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Atom Lekprasert 11-01

Colonialism and globalization in Southeast Asia

Colonialism and globalization are the same in terms of Nationalism, which means they

are proud of their nation that they want to use that to gain more power in other countries.

Globalization mainly deals with finance and business while colonialism focuses, primarily, on

lands. Even though, colonialism and globalization are not the exact same thing in the way of how

they gain their power but they do have some similarities which is the motivation behind them.

Colonialism is a process that a central system of power rules over the surrounding lands

of other countries than their own. According to Colonialism and Nationalism in Southeast Asia

article, the dominant countries from the end of 1700s until the mid-1900s were mostly from

Europe, such as Spain, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and the United States. These

powerful countries were motivated to come to southeast Asian countries by political benefits,

economic profits, and expanding their culture. Not only they wanted to gain benefits from

colonies, but also they wanted to spread their power in a form of religion, belief, and culture.

Although their purposes of colonization were the same, they had different attitudes toward their

colonies. Great Britain and the United States were willing to allow their colonies to become

independent while Spain and the Netherlands were not. Colonialism enriched motherland and

colonies in a better national finance and decreasing overpopulation problem in their countries. It

also taught the people about nationalism, democracy, and constitutionalism. These ideas, later,

helped the people of the colonies to achieve independence. On the other hand, the economic

conditions of the colonies were precarious when raw materials were taken away from their

countries to the mother country. Colonialism, mainly, dealt with owning lands which gave most

of the advantages to the mother country while the impacts the colonies got were, mostly, in a

negative ways. For example, when the Europeans came in Malaysia to conquer Malacca

(Malakka) peninsula. Malacca played a major role in European colonial era. The first country

who came in this area was Portugal. According to Portuguese Malacca 1511-1641, the

Portuguese converted Malacca into a remarkable trading center for exchanging trades and

shunting spices, after invading in 1511. This port was interested by many merchants from all the

Asian nations, such as Arabia, Persia, China, India, Japan, Indonesia, Ceylon, and Bengal.

According to Thai South and Malay North book by Montesano and Michael J, the Europeans

referred to this peninsula as the Ultra Gangetic Peninsula before it was called Malakka in

seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Malaya Peninsula can also be found in some sources

referring to the same place according to Siamese publications. This peninsula was interested by

British, French, Portuguese, German, and Dutch in conquering. From the beginning of 16th

century when the Portuguese came in continuing to mid 18th century when the British ruled the

peninsula, Malaysian economic began to grow. After Malacca was captured, the Muslim trading

center changed to Johor, then later on Perak. This situation was similar to what happened in

Philippines where it was ruled by Spanish. Most of the people in Philippines were Muslims,

same as Malaysia. From Philippines Religion heavily influenced by the Spanish, when the

Spanish came in Phillipines, they brought Catholic and Bible beliefs in. Some Filipinos were

converted to Christian which can be seen from the celebration of Holy week in their country.

Some of the Malaysian were also converted into Christians from Muslims. The Europeans

affected both direct colonial rule in the Straits Settlements and indirect control in some parts of

the peninsula. Nevertheless, many Malaya kingdoms began to fight over each other to control the

throne of Perak which made the British decided to intervene. The Pangkor Agreement, a peace

treaty, was made by the British. They forced the Malay rulers to sign in 1874. Other than the

political form, however, British also brought some social and economical changes which

benefited Malaysia. Not only colonialism affects in a negative way in both colonies and

dominant countries but also benefits them.

Globalization is a process of interaction and integration among people, companies, and

government of different nations which focused on international trade and investment by using

technology as the main communicative key. It makes the world become smaller where

everyone interacts and depends on each other for survival, especially for trading. The main

reason why many countries start to globalize others is the benefit in business and finance. It both

strengthens the dominant countries and the colonies weakness in business. Globalization

encourages investment into less developed areas of the world and allows the poorest countries to

find markets in richer ones. In that way, many countries are easily connected which, later, leads

to stronger trade ties and dependencies between nations. For example, in Malaysia, globalization

played an important role in their phenomenal economic development and growth. It has reduced

the tariffs, in 1992, on 79 percent of imports which has improved their trading system. With this,

many manufactured exports and consumer welfare have been gotten better. In addition,

Malaysian economy is also impacted by the leadership of Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamed. As it

was stated in Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, The Legendary Leader, he had served as the

Prime Minister of Malaysia for 22 years from 1981 to 2003 who had brought prosperity and

security to Malaysia. He enhanced the economy by improving Malaysia from an agrarian society

to one of the most developed country in the South East Asian region. At the end of 1996, GDP in

Malaysia was growing at almost 8.5 percent per year for 10 continuous years, with the

expectation that it would keep going for many more years. By 1997, Malaysia became the 18th

biggest exporting nation and the 17th largest importing nation in the world with the total external

trade of more than 157 billion US Dollars, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Unfortunately, in July 1997, they had to face financial crisis in their country which made their

currency dropped to half of what it was. However, with a strong sense of stability, Mahathir and

his government had, they managed to successfully overcome this situation without any support

from IMF. Besides these advantages Malaysia get on their economy from globalization, there are

also some disadvantages such as employment problem. Malaysia is facing the problem lately.

Since malaysias economy is well developed resulting from the globalization that benefits their

finance, they have plenty of jobs available. Although, Malaysia is not a country which lacks of

jobs for any employees to apply, but those Malaysians who are well educated are not willing to

do "3-D" jobs. It is the job that the locals refer to as dirty, dangerous and difficult which includes

farming, construction and manufacturing. Because of this situation Malaysia is willing to have

many foreign labourers come to work in their country. Even though, they have sufficient jobs,

but no one wants to take them also hiring foreign workers doesn't improve the problem that well.

They still dont have enough employees. Globalization is a less harsh way for the dominant

countries to gain their power over the less powerful countries. It doesnt only give the weaker

ones a negative impacts but also benefiting them economically.

To conclude, colonization and globalization might seem like cruel ways to take over

other countries in terms of the power that is limited of the weaker countries. On the other hand,

they dont only give disadvantages to those weaker ones but also advantages. Investment of each

country is encouraged which leads to an improved economic and GDP like it was presented

earlier in the paragraph about Malaysia. Colonization and globalization are not that different.

The reason that drives the countries to start doing it is the same which is political benefits,

economic profits, and culture. Anyhow, they do have some differences which is the way they

conquer. Colonization focuses on lands, while globalization deals with trading.


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