Southeast Asian Region and Orientalism

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Southeast Asia is an imagined region comprising eleven independent countries. Although these countries have many distinct patterns and thus defined as one region, they remain differentiated, from their indigenous history background, their environmental and physical differences, their religious tolerance, as well as their current political and economical status. The characteristic of this region can be described as: diversity (K Danielson, 2009).

In my research paper, I will draw Indonesia as a representation of the whole Southeast Asia region. The reason for doing so is due to Indonesia’s diverse characteristic, which I believe is very representative of the region as a whole. By analyzing President Barack Obama’s speech:
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People of Indonesia of that time was struggling and fighting for their independence. This is also how many “foreigners” think about the political status of the Southeast Asian countries. This was true about fifty years ago, but is completely changed now, by an extraordinary democratic transformation, as mentioned by Obama. The peaceful power transfer and the direct leaders’ election of Indonesia during these years bring the country “a dynamic civil society”, “political parties and unions”, and “a vibrant media and engaged citizens”. By discussing the successfully democratic transformation, Obama helps the “foreigners” gain information about what the real political status is in Indonesia, which enables them to rethink what they used to think about the Southeast Asia might have changed totally.

In the last place, Obama discussed the topic of religion, which is a fundamental of Indonesian people. The largest religion in Indonesia is Muslim, with 88 percent of the population (U.S. Department of State, 2010). Obama also mentioned that, most Indonesians, like his stepfather, were raised a Muslim. However, they believe that “all religions were worthy of respect” (B

Minyue Xu


Obama, 2010). This belief shows the Indonesians’ spirit of religious tolerance and their spirit of “unity in diversity”. Obama further used two other
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