armed forces' formal involvement in government administration. The police
  • 32. 32 have been separated from the military, further reducing the military's direct role in governmental matters. Control of the military by the democratically elected government has been strengthened. As a reaction to Soeharto's centralization of power and reflecting historically independent sentiment, Hasan di Tiro established the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM) in December 1976 to seek independence for Aceh. Some 15,000 died in military conflict in Aceh over the following three decades. Through peace talks led by former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, a peace agreement between GAM and the Indonesian Government that provided wide-ranging autonomy for Aceh was signed on August 15, 2005. By December 2005, GAM declared that they had disbanded the military wing of their organization, and the Indonesian Government had withdrawn the bulk of its security forces down to agreed levels. On
  • 33. 33 December 11, 2006, Aceh held gubernatorial and district administrative elections, the first democratic elections in over half a century in Aceh. Principal Government Officials President--Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Vice President--Jusuf Kalla Minister of Foreign Affairs--Noer Hassan Wirajuda Ambassador to the United States-- Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat Ambassador to the United Nations-- Rezlan Izhar Jeni ECONOMY Indonesia has a market-based economy in which the government plays a significant role. There are 158 state- owned enterprises and the government
  • 34. 34 administers prices on several basic goods, including fuel, rice, and electricity. In the mid-1980s, the government began eliminating regulatory obstacles to economic activity. The steps were aimed primarily at the external and financial sectors and were designed to stimulate employment and growth in the non-oil export sector. Annual real gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged nearly 7% from 1987-97 and most analysts recognized Indonesia as a newly industrializing economy and emerging major market. The Asian financial crisis of 1997 altered the region's economic landscape. With the depreciation of the Thai currency, the foreign investment community quickly re-evaluated its investments in Asia. Foreign investors dumped assets and investments in Asia, leaving Indonesia the most affected in the region. In 1998, Indonesia experienced a negative GDP growth of 13.1% and unemployment rose to 15-
  • 35. 35 20%. In the aftermath of the 1997-98 financial crisis, the government took custody of a significant portion of private sector assets via debt restructuring, but subsequently sold most of these assets, averaging a 29% return. Indonesia has since recovered, albeit slower than some of its neighbors, by recapitalizing its banking sector, improving oversight of capital markets, and taking steps to stimulate growth and investment, particularly in infrastructure. GDP growth was 4.5% in 2003, 5.1% in 2004, and 5.6% in 2005. Estimates for real GDP growth in 2006 are 5.5%. Economic Policy: After he took office on October 20, 2004, President Yudhoyono moved quickly to implement a "pro- growth, pro-poor, pro-employment" economic program. He appointed a respected group of economic ministers who announced a "100-Day Agenda" of short-term policy actions designed to energize the bureaucracy. President
  • 36. 36 Yudhoyono also announced an ambitious anti-corruption plan in December 2004. The State Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS) released in early 2005 a Medium Term Plan focusing on four broad objectives: creating a safe and peaceful Indonesia; creating a just and democratic Indonesia; creating a prosperous Indonesia; and establishing a stable macroeconomic framework for development. President Yudhoyono reshuffled his cabinet in December 2005, appointing former Finance Minister Boediono as Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, and moving Sri Mulyani Indrawati from the National Development Planning Agency to the Finance Ministry. In early 2006, the Government of Indonesia announced new policy packages for stimulating investment and infrastructure. The Yudhoyono Administration has targeted average growth of 6.6% from 2004-2009 to reduce unemployment and
  • 37. 37 poverty significantly. Indonesia's overall macroeconomic picture is stable and improving. By 2004, real GDP per capita returned to pre-financial crisis levels. In 2005, domestic consumption continued to account for the largest portion of GDP, at 65.4%, followed by investment at 22%, government consumption at 8.2%, and net exports at 4.3%. In evidence of an accelerating economy, investment realization doubled in 2005. Capital goods imports increased 35.9% in 2005, a further indication of a strengthening economy. The government raised fuel prices by an average of 126% on October 1, 2005 in an effort to reduce Indonesia's fuel subsidy burden, projected to reach Rp 89.2 trillion in 2005, or 3.3% of GDP. The fuel price hikes led to a surge in inflation as consumer price inflation reached 10.5% for 2005 and an estimated 13.2% for 2006. The Indonesian Government implemented a quarterly cash
  • 38. 38 compensation package for low-income families and an extra range of benefits including subsidized rice, improved health and social services, housing subsidies, micro credit, and family planning programs. Banking Sector: Indonesia currently has 130 banks, of which 11 are majority foreign-owned and 28 are foreign joint venture banks. The top 10 banks control about 67% of assets in the sector. Four state-owned banks (Bank Mandiri, BNI, BRI, BTN) continue to dominate the sector with approximately 40% of assets. The Indonesian central bank, Bank Indonesia (BI), announced plans in January 2005 to strengthen the banking sector by encouraging consolidation and improving prudential banking and supervision. BI hopes to encourage small banks with less than Rp 100 billion (about U.S. $11 million) in capital to either raise more capital or merge with healthier "anchor banks" before 2009,
  • 39. 39 announcing the criteria for anchor banks in July 2005. In October 2006, BI announced a single presence policy to further prompt consolidation. The policy stipulates that a single party can own a controlling interest in only one banking organization. Controlling interest is defined as 25% or more of total outstanding shares or having direct or indirect control of the institution. BI plans to adopt Basel II standards beginning in 2008 and to improve operations of its credit bureau to centralize data on borrowers. Another important banking sector reform was the decision to eliminate the blanket guarantee on bank third-party liabilities. BI and the Indonesian Government completed the process of replacing the blanket guarantee with a deposit insurance scheme run by the independent Indonesian Deposit Insurance Agency (also known by its Indonesian acronym, LPS) in March 2007. Sharia banking has
  • 40. 40 grown considerably in Indonesia in recent years, representing 1.4% of the banking sector, about $2.2 billion in assets at the end of 2005. Exports and Trade: Indonesia's exports grew to a record $100.7 billion in 2006, an increase of 17.6% from 2005. The largest export commodities for 2006 were oil and gas (21.2%), minerals (15.7%), electrical appliances (14.7%), rubber products (6.9%), and textiles (3.4%). The top four destinations for exports for 2006 were Japan (15.4%), the U.S. (13.4%), Singapore (9.8%), and China (6.9%). Meanwhile, total imports were $61.1 billion in 2006, including: raw materials and intermediaries ($47.2 billion), capital goods ($9.1 billion), and consumer goods ($4.6 billion). The U.S. trade deficit with Indonesia decreased by 16.5% in 2006 to $7.2 billion ($4.0 billion in exports versus $11.2 billion in imports). Oil and Minerals Sector: Indonesia, the only Asian member of the Organization of
  • 41. 41 Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), ranks 21st among world oil producers (according to 2006 estimates), with about 1.8% of world production. Crude and condensate output averaged 1.04 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2006. In 2006, the oil and gas sector, including refining, contributed $23 billion, or 24% of government revenues. U.S. companies have invested heavily in the petroleum sector. Due to limited refining capacity and growing domestic demand for petroleum fuels, Indonesia became a net oil importer in 2004 and continued to be a net oil importer through mid-2007. Indonesia ranks eighth in world gas production. In early 2007, Qatar passed Indonesia as the world's number one exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Despite the declining trends, Indonesia's oil and gas trade balance remained positive at $1.8 billion in 2005 and $2.3 billion for 2006, according to unofficial statistics.
  • 42. 42 Although minerals production traditionally centered on bauxite, silver, and tin, Indonesia is expanding its copper, nickel, gold, and coal output for export markets. In mid-1993, the Energy Ministry reopened the coal sector to foreign investment. Total coal production reached 159 million metric tons in 2006, including exports of 119.8 million tons. Two U.S. firms operate two copper/gold mines in Indonesia, with a Canadian and U.K. firm holding significant investments in nickel and gold, respectively. Indonesian gold production in 2006 was 85.4 tons, down about 50% compared with 167 tons in 2005. Indonesia achieved its peak output in 2001 with 180 tons. Production mainly came from Freeport's Grasberg mine, the world's biggest gold-producing mine. Indonesia's share of global hard rock mining exploration spending has dropped from 3% to 1%. Since 1998, only three new gold mines have opened. This decline does
  • 43. 43 not reflect Indonesia's mineral prospects, which are high; rather the decline reflects uncertainty over mining laws and regulations, low competitiveness in the tax and royalty system, and investor concerns over divestment policies and the sanctity of contracts. The Loa People's Democratic Republic Head of State : President Choummaly Sayasone Head of Government : Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong Capital : Vientiane Language : Lao Currency : Kip Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR Land area: 89,112 sq mi (230,800 sq km); total area: 91,428 sq mi (236,800 sq km)
  • 44. 44 Population (2012 est.): 6,586,266 (growth rate: 1.655%); birth rate: 25.68/1000; infant mortality rate: 57.7/1000; life expectancy: 62.77 Capital and largest city (2009 est.): Vientiane, 799,000 Geography A landlocked nation in Southeast Asia occupying the northwest portion of the Indochinese peninsula, Laos is surrounded by China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma. It is twice the size of Pennsylvania. Laos is a mountainous country, especially in the north, where peaks rise above 9,000 ft (2,800 m). Dense forests cover the northern and eastern areas. The Mekong River, which forms the boundary with Burma and Thailand, flows through the country for 932 mi (1,500 km) of its course. Government : Communist state.
  • 45. 45 History The Lao people migrated into Laos from southern China from the 8th century onward. In the 14th century, the first Laotian state was founded, the Lan Xang kingdom, which ruled Laos until it split into three separate kingdoms in 1713. During the 18th century, the three kingdoms came under Siamese (Thai) rule and, in 1893, became a French protectorate. With its territory incorporated into Indochina. A strong nationalist movement developed during World War II, but France reestablished control in 1946 and made the king of Luang Prabang constitutional monarch of all Laos. France granted semiautonomy in 1949 and then, spurred by the Viet Minh rebellion in Vietnam, full independence within the French Union in 1950. In 1951, Prince Souphanouvong organized the Pathet Lao, a Communist independence movement, in North
  • 46. 46 Vietnam. Viet Minh and Pathet Lao forces invaded central Laos, resulting in civil war. By the Geneva Agreements of 1954 and an armistice of 1955, two northern provinces were given to the Pathet Lao; the rest went to the royal regime. Full sovereignty was given to the kingdom by the Paris Agreements of Dec. 29, 1954. In 1957, Prince Souvanna Phouma, the royal prime minister, and Pathet Lao leader Prince Souphanouvong, the prime minister's half-brother, agreed to reestablishment of a unified government, with Pathet Lao participation and integration of Pathet Lao forces into the royal army. The agreement broke down in 1959, and armed conflict began anew. In 1960, the struggle became a three- way fight as Gen. Phoumi Nosavan, controlling the bulk of the royal army, set up in the south a pro-Western revolutionary government headed by
  • 47. 47 Prince Boun Oum. General Phoumi took Vientiane in December, driving Souvanna Phouma into exile in Cambodia. The Soviet bloc supported Souvanna Phouma. In 1961, a cease-fire was arranged and the three princes agreed to a coalition government headed by Souvanna Phouma. Malaysia Head of Government : The Honourable Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak Capital : Kuala Lumpur Language(s) : Malay, English, Chinese, Tamil Currency : Ringgit Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia ASEAN-Malaysia National Secretariat
  • 48. 48 Land area: 126,853 sq mi (328,549 sq km); total area: 127,316 sq mi (329,750 sq km) Population (2013 est.): 29,628,392 (growth rate: 1.51%); birth rate: 20.41/1000; infant mortality rate: 14.12/1000; life expectancy: 74.28 Capital and largest city (2009 est.): Kuala Lumpur, 1.493 million Other large cities: Kelang, 1.071 million; Johor Bharu, 958,000 Geography Malaysia is on the Malay Peninsula in southeast Asia. The nation also includes Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo to the east. Its area slightly exceeds that of New Mexico. Most of Malaysia is covered by forest, with a mountain range running the length of the peninsula. Extensive forests provide ebony, sandalwood, teak, and other wood.
  • 49. 49 Government: Constitutional monarchy. Foreign Minister--Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar Ambassador to the U.S.--Datin Paduka Rajmah Hussein Ambassador to the UN--Datuk Hamidon bin Ali History The ancestors of the people that now inhabit the Malaysian peninsula first migrated to the area between 2500 and 1500 B.C. Those living in the coastal regions had early contact with the Chinese and Indians; seafaring traders from India brought with them Hinduism, which was blended with the local animist beliefs. As Muslims conquered India, they spread the religion of Islam to Malaysia. In the 15th century, Islam acquired a firm hold on the region when the Hindu ruler of the powerful city-state of Malacca, Parameswara Dewa Shah, converted to Islam.
  • 50. 50 British and Dutch interest in the region grew in the 1800s, with the British East India Company's establishment of a trading settlement on the island of Singapore. Trade soared, with Singapore's population growing from only 5,000 in 1820 to nearly 100,000 in just 50 years. In the 1880s, Britain formally established protectorates in Malaysia. At about the same time, rubber trees were introduced from Brazil. With the mass production of automobiles, rubber became a valuable export, and laborers were brought in from India to work the rubber plantations. Economic Reform and Growth In the 1980s, Dr. Mohamad Mahathir succeeded Datuk Hussein as prime minister. Mahathir instituted economic reforms that would transform Malaysia into one of the so-called Asian Tigers.
  • 51. 51 Throughout the 1990s, Mahathir embarked on a massive project to build a new capital from scratch in an attempt to bypass congested Kuala Lumpur. Beginning in 1997 and continuing through the next year, Malaysia suffered from the Asian currency crisis. Instead of following the economic prescriptions of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, the prime minister opted for fixed exchange rates and capital controls. In late 1999, Malaysia was on the road to economic recovery, and it appeared Mahathir's measures were working. PEOPLE The early Buddhist Malay kingdom of Srivijaya, based at what is now Palembang, Sumatra, dominated much of the Malay peninsula from the 9th to the 13th centuries AD. The powerful Hindu kingdom of Majapahit, based on Java,
  • 52. 52 gained control of the Malay peninsula in the 14th century. Conversion of the Malays to Islam, beginning in the early 14th century, accelerated with the rise of the state of Malacca under the rule of a Muslim prince in the 15th century. Malacca was a major regional commercial center, where Chinese, Arab, Malay, and Indian merchants traded precious goods. Drawn by this rich trade, a Portuguese fleet conquered Malacca in 1511, marking the beginning of European expansion in Southeast Asia. The Dutch ousted the Portuguese from Malacca in 1641. The British obtained the island of Penang in 1786 and temporarily controlled Malacca with Dutch acquiescence from 1795 to 1818 to prevent it from falling to the French during the Napoleonic war. The British gained lasting possession of Malacca from the Dutch in 1824, through the Anglo-Dutch treaty, in exchange for
  • 53. 53 territory on the island of Sumatra in what is today Indonesia. In 1826, the British settlements of Malacca, Penang, and Singapore were combined to form the Colony of the Straits Settlements. From these strongholds, in the 19th and early 20th centuries the British established protectorates over the Malay sultanates on the peninsula. During their rule the British developed large-scale rubber and tin production and established a system of public administration. British control was interrupted by World War II and the Japanese occupation from 1941 to 1945. Popular sentiment for independence swelled during and after the war. The territories of peninsular Malaysia joined together to form the Federation of Malaya in 1948 and eventually negotiated independence from the British in 1957. Tunku Abdul Rahman became the first
  • 54. 54 prime minister. In 1963 the British colonies of Singapore, Sarawak, and Sabah joined the Federation, which was renamed Malaysia. Singapore's membership was short-lived, however; it left in 1965 and became an independent republic. Neighboring Indonesia objected to the formation of Malaysia and began a program of economic, political, diplomatic, and military "confrontation" against the new country in 1963, which ended only after the fall of Indonesia's President Sukarno in 1966. Internally, local communists, nearly all Chinese, carried out a long, bitter insurgency both before and after independence, prompting the imposition of a state of emergency from 1948 to 1960. Small bands of guerrillas remained in bases along the rugged border with southern Thailand, occasionally entering northern Malaysia. These guerrillas finally signed a peace
  • 55. 55 accord with the Malaysian Government in December 1989. A separate, small-scale communist insurgency that began in the mid-1960s in Sarawak also ended with the signing of a peace accord in October 1990. Republic of the Union of Myanmar Head of State : Senior General Than Shwe Head of Government : Prime Minister General Thein Sein Capital : Nay Pyi Daw Language : Myanmar Currency : Kyat Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar Land area: 253,954 sq mi (657,741 sq km); total area: 261,969 q mi (678,500 sq km)
  • 56. 56 Population (2012 est.): 54,584,650 (growth rate: 1.07%); birth rate: 19.11/1000; infant mortality rate: 47.74/1000; life expectancy: 65.24; density per sq km: 72 Capital: Naypyidaw largest city (2009 est.): Rangoon (Yangon), 4,259,000 Naypyidaw (administrative capital) Other large cities: Mandalay, 1,009,000; Nay Pyi Taw 992,000 Geography Slightly smaller than Texas, Myanmar occupies the Thailand/Cambodia portion of the Indochinese peninsula. India lies to the northwest and China to the northeast. Bangladesh, Laos, and Thailand are also neighbors. The Bay of Bengal touches the southwest coast. The fertile delta of the Irrawaddy River in the south contains a network of interconnecting canals and nine principal river mouths. Government: Military regime.
  • 57. 57 History The ethnic origins of modern Myanmar (known historically as Burma) are a mixture of Indo-Aryans, who began pushing into the area around 700 B.C. , and the Mongolian invaders under Kublai Khan who penetrated the region in the 13th century. Anawrahta (1044–1077) was the first great unifier of Myanmar. In 1612, the British East India Company sent agents to Burma, but the Burmese doggedly resisted efforts of British, Dutch, and Portuguese traders to establish posts along the Bay of Bengal. Through the Anglo-Burmese War in 1824–1826 and two subsequent wars, the British East India Company expanded to the whole of Burma. By 1886, Burma was annexed to India, then became a separate colony in 1937. Culture
  • 58. 58 A diverse range of indigenous cultures exist in Burma, the majority culture is primarily Buddhist and Bamar. Bamar culture has been influenced by the cultures of neighbouring countries. This is manifested in its language, cuisine, music, dance and theatre. The arts, particularly literature, have historically been influenced by the local form of Theravada Buddhism. Considered the national epic of Burma, the Yama Zatdaw, an adaptation of India's Ramayana, has been influenced greatly by Thai, Mon, and Indian versions of the play. Buddhism is practised along with nat worship, which involves elaborate rituals
  • 59. 59 to propitiate one from a pantheon of 37 nats. Mohinga, traditional Burmese rice noodles in fish soup, is widely considered to be Burma's national dish. In a traditional village, the monastery is the centre of cultural life. Monks are venerated and supported by the lay people. A novitiation ceremony called shinbyu is the most important coming of age events for a boy, during which he enters the monastery for a short time. All male children in Buddhist families are encouraged to be a novice (beginner for Buddhism) before the age of twenty and to be a monk after the age of twenty. Girls have ear-piercing ceremonies at the same time. Burmese culture is most evident in villages where local festivals are held throughout the year, the most important being the pagoda festival. Many villages have a guardian nat, and superstition and taboos are commonplace.
  • 60. 60 British colonial rule introduced Western elements of culture to Burma. Burma's education system is modelled after that of the United Kingdom. Colonial architectural influences are most evident in major cities such as Yangon.[267] Many ethnic minorities, particularly the Karen in the southeast and the Kachin and Chin who populate the north and northeast, practice Christianity.[268] According to the The World Factbook, the Burman population is 68% and the ethnic groups comprise of 32%. However, the exiled leaders and organisations claims that ethnic population is 40%, which is implicitly contrasted with CIA report (official U.S. report). Republic of the Philippine Head of State : President Benigno S. Aquino III Capital : Manila
  • 61. 61 Language(s) : Filipino, English, Spanish Currency : Peso Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines Land area: 115,124 sq mi (298,171 sq km); total area: 115,830 sq mi (300,000 sq km) Population (2011 est.): 103,775,002 (growth rate: 1.87%); birth rate: 24.98/1000; infant mortality rate: 18.75/1000; life expectancy: 71.94 Capital and largest city (2010 est.): Manila, 1.65 million Other large cities: Quezon 2.76 million; Caloocan 1.49 million Davao 1.45 million; Cebu City 866,171; Zamboanga 807,129 (2010) The halo-halo is a dessert made of ice, milk, various fruits, and ice cream
  • 62. 62 Geography The Philippine islands are an archipelago of over 7,000 islands lying about 500 mi (805 km) off the southeast coast of Asia. The overall land area is comparable to that of Arizona. Only about 7% of the islands are larger than one square mile, and only one-third have names. The largest are Luzon in the north (40,420 sq mi; 104,687 sq km), Mindanao in the south (36,537 sq mi; 94,631 sq km), and Visayas (23,582 sq mi; 61,077 sq km). The islands are of volcanic origin, with the larger ones crossed by mountain ranges. The highest peak is Mount Apo (9,690 ft; 2,954 m) on Mindanao. Government: Republic. History The Philippines' aboriginal inhabitants arrived from the Asian mainland around 25,000 BC They were followed by waves of Indonesian and Malayan settlers from 3000 BC onward. By the 14th century
  • 63. 63 AD , extensive trade was being conducted with India, Indonesia, China, and Japan. Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese navigator in the service of Spain, explored the Philippines in 1521. Twenty- one years later, a Spanish exploration party named the group of islands in honor of Prince Philip, who was later to become Philip II of Spain. Spain retained possession of the islands for the next 350 years. The Philippines were ceded to the U.S. in 1899 by the Treaty of Paris after the Spanish-American War. Meanwhile, the Filipinos, led by Emilio Aguinaldo, had declared their independence. They initiated guerrilla warfare against U.S. troops that persisted until Aguinaldo's capture in 1901. By 1902, peace was
  • 64. 64 established except among the Islamic Moros on the southern island of Mindanao. The first U.S. civilian governor-general was William Howard Taft (1901–1904). The Jones Law (1916) established a Philippine legislature composed of an elective Senate and House of Representatives. The Tydings-McDuffie Act (1934) provided for a transitional period until 1946, at which time the Philippines would become completely independent. Under a constitution approved by the people of the Philippines in 1935, the Commonwealth of the Philippines came into being with Manuel Quezon y Molina as president. On Dec. 8, 1941, the islands were invaded by Japanese troops. Following the fall of Gen. Douglas MacArthur's forces at Bataan and Corregidor, Quezon instituted a government-in-exile that he
  • 65. 65 headed until his death in 1944. He was succeeded by Vice President Sergio Osmeña. U.S. forces under MacArthur reinvaded the Philippines in Oct. 1944 and, after the liberation of Manila in Feb. 1945, Osmeña reestablished the government. Politics and government The Philippines has a democratic government.It is a constitutional republic with a presidential system. It is governed as a unitary state with the exception of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao which is largely free from the national government. There have been attempts to change the government to a federal, unicameral, or parliamentary government since the Ramos administration. The President functions as both head of state and head of government and is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president is elected by popular vote for a single six-year term, during which
  • 66. 66 he or she appoints and presides over the cabinet. The bicameral Congress is composed of the Senate, serving as the upper house, with members elected to a six-year term, and the House of Representatives, serving as the lower house, with members elected to a three- year term. The senators are elected at large while the representatives are elected from both legislative districts and through sectoral representation. The judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court, composed of a Chief Justice as its presiding officer and fourteen associate justices, all of whom are appointed by the President from nominations submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council. Economy The national economy of the Philippines is the 40th largest in the world, with an estimated 2012 gross domestic product (nominal) of $250.436 billion. Primary exports include semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment,
  • 67. 67 garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits. Major trading partners include the United States, Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Germany, Taiwan, and Thailand. Its unit of currency is the Philippine peso (₱ or PHP). Demographics Population in Philippines increased from 1990 to 2008 by approximately 28 million, a 45% growth in that time frame. The first official census in the Philippines was carried out in 1877 and recorded a population of 5,567,685. As of 2011, the Philippines has become the world's 12th most populous nation, with a population of over 94 million. It is estimated that half of the population resides on the island of Luzon. The population growth rate between 1995 to 2000 of 3.21% decreased to an estimated 1.95% for the 2005 to 2010 period, but remains a contentious issue. The population's median age is 22.7 years with 60.9%
  • 68. 68 aged from 15 to 64 years old. Life expectancy at birth is 71.94 years, 75.03 years for females and 68.99 years for males. There are about 11 million Filipinos outside the Philippines. Since the liberalization of United States immigration laws in 1965, the number of people in the United States having Filipino ancestry has grown substantially. In 2007 there were an estimated 3.1 million. According to the United States Census Bureau, immigrants from the Philippines made up the second largest group after Mexico that sought family reunification. Some two million Filipinos work in the Middle East, with nearly a million in Saudi Arabia alone. Culture and society Philippine culture is a combination of Eastern and Western cultures. The Philippines exhibits aspects found in other Asian countries with a Malay heritage, yet its culture also displays a
  • 69. 69 significant amount of Spanish and American influences. Traditional festivities known as barrio fiestas (district festivals) to commemorate the feast days of patron saints are common. The Moriones Festival and Sinulog Festival are a couple of the most well-known. These community celebrations are times for feasting, music, and dancing. Some traditions, however, are changing or gradually being forgotten due to modernization. The Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company has been lauded for preserving many of the various traditional folk dances found throughout the Philippines. They are famed for their iconic performances of Philippine dances such as the tinikling and singkil that both feature the use of clashing bamboo poles. Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacanwhere the First Philippine Republic was founded.
  • 70. 70 One of the most visible Hispanic legacies is the prevalence of Spanish names and surnames among Filipinos. However, a Spanish name and surname does not necessarily denote Spanish ancestry. This peculiarity, unique among the people of Asia, came as a result of a colonial decree, the Clavería edict, for the systematic distribution of family names and implementation of the Spanish naming system on the population.[206] The names of many streets, towns, and provinces are also in Spanish. Spanish architecture has left an imprint in the Philippines in the way many towns were designed around a central square or plaza mayor, but many of the buildings bearing its influence were demolished during World War II.[31] Some examples remain, mainly among the country's churches, government buildings, and universities. Four Philippine baroque churches are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage
  • 71. 71 Sites: the San Agustín Church in Manila, the Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, the Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Santa María) Church in Ilocos Sur, and the Santo Tomás de Villanueva Church in Iloilo.[207] Vigan in Ilocos Sur is also known for the many Hispanic-style houses and buildings preserved there. Republic of Singapore Head of State : President Tony Tan Keng Yam Head of Government : Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Capital : Singapore Language(s) : English, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil Currency : S$ (Singapore Dollar) Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore
  • 72. 72 Land area: 241 sq mi (624 sq km); total area: 267 sq mi (692.7 sq km) Population (2012 est.): 5,353,494 (growth rate: 1.993%); birth rate: 7.72/1000; infant mortality rate: 2.65/1000; life expectancy: 83.75 Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Singapore, 5,183,700. Geography The Republic of Singapore consists of the main island of Singapore, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula between the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, and 58 nearby islands. Government: Parliamentary republic. History Inhabitants of the Malaysian peninsula and the island of Singapore first migrated to the area between 2500 and 1500 B.C. ( see Malaysia). British and Dutch
  • 73. 73 interest in the region grew with the spice trade, and the trading post of Singapore was founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles. It was made a separate Crown colony of Britain in 1946, when the former colony of the Straits Settlements was dissolved. The other two settlements on the peninsula—Penang and Malacca—became part of the Union of Malaya, and the small island of Labuan was transferred to North Borneo. The Cocos (or Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island were transferred to Australia in 1955 and in 1958, respectively. Singapore attained full internal self- government in 1959, and Lee Kwan Yew, an economic visionary with an authoritarian streak, took the helm as prime minister. On Sept. 16, 1963, Singapore joined Malaya, Sabah (North Borneo), and Sarawak in the Federation of Malaysia. It withdrew from the
  • 74. 74 federation on Aug. 9, 1965, and a month later proclaimed itself a republic. Under Lee, Singapore developed into one of the cleanest, safest, and most economically prosperous cities in Asia. However, Singapore's strict rules of civil obedience also drew criticism from those who said the nation's prosperity was achieved at the expense of individual freedoms. S. R. Nathan was declared president without an election when he was certified as the only candidate eligible to run in 1999 elections. In Aug. 2004, Lee Hsien Loong became the country's third prime minister since Singapore gained independence from Britain in 1965. Lee faced his first electoral challenge in May 2006. His People's Action Party (PAP) won 82 out of 84 seats in parliamentary elections.
  • 75. 75 In Singapore's May 2011 general election, the ruling People's Action Party was reelected with a majority of 81 to 6, which was the equivalent of 60% of the vote. This percentage was viewed as promising by the opposition, as it was significantly less than in the two previous elections. After the elections, prime minister Lee Hsien Loong uncharacteristically acknowledged mistakes and pledged a more efficient government in the future. Following on the heels of the general election, August's presidential election saw a field of four candidates from which the ruling party's Tony Tan emerged victorious. Though favored to win, Tan's triumph was not exactly a landslide--the 7,000 vote margin was the equivalent of 35.2% of the vote.
  • 76. 76 Government and politics Singapore is a parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government representing constituencies. Its constitution establishes representative democracy as its political system. Freedom House ranks Singapore as "partly free" in its Freedom in the World report, and The Economist ranks Singapore as a "hybrid regime", the third rank out of four, in its "Democracy Index".Singapore is consistently rated one of the least corrupt countries in the world by Transparency International. Executive power rests with the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, and the President. The president is elected through popular vote, and has some veto powers for a few key decisions such as the use of the national reserves and the appointment of judges, but otherwise occupies a ceremonial post.
  • 77. 77 The Parliament serves as the legislative branch of government.Members of Parliament (MPs) consist of elected, non- constituency and nominated members. Elected MPs are voted into parliament on a "first-past-the-post" (plurality) basis and represent either single-member or group- representation constituencies.The People's Action Party has won control of Parliament with large majorities in every election since self-governance was secured in 1959.[26] However, in the most recent parliamentary elections in 2011, the opposition, led by the Workers' Party, made significant gains and increased its representation in the House to 6 elected MPs. The legal system of Singapore is based on English common law, albeit with substantial local differences. Trial by jury was entirely abolished in 1970 leaving judicial assessment performed wholly by judgeship. Singapore has penalties that include judicial corporal punishment in
  • 78. 78 the form of caning for rape, rioting, vandalism, and some immigration offences.There is a mandatory death penalty for murder, and for certain drug- trafficking and firearms offences. Amnesty International has said that some legal provisions conflict with the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and that Singapore has "possibly the highest execution rate in the world relative to its population".The government has disputed Amnesty's claims. In a 2008 survey, international business executives believed Singapore, along with Hong Kong, had the best judicial system in Asia. In 2011, the World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index ranked Singapore in the top countries surveyed for "Order and Security", "Absence of Corruption", and "Effective Criminal Justice". However, it scored low for both "Freedom of Speech" and "Freedom of Assembly".All public gatherings of five or more people require
  • 79. 79 police permits, and protests may legally be held only at Speakers' Corner. Economy Modern-day economy The Port of Singapore, one of the world's five busiest, with the skyline of Singapore in the background. Today, Singapore has a highly developed market-based economy, based historically on extended entrepôt trade. Along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, Singapore is one of the original Four Asian Tigers. The Singaporean economy is known as one of the freest, most innovative, most competitive, and most business-friendly. The2011 Index of Economic Freedom ranks Singapore as the second freest economy in the world, behind Hong Kong. According to the Corruption Perceptions Index,
  • 80. 80 Singapore is consistently ranked as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, along with New Zealand and the Scandinavian countries. Singapore is the 14th largest exporter and the 15th largest importer in the world. The country has the highest trade-to- GDP ratio in the world at 407.9 percent, signifying the importance of trade to its economy. The country is currently the only Asian country to have AAA credit ratings from all three major credit rating agencies; Standard & Poor's, Moody's, and Fitch. Singapore attracts a large amount of foreign direct investment as a result of its location, corruption-free environment, skilled workforce, low tax rates and advanced infrastructure. There are more than 7,000 multinational corporations from the United States, Japan, and Europe in Singapore. There are also 1,500 companies from China and 1,500 from India. Foreign firms are found in almost all sectors of the economy. Singapore is also the second largest foreign investor in India. Roughly 44 percent of the Singaporean workforce is made up of non-Singaporeans. Over
  • 81. 81 ten free trade agreementshave been signed with other countries and regions. Singapore also possesses the world's eleventh largest foreign reserves, and is rated top in terms of net international investment position per capita. The currency of Singapore is the Singapore dollar, issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. It is interchangeable with the Brunei dollar. In recent years, the country has been identified as an increasingly popular tax haven for the wealthy due to the low tax rate on personal income, a full tax exemption on income that is generated outside of Singapore and legislation that means that capital gains are also tax exempt. Australian millionaire retailer Brett Blundy, with an estimated personal wealth worth AU$835 million, and multi- billionaire Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin are two examples of wealthy individuals who have settled in Singapore (Blundy in 2013 and Saverin in 2012). Singapore ranked sixth place on the Tax Justice Network's 2011 Financial Secrecy Index of the world's top tax
  • 82. 82 havens, scoring narrowly behind the United States. Employment and poverty Singapore has the world's highest percentage of millionaires, with one out of every six households having at least one million US dollars in disposable wealth. This excludes property, businesses, and luxury goods, which if included would further increase the number of millionaires, especially as property in Singapore is among the world's most expensive.[94] Despite its relative economic success, Singapore does not have a minimum wage, believing that it would lower its competitiveness. It also has one of the highest income inequality levels among developed countries, coming in just behind Hong Kong and in front of the United States. Acute poverty is rare in Singapore; the government has rejected the idea of a generous welfare system, stating that each generation must earn and save
  • 83. 83 enough for its entire life cycle. There are, however, numerous means-tested 'assistance schemes' provided by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports in Singapore for the needy, including some that pay out SGD 400 to SGD 1000 per month to each needy household, free medical care at government hospitals, money for children's school fees, rental of studio apartments for SGD 80 a month, training grants for courses, etc. Culture The country has strict laws against drug use and has one of the lowest rates of drug use in the world. Foreigners also make up 42% of the populationand have a strong influence on Singaporean culture. A.T. Kearney named Singapore the most globalised country in the world in 2006 in its Globalization Index. The Economist Intelligence Unit in its "Quality-of-Life Index" ranks Singapore as having the best quality of life in Asia and eleventh overall in the world.
  • 84. 84 Kingdom of Thailand Head of State : His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej Head of Government : Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Capital : Bangkok Language : Thai Currency : Baht Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand Land area: 197,595 sq mi (511,771 sq km); total area: 198,455 sq mi (514,000 sq km) Population (2012 est.): 67,091,089 (growth rate: 0.543%); birth rate: 12.81/1000; infant mortality rate: 15.9/1000; life expectancy: 73.83 Capital and largest city (2010): Bangkok, 8.28 million Geography
  • 85. 85 Thailand occupies the western half of the Indochinese peninsula and the northern two-thirds of the Malay Peninsula in southeast Asia. Its neighbors are Burma (Myanmar) on the north and west, Laos on the north and northeast, Cambodia on the east, and Malaysia on the south. Thailand is about the size of France. Government: Constitutional monarchy. Politics and government The politics of Thailand is currently conducted within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government and a hereditary monarch is head of state. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislative branches. Since the political reform of the absolute monarchy in 1932, Thailand has had 17 constitutions and charters. Throughout this time, the form of government has ranged from military dictatorship to
  • 86. 86 electoral democracy, but all governments have acknowledged a hereditary monarch as the head of state History The Thais first began settling their present homeland in the 6th century, and by the end of the 13th century ruled most of the western portion. During the next 400 years, they fought sporadically with the Cambodians to the east and the Burmese to the west. Formerly called Siam, Thailand has never experienced foreign colonization. The British gained a colonial foothold in the region in 1824, but by 1896 an Anglo-French accord guaranteed the independence of Thailand. A coup in 1932 demoted the monarchy to titular status and established representative government with universal suffrage.
  • 87. 87 At the outbreak of World War II, Japanese forces attacked Thailand. After five hours of token resistance Thailand yielded to Japan on Dec. 8, 1941, subsequently becoming a staging area for the Japanese campaign against Malaya. Following the demise of a pro- Japanese puppet government in July 1944, Thailand repudiated the declaration of war it had been forced to make in 1942 against Britain and the U.S. By the late 1960s the nation's problems largely stemmed from conflicts brewing in neighboring Cambodia and Vietnam. Although Thailand had received $2 billion in U.S. economic and military aid since 1950 and had sent troops (paid by the U.S.) to Vietnam while permitting U.S. bomber bases on its territory, the collapse of South Vietnam and Cambodia in spring 1975 brought rapid changes in the country's diplomatic posture. At the Thai government's insistence, the U.S.
  • 88. 88 agreed to withdraw all 23,000 U.S. military personnel remaining in Thailand by March 1976. Economy Agriculture employs almost 50% of the population but makes up only 10% of the gross domestic product. Rice is by far the leading commercial crop, followed by rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, and soybeans. Thailand's teak, once a major export, is still a valuable commodity. Marine and freshwater fisheries are important; fish provide most of the protein in the diet, and some of the deep-sea catches (mackerel, shark, shrimp, crab) are exported. Thailand is also a major exporter of farmed shrimp. Tin and tungsten are the most valuable minerals and major export items. Lead, zinc, and antimony are also mined for export. Iron ore, gold, precious and semiprecious stones (especially saphires and rubies),
  • 89. 89 salt, lignite, petroleum, natural gas, asphaltic sand, and glass sand are exploited on a smaller scale. Thailand has substantial hydroelectric potential, which is being developed; projects have been constructed on the Ping, Mekong, Phong, and Songkhram rivers. Industry is growing. Much industry is focused on the processing of agricultural products; rice milling is by far the most important, followed by sugar refining, textile spinning and weaving, and the processing of rubber, tobacco, and forest products. The manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment, including appliances and computers and integrated circuits, became important in the late 20th cent., causing a substantial rise in the per capita gross domestic product. Lumbering is concentrated in the north. Other industries include steel production, oil refining, tin smelting, vehicle and machine assembly, and
  • 90. 90 vehicle parts. Small factories, many of which are in the Bangkok area, manufacture jewelry, furniture, plastics, glass, and pharmaceuticals. Tourism is the leading source of foreign exchange, and handicraft production has a ready market in the tourist trade. Thailand is also a major transshipment point for illicit heroin and has become a drug-money- laundering center. The main exports are textiles and footwear, fishery products, rice, rubber, computers and electronics, automobiles and auto parts, electrical appliances, and jewelry. The chief imports are capital and consumer goods, raw materials, and fuels. The main trading partners are Japan, the United States, China, Malaysia, and Singapore. Bangkok is a key point on round-the- world air routes. It is the political, commercial, cultural, and transportation center of the country, with the only port that can accommodate oceangoing
  • 91. 91 vessels. Thailand's railroads originate in Bangkok and extend to Chiang Mai, the Korat plateau, and to Cambodia, Laos, and Malaysia; a corresponding network of paved highways has been constructed. Thailand's inland waterways—a complex, interconnected system of rivers, streams, and canals—have been important arteries since ancient times; barges and boats still carry well over half the cargo moved in the central plain. Culture Theravada Buddhism is highly respected in Thailand. Thai culture has been shaped by many influences, including Indian, Lao, Burmese, Cambodian, and Chinese. Its
  • 92. 92 traditions incorporate a great deal of influence from India, China, Cambodia, and the rest of Southeast Asia. Thailand's national religion Theravada Buddhism is important to modern Thai identity. Thai Buddhism has evolved over time to include many regional beliefs originating from Hinduism, animism as well as ancestor worship. The official calendar in Thailand is based on the Eastern version of the Buddhist Era, which is 543 years ahead of the Gregorian (western) calendar. For example, the year AD 2012 is 2555 BE in Thailand. Several different ethnic groups, many of which are marginalized, populate Thailand. Some of these groups overlap into Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia and have mediated change between their traditional local culture, national Thai and global cultural influences. Overseas Chinese also form a significant part of Thai society,
  • 93. 93 particularly in and around Bangkok. Their successful integration into Thai society has allowed for this group to hold positions of economic and political power. Thai Chinese businesses prosper as part of the larger bamboo network, a network of overseas Chinese businesses operating in the markets of Southeast Asia that share common family and cultural ties. Khon Show is the most stylised form of Thai performance The traditional Thai greeting, the wai, is generally offered first by the younger of the two people meeting, with their hands pressed together, fingertips pointing upwards as the head is bowed to touch their face to the hands, usually coinciding
  • 94. 94 with the spoken word "Sawasdee khrap" for male speakers, and "Sawasdee ka" for females. The elder then is to respond afterwards in the same way. Social status and position, such as in government, will also have an influence on who performs the wai first. For example, although one may be considerably older than a provincial governor, when meeting it is usually the visitor who pays respect first. When children leave to go to school, they are taught to wai to their parents to represent their respect for them. The wai is a sign of respect and reverence for another, similar to the namaste greeting of India and Nepal. Association football, however, has possibly overtaken Muay Thai's position as most widely viewed and liked sport in contemporary Thai society and it is not uncommon to see Thais cheering their favourite English Premier League teams on television and walking around in replica kits. Another widely enjoyed
  • 95. 95 pastime, and once a competitive sport, is kite flying. Thai cuisine blends five fundamental tastes: sweet, spicy, sour, bitter and salty. Some common ingredients used in Thai cuisine include garlic, chillies, lime juice, lemon grass, and fish sauce. The staple food in Thailand is rice, particularly jasmine variety rice (also known as Hom Mali rice) which is included in almost every meal. Thailand is the world's largest exporter of rice, and Thais domestically consume over 100 kg of milled rice per person per year.[59] Over 5000 varieties of rice from Thailand are preserved in the rice gene bank of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), based in the Philippines. The king of Thailand is the official patron of IRRI Like most Asian cultures, respect towards ancestors is an essential part of Thai spiritual practice. Thais have a strong sense of hospitality and generosity, but also a strong sense of social
  • 96. 96 hierarchy. Seniority is an important concept in Thai culture. Elders have by tradition ruled in family decisions or ceremonies. Older siblings have duties to younger ones. Taboos in Thailand include touching someone's head or pointing with the feet, as the head is considered the most sacred and the foot the dirtiest part of the body. Thai society has been influenced in recent years by its widely available multi- language press and media. There are some English and numerous Thai and Chinese newspapers in circulation; most Thai popular magazines use English headlines as a chic glamor factor. Many large businesses in Bangkok operate in English as well as other languages. Thailand is the largest newspaper market in Southeast Asia with an estimated circulation of over 13 million copies daily in 2003. Even upcountry, out of Bangkok, media flourishes. For example, according to Thailand's Public Relations
  • 97. 97 Department Media Directory 2003–2004, the nineteen provinces of Isan, Thailand's northeastern region, hosted 116 newspapers along with radio, TV and cable. Socialist Republic of Vietnam Head of State : President Truong Tan Dang Head of Government : Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung Capital : Ha Noi Language : Vietnamese Currency : Dong Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam
  • 98. 98 Land area: 125,622 sq mi (325,361 sq km); total area: 127,244 sq mi (329,560 sq km) Population (2012 est.): 91,519,289 (growth rate: 1.054%); birth rate: 16.83/1000; infant mortality rate: 20.24/1000; life expectancy: 72.41; density per sq mi: 683 Capital (2009 est.): Hanoi, 6.5 million (metro. area), 2.6 million (city proper) Largest cities: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), 7,396,446; Haiphong, 1,907,705; Da Nang, 887,069; Hué 333,715; Nha Trang, 392,279 Pho is one of the most popular Vietnamese dishes. It can be found in most major cities in the world.
  • 99. 99 Geography Vietnam occupies the eastern and southern part of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia, with the South China Sea along its entire coast. China is to the north and Laos and Cambodia are to the west. Long and narrow on a north-south axis, Vietnam is about twice the size of Arizona. The Mekong River delta lies in the south. Government: Communist state. Government and politics The Socialist Republic of Vietnam, along with China, Cuba, and Laos, is one of the world's four remaining single-party socialist states officially espousing communism. Its current state constitution, which replaced the 1975 constitution in April 1992, asserts the central role of the
  • 100. 100 Communist Party of Vietnam in all organs of government, politics and society. The General Secretary of the Communist Party performs numerous key administrative and executive functions, controlling the party's national organization and state appointments, as well as setting policy. Only political organizations affiliated with or endorsed by the Communist Party are permitted to contest elections in Vietnam. These include the Vietnamese Fatherland Front and worker and trade unionist parties. Although the state remains officially committed to socialism as its defining creed, its economic policies have grown increasingly capitalist,[88] with The Economist characterizing its leadership as "ardently capitalist communists".[89] The President of Vietnam is the titular head of state and the nominal commander-in-chief of the military, serving as the Chairman of the Council of Supreme Defense and Security. The
  • 101. 101 Prime Minister of Vietnam is the head of government, presiding over a council of ministers composed of three deputy prime ministers and the heads of 26 ministries and commissions. The National Assembly of Vietnam is the unicameral legislature of the state, composed of 498 members. Headed by a Chairman, it is superior to both the executive and judicial branches, with all government ministers being appointed from members of the National Assembly. The Supreme People's Court of Vietnam, headed by a Chief Justice, is the country's highest court of appeal, though it is also answerable to the National Assembly. Beneath the Supreme People's Court stand the provincial municipal courts and numerous local courts. Military courts possess special jurisdiction in matters of national security. History The Vietnamese are descendants of nomadic Mongols from China and
  • 102. 102 migrants from Indonesia. According to mythology, the first ruler of Vietnam was Hung Vuong, who founded the nation in 2879 B.C. China ruled the nation then known as Nam Viet as a vassal state from 111 B.C. until the 15th century, an era of nationalistic expansion, when Cambodians were pushed out of the southern area of what is now Vietnam. A century later, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to enter the area. France established its influence early in the 19th century, and within 80 years it conquered the three regions into which the country was then divided—Cochin-China in the south, Annam in the central region, and Tonkin in the north. France first unified Vietnam in 1887, when a single governor-generalship was created, followed by the first physical links between north and south—a rail and road system. Even at the beginning of
  • 103. 103 World War II, however, there were internal differences among the three regions. Japan took over military bases in Vietnam in 1940, and a pro-Vichy French administration remained until 1945. Veteran Communist leader Ho Chi Minh organized an independence movement known as the Vietminh to exploit the confusion surrounding France's weakened influence in the region. At the end of the war, Ho's followers seized Hanoi and declared a short-lived republic, which ended with the arrival of French forces in 1946. Paris proposed a unified government within the French Union under the former Annamite emperor, Bao Dai. Cochin- China and Annam accepted the proposal, and Bao Dai was proclaimed emperor of all Vietnam in 1949. Ho and the Vietminh withheld support, and the revolution in China gave them the outside help needed for a war of resistance against
  • 104. 104 French and Vietnamese troops armed largely by a United States worried about cold war Communist expansion. Economy Agriculture still employs a majority of the population (though it produces a smaller share of the GDP than industry and services), and rice is by far the leading crop. The Mekong and Red river deltas are among the world's greatest rice- growing regions, the former benefiting from heavy rainfall and rich alluvial soil and the latter notable for its elaborate network (c.2,700 mi/4,350 km) of dikes, dams, canals, and locks that provide irrigation and flood control. Soybeans, peanuts, bananas, corn, and sweet potatoes are secondary food crops, and coffee, cotton, tea, pepper, cashews, and sugarcane are among the cash crops. Fishing and aquaculture comprise an important industry, and marine products are a major export, especially shrimp. Rubber is also important. Timber
  • 105. 105 resources are still substantial, particularly in the north, but deforestation resulting from highland resettlement, shifting cultivation, and commercial cutting is an increasingly serious problem. Most of the country's mineral resources are in the north. Vietnam produces large amounts of coal as well as having sizable deposits of phosphates, manganese, bauxite, chromate, and other metal ores. Substantial offshore oil and gas deposits exist in southern waters, and crude oil is an important export. Vietnam's industrial development was hampered by more than three decades of war, but as a result of economic reforms that began in the late 20th cent. and accelerated in the early 21st cent., there has been considerable industrial development. Important industries include food processing; machine building; mining; and the manufacture of clothing, steel, chemical fertilizers, glass, tires, and
  • 106. 106 paper. The tourism industry is also significant. The major exports are crude oil, marine products, rice, coffee, rubber, tea, garments, and shoes. The main imports are machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer, steel, cotton, grain, and motorcycles. Vietnam's main trading partners are China, Singapore, the United States, Japan, and South Korea. Culture Vietnam's culture has developed over the centuries from indigenous ancient Dong Son culture with wet rice agriculture as its economic base. Some elements of the national culture have Chinese origins, drawing on elements of Confucianism and Taoism in its traditional political system and philosophy. Vietnamese society is structured around làng (ancestral villages); all Vietnamese mark a common ancestral anniversary on the tenth day of the third lunar month. The
  • 107. 107 influences of immigrant peoples – such as the Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien and Hainan cultures – can also be seen, while the national religion of Buddhism is strongly entwined with popular culture. In recent centuries, the influences of Western cultures, most notably France and the United States, have become evident in Vietnam. The traditional focuses of Vietnamese culture are humanity (nhân nghĩa) and harmony (hòa); family and community values are highly regarded. Vietnam reveres a number of key cultural symbols, such as the Vietnamese dragon, which is derived from crocodile and snake imagery; Vietnam's National Father, Lạc Long Quân, is depicted as a holy dragon. The lạc – a holy bird representing Vietnam's National Mother, Âu Cơ – is another prominent symbol, while turtle and horse images are also revered. In the modern era, the cultural life of Vietnam has been deeply influenced by
  • 108. 108 government-controlled media and cultural programs. For many decades, foreign cultural influences – especially those of Western origin – were shunned. However, since the 1990s, Vietnam has seen a greater exposure to Southeast Asian, European and American culture and media. The Municipal Theatre in Ho Chi Minh City

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