No individual Southeast Asian country is religiously homogeneous. Some groups are protected de facto by their isolation from the rest of the world. Christianity also predominates in the rest of the part of the Philippines, New Guinea and Timor. Balinese Hinduism is somewhat different from Hinduism practised elsewhere, as Animism and local culture is incorporated into it. Christians can also be found throughout Southeast Asia; they are in the majority in East Timor and the Philippines, Asia's largest Christian nation.
In addition, there are also older tribal religious practices in remote areas of Sarawak in East Malaysia, Highland Philippines and Papua in eastern Indonesia. In Burma, Sakka Indra is revered as a nat.
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In Vietnam, Mahayana Buddhism is practised, which is influenced by native animism but with strong emphasis on ancestor worship. Each of the languages have been influenced by cultural pressures due to trade, immigration, and historical colonization as well. There are nearly over native languages in the region. The language composition for each country is as follows with official languages in bold :. Indonesia has over languages in over 17, islands across the archipelago, making Indonesia the second most linguistically diverse country on the planet,  slightly behind Papua New Guinea.
The official language of Indonesia is Indonesian Bahasa Indonesia , widely used in educational, political, economic, and other formal situations. In daily activities and informal situations, most Indonesians speak in their local language s. For more details, see: Languages of Indonesia. The Philippines has more than a hundred native languages, most without official recognition from the national government. Spanish and Arabic are on a voluntary and optional basis. Malaysian , Indonesian , Mandarin , Lan-nang Hokkien , Cantonese , Hakka , Japanese and Korean are also spoken in the Philippines due to immigration, geographic proximity and historical ties.
See: Languages of the Philippines. Raffles Place , Singapore. Also Brunei shows a strong influence from Arabia.
Vietnam and Singapore show more Chinese influence  in that Singapore, although being geographically a Southeast Asian nation, is home to a large Chinese majority and Vietnam was in China's sphere of influence for much of its history. Indian influence in Singapore is only evident through the Tamil migrants,  which influenced, to some extent, the cuisine of Singapore. Throughout Vietnam's history, it has had no direct influence from India — only through contact with the Thai, Khmer and Cham peoples.
Moreover, Vietnam is also categorized under the East Asian cultural sphere along with China, Korea, and Japan due to the large amount of Chinese influence embedded in their culture and lifestyle. Rice paddy agriculture has existed in Southeast Asia for thousands of years, ranging across the subregion. Some dramatic examples of these rice paddies populate the Banaue Rice Terraces in the mountains of Luzon in the Philippines.
Maintenance of these paddies is very labour-intensive.
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The rice paddies are well-suited to the monsoon climate of the region. The region has diverse metalworking, especially in Indonesia. This include weaponry, such as the distinctive kris , and musical instruments, such as the gamelan. The region's chief cultural influences have been from some combination of Islam , India , and China. Diverse cultural influence is pronounced in the Philippines, derived particularly from the period of the Spanish and American rule, contact with Indian-influenced cultures, and the Chinese and Japanese trading era.
As a rule, the peoples who ate with their fingers were more likely influenced by the culture of India, for example, than the culture of China, where the peoples ate with chopsticks ; tea, as a beverage, can be found across the region. The fish sauces distinctive to the region tend to vary.
The arts of Southeast Asia have affinity with the arts of other areas. Dance in much of Southeast Asia includes movement of the hands as well as the feet, to express the dance's emotion and meaning of the story that the ballerina is going to tell the audience. Most of Southeast Asia introduced dance into their court; in particular, Cambodian royal ballet represented them in the early 7th century before the Khmer Empire , which was highly influenced by Indian Hinduism. Apsara Dance , famous for strong hand and feet movement, is a great example of Hindu symbolic dance.
Puppetry and shadow plays were also a favoured form of entertainment in past centuries, a famous one being Wayang from Indonesia. The arts and literature in some of Southeast Asia is quite influenced by Hinduism, which was brought to them centuries ago. Indonesia, despite conversion to Islam which opposes certain forms of art, has retained many forms of Hindu-influenced practices, culture, art and literature.
It has been pointed out that Khmer and Indonesian classical arts were concerned with depicting the life of the gods, but to the Southeast Asian mind the life of the gods was the life of the peoples themselves—joyous, earthy, yet divine. The Tai , coming late into Southeast Asia, brought with them some Chinese artistic traditions, but they soon shed them in favour of the Khmer and Mon traditions, and the only indications of their earlier contact with Chinese arts were in the style of their temples, especially the tapering roof, and in their lacquerware.
Traditional music in Southeast Asia is as varied as its many ethnic and cultural divisions. Main styles of traditional music can be seen: Court music, folk music, music styles of smaller ethnic groups, and music influenced by genres outside the geographic region. Of the court and folk genres, gong-chime ensembles and orchestras make up the majority the exception being lowland areas of Vietnam. String instruments also are popular in the region. On November 18, , UNESCO officially recognized angklung as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity , and encourage Indonesian people and government to safeguard, transmit, promote performances and to encourage the craftsmanship of angklung making.
The history of Southeast Asia has led to a wealth of different authors, from both within and without writing about the region. Originally, Indians were the ones who taught the native inhabitants about writing. This is shown through Brahmic forms of writing present in the region such as the Balinese script shown on split palm leaf called lontar see image to the left — magnify the image to see the writing on the flat side, and the decoration on the reverse side. The antiquity of this form of writing extends before the invention of paper around the year in China.
Note each palm leaf section was only several lines, written longitudinally across the leaf, and bound by twine to the other sections. The outer portion was decorated. The alphabets of Southeast Asia tended to be abugidas , until the arrival of the Europeans, who used words that also ended in consonants, not just vowels.
Other forms of official documents, which did not use paper, included Javanese copperplate scrolls. This material would have been more durable than paper in the tropical climate of Southeast Asia. The same phenomenon is present in Indonesian, although different spelling standards are utilised e. The use of Chinese characters, in the past and present, is only evident in Vietnam and more recently, Singapore and Malaysia.
The adoption of Chinese characters in Vietnam dates back to around B. However, the use of the Chinese script has been in decline, especially in Singapore and Malaysia as the younger generations are in favour of the Latin Script. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Subregion of Asia. Official languages. Mon Nicobarese Aslian. Tamil Telugu Malayalam Kannada. Thai Lao Shan. Capital cities. Largest cities. North Asia. Central Asia. Western Asia. South Asia.
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