Southeast Asia has always been a very diverse section of the world. It’s traditions and values are unlike that of other nations. Some of their practices seem odd or even unthinkable to those who live on the outside. But this area didn’t create such a unique lifestyle over night. The geography in Southeast Asia’s location has played a major role in diversifying the region. Due to the array of mountains, easy ocean access, and long stretches of plain, Southeast Asia has been able to create a rich, assorted, culture.
To begin with, this region has always been home to large expanses of mountains. When people began settling and dividing the land, those who were not rich or powerful were sent away from the desired plains. These nomads eventually settled up in the mountains where they became isolated from other people in the area. Because of this separation between those living in the mountains and those in the plains, different cultures began to form. The mountainous people used a different language and different forms of artistic expression than those who lived below them. For example, they believe a person should not make face to face contact with another. They also believed that beauty could be found in blackened teeth and long necks. This divide in culture from the mountains ensured that Southeast Asia would continue to grow to be diverse in customs.
In addition, because of the areas easy access to open waters, this allowed many traders to arrive to exchange goods. These people had an assortment of different backgrounds, which began to mix into the already established culture of Southeast Asia. For example, Arab traders not only brought over spices, but they also introduced their religion to the locals. Islam became very popular and combined with the previous religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. This blend of cultures only helped to widen the diversity in the region, thanks to the ocean access.
In conclusion, the many plains found in Southeast Asia have helped to create diversity. People who lived in these flat areas usually had more power and wealth from farming. They began to develop different customs than those in the mountainous regions. Their family life included giving the children an equal say in matters, which is not something commonly practiced. They also did not discriminate by gender. These people believed strongly in the morals of peace and respecting others. These ideas were preserved in the area because people did not have any other place to move to.
Because of the mountains, access to the ocean, and plains, the geography had a huge impact on the diversity in Southeast Asia.