Malaysia: truly Asia

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Malaysia: truly Asia

Islam is one of the biggest and most important religions practised in Southeast Asia, with about 24.8% of people in Southeast Asia practicing it. Religion affects what the beliefs of people are, therefore affecting their practices and cultures. Thus, it is a significant aspect of the lives of the people here. Malaysia’s main religion is Islam, with a whopping 61.3% of the population being Muslims. There are many Muslim holy days which are declared national holidays in Malaysia--one example is the Eid al-Adha. The Eid al-Adha is also a national holiday in many other Southeast Asian countries, such as Singapore, Brunei, Philippine, Thailand and Indonesia. As Islam is the state religion, the government provides financial support to Islamic establishments. The government also indirectly funds non-Islamic communities, although to a much smaller degree, showing how much priority and focus is given to Islamic establishments. Thus, Malaysia is a microcosm of Southeast Asia as Islam is a major religion in both Southeast Asia and Malaysia.

AGRICULTURE- important source of livelihood and the backbone of a country's economy

Malaysia: Truly Asia

South-east Asia dominates the world production of palm oil. Malaysia is one of the major producers and exporters of palm oil in Southeast Asia. Though Indonesia produces more palm oil, Malaysia is the world's largest exporter of palm oil, having exported 18 million tonnes of palm oil products in 2011. Other countries such as Thailand and Philippines do produce palm oil, however, they are not in mass production- only an average of 2.0 million tonnes produced annually.

Oil palms need a rainforest climate with consistently high amount of rainfall, ranging from 1800mm to 2200mm. The Malay Peninsula receive abundant rainfall throughout the year. ( Sarawak receives an average of 2000mm of rainfall). However, the rest of Southeast Asia (e.g., central Burma, Northeast Thailand, and the Philippines) have a tropical subhumid climate with typically less than 1,500 mm of rainfall per year. Annual evapotranspiration in subhumid areas exceeds annual precipitation, so the soil dries out for part of the year.Hence it is unsuitable for growth of palm oil. Including the fact that Malaysia has the greatest landmass with a total of 876 islands, it is undoubtedly the best place of the growth of oil palm plantations. That’s why other countries, mainly those in Mainland south-east asia are unable to produce such plantations due to the unsuitable climate and insufficient land mass.Even so, the similarity is still more significant because palm oil is still produced in most countries although the amount of production differs from country to country.

Palm oil has helped turn South -east Asia, particularly Malaysia into one of the world’s trading powerhouses and lifted the incomes of hundreds of thousands of people.

In a nutshell, we feel that Malaysia should be considered a microcosm of Southeast Asia. Firstly, mangroves trees can be found in abundance in Southeast Asia and are important here. Malaysia has put in a lot of effort to save and conserve the mangrove trees, showing how important they are to Malaysia. Even though there are different uses of mangroves in each country, the similarity of the importance of mangrove trees in both Malaysia and Southeast Asia are still more significant. Secondly, Islam is an important religion in Southeast Asia and Malaysia. This is evident by the Islamic holy days being declared national holidays in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries. Although there are other minor differences in the elements of Islam among the Southeast Asian countries, like the architecture of the mosques, the same main practices of Islam are still more significant.Lastly, Southeast Asia dominates the world production of palm oil. Malaysia also has a high production of palm oil. Although the countries produce different amounts of palm oil, but they still do produce it to a significant extent. In conclusion, all these similarities prove that Malaysia is indeed a microcosm of Southeast Asia.


Saving Mangroves:The Malaysia government has put in a lot of effort to protect the highly-threatened mangrove forests as well as carry out conservation works. There are about 5000 areas of gazetted mangrove conservation areas in Malaysia, with the Larut Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve being widely regard as the best managed mangrove forest in the world. These shows the importance and significance of mangrove forests in Malaysia.Uses of mangroves:In Malaysia and Vietnam, mangrove forests are used as fuel wood and to make materials whereas, in Cambodia, people reply heavily on the fish and crabs that live in the mangrove roots for survival. In Thailand, mangroves are used for coastal protection against floods and tsunamis.Conclusion:Even though countries in South East Asia use mangrove forests for different reasons and purposes, the simlarities are still more significant than the differences as at the end of the day, mangrove forests are still present in all the countries due to similar climate and conditions.

Southeast Asia alone has 10.5 million acres or about 27% of the mangrove forests found in the world. With a hot and humid climate with plenty of rainfall, it is a tropical region suitable for mangroves to thrive. Hence, mangroves can be found in all parts of Southeast Asia. Also, since Southeast Asia is mostly surrounded by sea, it is more prone to natural disasters, thus having mangrove forests can help protect coastal regions and shorelines against tsunamis and floods. In Malaysia, mangroves cover an estimated 1089.7 square kilometres while in Indonesia,, there are around 9.36 million hectares of mangrove forests.

Mangrove Forests:One of a kind


Some of the elements of Islam differs among Malaysia and the other Southeast Asia countries, for example, the architecture of the mosques. The mosque is an important element in Islamic. It is a holy place where all Muslims gather for prayer, one of the most important practices in Islam. The architecture of the mosques have deep meanings behind them and represent different things. It is affected by many reasons, one of them being the different cultures in each country. For example, in Malaysia, the mosques commonly have a Islamic dome and two minarets. However, for example, the Darun Aman Mosque located in Thailand, the tip of the two minarets has been replaced with the small Chinese pavilion, instead of a typical dome. It is a result of the fusion between Chinese and Islamic architecture in the country. Thus, some elements of Islam differ among Malaysia and other Southeast Asia countries.In a nutshell, I conclude that, even though the architecture of the mosques differ among Malaysia and other Southeast Asia countries, the main religion and practices of Islam are still the same and thus Malaysia should be considered a microcosm of Southeast Asia due to Islam.

Praying in the direction of Mecca ( a city in Saudi Arabia where the pilgrimage is carried out )


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