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Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University of Wellington. Vol. 24, No. 5. 1961

Southeast Asian

Southeast Asian

But, you will ask, is there anything such as a Southeast Asian? Indonesians I know, you will say, Burmese, and Chinese, yes. But Southeast Asians? This was one of the problems the conference turned to when it got away from the papers on specialised topics and on to the teaching of the history of the area as a whole. The answer is, I think, that Southeast Asia is in process of becoming. It was first so named, after all, only in 1943, by K. M. Panikkar; it was first treated as a unit by the Allies in the last war, when they placed Mountbatten in charge. It has always had a basic culture which marks it off from both India and China, though parts of it have occasionally followed fashions set in these countries, principally India. But until Mr Harrison's revolutionary force arrived, the various parts of Southeast Asia to a large extent remained discrete, unconnected units. Western techniques are broadening the horizons of the various people of Southeast Asia so that they are aware that they are involved in one another, and know that they differ from the populous countries to their north and west.