Southeast Asia is a very diverse and multi-layered sub-region in Asia which consists of different nations with different ethnicities, languages, cultures, and societies. Besides, Southeast Asian nations considerably share distinctive socio-cultural features, in terms of language spoken, ethnicities, religion, culture, and society which differed from one to another. Specifically, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore are highly considered as Southeast Asian diverse nations, ethnically, linguistically, religiously, culturally, socially, and politically. But they are diverse in different ways and cope with diversity in different ways (Ali, 2011).
Culture & Linguistics
Many people misrepresent Southeast Asia and ASEAN. Some of them think that Southeast Asia is ASEAN, or vice versa. Then what is “Southeast Asia” and “ASEAN”? and How is the origin of “Southeast Asia” as a “study” or “area studies” ?.
According to Dr. Agus Suwignyo, Southeast Asia as an area felt not too well known. The indicator to which he is concerned is that when European societies often refer to Southeast Asians who are coming from different countries identified as the same group. Dr. Agus Suwignyo explains that the actual status of Southeast Asia can be seen from three aspects, namely as a “concept” of politics and defense, historical reality and area study.
As a region that is part of the Asian continent, countries in Southeast Asia have characteristics of tropical climates with an enchanting archipelago and year-round sunshine. The landscape ranging from mountains, sea to the beach with white sand and the green tosca water almost can be found throughout this region. Not only that, the region of Southeast Asia has cultural richness of tangible and intangible. It is marked by the existence of 17 cultural heritages which has been written in the List of UNESCO World Heritage. At least, this can be an attraction for tourists around the world. It is proven by the number of significant international arrivals. Data compiled by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) in 2015 recorded more than 115 million international arrivals by 2015 which is expected to reach 173 million by 2018 with a total growth of 2% annually. Thailand is included in the second rank in the category of Top Five Fastest Growth Destinations 2014 – 2018 with the highest total international arrivals of 36 million, followed by Malaysia 27.7 million, Singapore 16.7 million, while Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, Lao, Myanmar, Brunei Darussalam and Vietnam still at the number below 10 million arrivals in 2015.
In 2001, the famous Hollywood actress, Angelina Jolie, visited Cambodia whilst she was featuring in her latest box-office film, Tomb Raider. Whilst in Cambodia, Angelina fell in love with a seven month old baby. A year later, Angelina returned and officially adopted a baby named Maddox. Angelina has since admitted that she had no desire to have children before meeting Maddox, and meeting with the children at a school in Cambodia. Angelina is now a mother of six, with three of her children having been adopted.
Have you ever been to Borobudur during Waisak? Or went to Thailand and saw a lot of shops which provide the needs of the monks? Usually you need to provide extra money in your wallet.
Yes, the religion rituals and cultural tradition now have been used by the business people to get bigger profit under the pretext of culture-based tourism. Several places of religion rituals implement a system of admission, or the use of religious attributes that require us to pay the rent. In addition, the economic effects also be felt by its surroundings, like foods business and parking. These are what commonly called commodifications, which come from the words commodity and modification. Most of the experts in contemporary usage, define commodities as any goods or services associated with capitalist production and can be found as a result of the growth of capitalism, this is the inheritance of Karl Marx and the early political economy (Appadurai, 1986). Along with Karl Marx, Greenwood (1977) also stated that everything that is sold is assumed as a commodity, including culture. Modification means changing. If it merged with the meaning of commodity, commodification means changing a stuff to become economical commodity. Shepherd (2002) stated that along with the increasing demand of tourism, commodification of culture cannot be avoided because the tourists want to feel different cultural experience as theirs. The debate is warmly discussed by the public and cultural and religion observers.