Centrifugal & Centripetal Factors of Southeast Asia & the Pacific


Southeast Asia, also known as Southeastern Asia, is a region, which is geographically a subregion of Asia that consists of 11 countries that include south of Japan and China, east of India, west of Papua New Guinea and north of Australia. When combined with the Pacific region, the population living in this region is the biggest on Earth. “With 3.9 billion inhabitants, South East Asia and the Pacific is by far the most populated geographic region in the world.” (Kukuric)

Southeastern Asia is an incredibly interesting region, being one of the most diverse. The diversity comes in various forms, from different aspects. Taking, for example, religion. Southeastern region has the biggest number of Muslims, yet this is not the official religion. “Although 85 percent of Indonesia’s population of over 234,000,000 are Muslims, a larger number than any other country in the world, Islam is not the official state religion. Muslims are a minority in Singapore and the southern Philippines.” (Asia Society) Language is also an interesting topic when talking about this region. “Of the six thousand languages spoken in the world today, an estimated thousand are found in Southeast Asia.” (Asia Society)

Pacific region’s significance comes in the form of how the region is situated. Because of the island structure, one of the countries in the region, “Kiribati is one of the most remote and geothe graphically-dispersed countries in the world, consisting of 33 coral atolls spread over 3.5 million square kilometers of the ocean; an area larger than  India.” (The World Bank) On the negative side of this aspect, the small size of the countries contributes to some problems, such as “limited natural resources, narrowly-based economies, large distances away from major markets, and vulnerable to external shocks; all of which can affect growth and have often led to a high degree of economic volatility.” (The World Bank)

Being the region with the largest population, hugely diverse culture, unique nature and many other factors, Southeastern Asia and the Pacific make it impossible not to point out the Centrifugal and Centripetal factors to explore the region more.

Southeastern Asia

It has been established that the region of Southeastern Asia is a largely-populated, and due to cultural diversity, is home to many different languages. With a large number of anything, more problems are likely to arise. Unfortunately, there is a language problem in Southeastern Asia, which is one of the centrifugal factors of this region. Language diversity is a big issue in many regions. Due to historical and economic reasons, many languages that are popular among the relatively small populations are being absorbed by the “main” languages of the region, where the population is situated. In Southeastern Asia, this problem seems to be critical. “In reality, only 10-15 so-called main languages (also known as “local,” “regional” or “zonal” languages) are playing the significant communication role in political and cultural life.” (Pogadaev & Makarenko, 20) Therefore, one of the big problems is the extinction of the languages, which are not widely used, as the native speakers are forced to speak the “main” languages. Another factor that contributes to the language problem in the Southeastern region is the phenomenon that is called ‘English-language push.’ The regions, such as Southeastern Asia are forced to teach children English from early childhood, which results in children not knowing either language to the full extent. (Boivin, 2017)

Another centrifugal factor that affects life in the region is the environmental problem of the endangered species. Due to the geographical position of Southeastern Asia, the region sits, for the most part, in the tropics. Thus, there are many unique species. “As a result of a wide number of factors — from poaching to deforestation — many native species are endangered.” (Hershberger, 2014) Many factors of the daily life in the countries lead to such issue. Southeastern Asia is a region of interest for people from all around the world for touristic purposes. While people seek the “exotic” features of the region, flora and fauna are in great danger. “One of the most prominent of these species is the Asian elephant. The total number of Asian elephants in the world has sadly fallen to below 30,000, down from 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century in Thailand alone.” (Hershberger, 2014)

Despite the negative outcome that tourists bring, tourism has a big effect on the economics of Southeastern Asia, which is a centripetal factor of this particular region. Being a jungle region, people from all continents want to experience the countries of the region of Southeastern Asia in real life. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (2017), being “one of the world’s largest economic sectors, Travel & Tourism creates jobs, drives exports, and generates prosperity across the world.” Due to the warm climate all year round, Southeast Asia has an opportunity to host tourists constantly. Therefore, the advantages are also non-stopping. What is more, the demand for Southeastern Asia does not seem to stop. According to Lotha (2018), “Tourist numbers in Southeast Asia increased by 10% in the first four months of 2018, the largest such growth of any region in the world, according to a recent report by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).” Such countries as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines were the most visited countries from Southeastern Asia in 2017. (Lotha, 2018)

The Pacific

Being the region of many islands with the complex structure, it is not odd that the Pacific region faces the language problem as one of the centrifugal factors. It has been discussed that many islands are situated widely enough for them to be quite far from each other, which is one of the reasons for the existence of many languages. “The Pacific is often spoken of as the most linguistically complex region in the world (Mugler and Lynch 1996), with over a thousand distinct vernacular languages spoken by less than ten million inhabitants.” (Taufe‘ulungaki, 2004) Pacific region is one of the territories that faces the extinction of the languages that are not spoken by a big population. English is pushed to be learned in this region, making even the ‘main’ languages of the region to vanish slowly. “Development of the mother tongue is critical for cognitive development and as a basis for learning the second language.” (Taufe‘ulungaki, 2004) The issue does not only affect the political and economic status of the language but affects the whole population on a psychological level.

One of the environmental issues that the Pacific region faces is climate change. “Many of the Pacific island countries are extremely vulnerable to climate change because of a combination of factors.” (Pacific Neighbours, 2009) The factors include how remotely are islands situated from each other, the natural proneness to the natural disasters, the urbanization, fragile environments of the islands, limited natural and human resources, and many others. Due to the climate change issue being risen as if it will only be in the future, not enough resources are aimed at this issue, resulting in such regions as the Pacific, currently suffering from the issue that is considered future.


The Pacific region is in the field of interest for the people from all around the world. For many years, due to many factors, this region is considered to be “paradise-like.” “The countries in the Pacific Islands have had a long association with the international tourist gaze that is widely tied to notions of paradise, friendly “natives,” and tropical splendour.” (Cheer et al., 2018) People are leaned towards what they think is beautiful. Therefore, they cannot afford not to visit heaven on Earth. Thus, tourism is one of the fields that is prosperous in the region of the Pacific, which is the centripetal factor for the Pacific. «In the 21st century, Pacific island countries (PICs) continue to leverage for tourism the attributes that have imbued them, including appeals to their cultural, geographical, and climatic allure.» (Cheer et al., 2018)

The regions of Southeast Asia and the Pacific have quite similar in both centrifugal and centripetal factors that affect the development of both regions. Being the tropical regions with the warm climate all year, Southeastern Asia and the Pacific are huge tourist attractions. Tourism and travel have a significant and positive impact on the economy of the regions. However, tourism and other factors can be a reason for the negative effects on Southeastern Asia and the Pacific. Due to the significant amount of tourists, English is slowly pushed to be learned in the countries of both regions. The language situation is bad enough without the English, with the extinction of thousands of languages, and forcing children to learn English will only make them wrong in both languages. Another issue that is brought with tourism and other factors is the environmental issue. In Southeast Asia, many species are endangered, due to the high demand and the lack of the resources, and in the Pacific, the climate change is not taken seriously, and, therefore, not being gotten reed off.

Works Cited

Boivin, Noel. “Mother Tongues matter amid an English-language push in Asia.” Global Partnership for Education, 2017. Accessed on October 30, from https://www.globalpartnership.org/blog/mother-tongues-matter-amid-english-language-push-asia

Cheer, Joseph M., Pratt, Stephen, Tolkach, Denis, Bailey, Anthony, Taumoepeau, Semisi, & Movono, Apisalome. “Tourism in Pacific island countries: A status quo round-up.” Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, 2018 doi:10.1002/app5.250

Hershberger, Matt. “6 environmental challenges facing Southeast Asia (and what you can do to help).” Matador Network, 2014. Accessed on October, 30, from https://matadornetwork.com/change/6-environmental-challenges-facing-southeast/

Kukuric, Neno. “South East Asia and the Pacific Islands.” International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre. Accessed on October, 30, from https://www.un-igrac.org/regions/south-east-asia-and-pacific-islands

Lotha, Lesly. “Southeast Asia sees a largest worldwide increase of tourists during the first quarter of 2018.” Southeast Asia Globe, 2018. Accessed on October, 30, from http://sea-globe.com/southeast-asia-tourism-increase/

Pogadaev, Victor & Makarenko, Vladimir. “Language Situation and Language Policy in Southeast Asia.” Academia, n.d. Accessed on October, 30, from http://www.academia.edu/3268064/Language_Situation_and_Language_Policy_in_Southeast_Asia

Taufe‘ulungaki, ‘Ana. “Language and Culture in the Pacific Region: Issues, Practices, and Alternatives.” Journal of Educational Studies, 27 (1), 2004.

Watson Andaya, Barbara. “Introduction to Southeast Asia.” Asia Society, n.d. Accessed on October, 30, from https://asiasociety.org/education/introduction-southeast-asia?page=1

“The World Bank in Pacific Islands.” The World Bank, n.d.  Accessed on October, 30, from https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/pacificislands/overview

“The Economic Impact of Global Travel & Tourism.” World Travel & Tourism Council, 2018.  Accessed on October, 30, from https://www.wttc.org/-/media/files/reports/economic-impact-research/regions-2018/southeastasia2018.pdf

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

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[Accessed: September 17, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: September 17, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: September 17, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: September 17, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: September 17, 2021]
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