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National Geographic Special Asian Studies Edition

How does geography impact culture, economics, and politics in Asian nations? International School of Beijing


Special Asian Studies Edition

Bangladesh: At the Mercy of Nature A SIAN S TUDIES VOLUME 3, ISSUE B

OCTOBER 2008

By: JJ Wong Dhaka, Bangladesh

Every country on Earth is unique in its own way, but what is the element that gives each nation its own special characteristics and identity? In the case of Bangladesh, a densely populated country in South Asia, the answer is geography, specifically the climate, which can carve a very large mark on the nation. After all, Bangladesh’s climate shapes and affects many aspects of its culture, economics and politics.

the lives of many Bangladeshi every year are affected in an extremely negative way. This is because they have to cope with the loss of loved ones and damages to property, particularly damages towards housing and shelter which can be quite difficult to resolve since many Bangladeshi do not have the finances needed to rebuild everything. Other issues that concern the Bangladeshi during the aftermath of floods include destroyed crops and shortages of The culture of drinking water, meaning the people living in that there is a grim posBangladesh is greatly sibility that there will be influenced by its climate. no food left to eat, and Bangladesh is a country no clean water to drink. that is often hit by heavy rain and immense floodHowever at the same time, the climate ing, which influences that brings the people of the lives of the BanglaBangladesh such great deshi people (Figure 1). Because Bangladesh is a misfortune also governs nation with a monsoon the work schedule and climate and at the same daily lives of many time has a very lowBangladeshi. For examlying topography, the ple, rice crops can be impact of seasonal rains grown three times each is amplified and the land year, during the kharif, becomes very easily haimantik, and rabi seaflooded. With the flood- sons, meaning the suming and excessive rainmer-rainy, rainy, and fall occurring so often, winter seasons respec-

Figure 1: Flooding in Bangladesh negatively impacts the lives of many people.

tively. After all, Bangladesh is still a largely agricultural society, thus the people of Bangladesh must utilize the climate to maximize crop yields so that they can enjoy a better harvest. And since the growing season lasts all year round, the working habits and lifestyle of many Bangladeshi rely entirely on the climate. If the climate was different, then the culture of Bangladesh would vary vastly from the Bangladesh today. Bangladesh’s economy is also heavily impacted by its climate. Flooding and excessive rainfall not only affect the culture of Bangla-

desh, it also drastically affects the economy of Bangladesh. This is because most of the country’s economics rely on good crops and agriculture; however natural calamities such as floods and heavy rains often ruin these necessities and basic elements of the Bangladesh economy. Due to this, the people of Bangladesh often lose a lot of their wealth and money attempting to repair their farming business. However the after-effects of this severe climate don’t stop there, the flooding of rivers forces the river transportation to a standstill, which in turn hurts


B ANGLADESH : A T

P AGE 2

C LIMATE ’ S I MPACT

ON

Figure 2: Variety of high quality rice at a Bangladeshi market.

“... CLIMATE CHANGE , WHICH HAS ALREADY DRASTICALLY AFFECTED MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN B ANGLADESH .”

THE

M ERCY

OF

N ATURE

C ULTURE , E CONOMICS , A ND P OLITICS I N B ANGLDESH

deshi government acts. After the deadly cyclone of 1991 which claimed many lives and left a staggering number of nearly 10 million people homeless. The government prepared plans to build 2500 cyclone shelters, as well as organizing a program to train thousands of rescue workers who would provide immediate assistance in the case of another calamity (Figure 3). In Bangladesh the government has to deal with the effects of cyclones on people’s lives and the economy as well as the daunting task of providing funds and effort to rebuild lives and shelter, even though Bangladesh is not a very wealthy nation.

desh faces each year and especially now that climate change is affecting Bangladesh by increasing the velocity of its natural disasters. The Bangladesh government is obviously having improved relations with any other nation that offers it assistance. Yes amazingly, the climate of Bangladesh can even shape its politics, even though the two elements seem to be unrelated on the surface.

the economy since a lot of cargo transportation and In conclusion, the trade is carried out along the climate of Bangladesh rivers. Bangladesh’s climate truly affects and impacts also plays a major role in its its culture, economics, economy because it deterand politics. The devastatmines the types of trade reing natural calamities sources that are available. which destroy lives and When the climate isn’t spewwealth yet at the same ing forth natural disasters, it time paves the way for is rather mild and nearly improving relations with tropical, making Bangladesh other nations, or an ideal place for crops such the ideal condias rice, jute, and tea (Figure 2). tions in which to This goes back to the econgrow high qualomy because as mentioned ity cash crops. before, Bangladesh’s econThese are all eleomy is also very reliant on ments of Banglaagriculture, with rice, jute desh directly and tea being the major cash influenced by crops. Without the help of Figure 3: Aftermath of a devastating cyclone in Bangladesh. its climate. Bangladesh’s perfect cropWithout the growing climate conditions, unique climate, BanglaAmazingly these Bangladesh probably woulddesh would surely be exsame natural disasters can n’t have the trade resources it tremely different. The also impact Bangladesh’s needs to keep an economy fertile soils and catastrointernational relations going. Indeed, Bangladesh’s phic natural disasters that with other countries in a climate can influence the characterize Bangladesh positive manner. For execonomy in various ways, may no longer exist. But ample recently the UK whether it is a negative or if that was the case, then donated 75 million positive impact. it is undeniable that the pounds to aid Bangladesh Lastly, the climate and also prepare the coun- climate plays an immense can also affect and impact role in the shaping of a try for climate change, the political aspect of Bangnation, and in this inwhich has already drastiladesh. For one, cyclones stance, in the identity of cally affected millions of and other natural disasters people in Bangladesh. Bangladesh. that often strike Bangladesh With all the climateaffects the way the Banglarelated problems Bangla-


Special Asian Studies Edition

P EARL A SIAN S TUDIES

OF THE EAST

VOLUME

3

ISSUE B

O COTBER 2008

By Fred Chang Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates cities like Dubai and Abu

quickly rose to 4.6 million in

and glory would have never

Dhabi tend to keep the

2008. This is caused by the new

surfaced in the United Arab

Islamic shape but adopt

laws by the government hoping

Emirates if it weren’t for the

new materials and raise the

to attract more foreign inves-

close link between the federation

height drastically in order

tors, as expatriates can now

and its geography. The UAE was

to ‘modernize’ the city.

enjoy tax-free life in the city of

once an impoverished federation,

Steel and glass were rarely

Dubai, also known as Dubayy.

but through changes relating to

used in Islamic architecture,

With this new law in place

its geography, the UAE is not

but now they are seen

many corporate will set offices

anything like it was before. There

everywhere from luxurious

can be no doubt the key factor

hotels to the new Burj

that started it all was the finding

Dubai skyscraper. Further-

of oilfields, leading the federa-

more, the different ethnic

Developments, wealth,

tion to riches as well and starting

groups in the UAE are

up a chain reaction responsible

heavily influenced because

for all other major advances

of its location.

following that. Location, population and urbanization are the main aspects that affect the culture, politics, and economics of the UAE.

business into the heart of its nation and at the same time increasing the population and

(Photo courtesy of Franklyn Zhu)

The UAE borders major Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia and also serves as the gateway for foreigners entering Southwest Asia. Therefore, there

Location has an im-

in the city, attracting more

Burj Al Dubai and a Modern High-rise buildings

are evidently different races of

pact on the culture of the nation

people living there. In fact, for-

in various ways. Situated in the

eigners occupy almost four-fifth

heart of the Arabic world and the

of the population. As of the year

gateway of Southwest Asia, the

2000 more than 1.9 million for-

size of cities in the UAE. Second, the govern-

the most appealing investing center in the case when Global Companies want to invest in Southwest Asia. The strategic location gives the UAE priority when Global Companies decide where to set they’re headquarters, just as any company would want to have they’re headquarters on Wall Street than in a small town nobody’s ever heard of. Having

ment’s use of oil for funding in various sectors provides better living environments in the city, causing urbanization. The city of Dubai ranks as one of the highest in living standards and GDP thanks to the money the government’s put into it. As of 2007, the per capita GDP is $37, compared to $21,100 just 6 years ago. The rarity of oil in other countries

geographic location and the

eign workers are living in the

different ethnic groups play a

UAE, with 50% South Asians,

vital role in shaping the culture.

Arabs and Iranians 23%, and

Trapped in the midst of the

Westerners/east Asians taking up

Southwest Asian society, UAE’s

8% of the total population. A

culture and lifestyle was largely

huge part of why the UAE has

banization affect politics and the

more advanced society. For the

influenced by Islam. For example,

such an unbalanced racial split is

government of the UAE. First,

government, building up a strong,

Islamic styled architectures. The

due to its location by making

newly modified laws increased

self-dependent nation in the heart

UAE today incorporates both

itself one of the most attractive

its growth and developments. A

of Arab through urbanization is

modern and traditional designs.

connecting point between south

nation with only a population of

just the start. The government’s

Residential high-rises in big

and west asia, as well as being

2.9 million people in 2003

decisions allowed many new

United Arab Emirates’ strategic location as well as its topography shaped many parts of its culture. Population and ur-

makes oil exports a relatively profiting business. Over the years, urbanization caused many more Emiratis to move into cities, finding higher pay jobs and living in a


P EARL OF THE EAST

P AGE 2

GEOGRAPHICAL Elements affect culture, politics and economics in uae

Mountainous Regions

city down just as fast. In a nation

paved. Another influence to the

where pure, drinkable water is

economy is urbanization. Due to

scarcer than oil, the topography of

the fast growing economy urbani-

the United Arab Emirates poses an

zation can lead to various problems.

extremely difficult challenge to the

During the last 30-40 years Dubai

government as well as threatening

expanded several times in size.

the economy. Despite this draw-

With that, the population rises 5

back, a topographical element such

percent with immigrant population

as coastline in the United Arab

rising 6 percent annually. The

Emirates are still rapidly develop-

strategic locations of big cities like

ing and expanding.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi can have

(Photo courtesy of Franklyn Zhu)

projects such as constructing the world’s ‘most expensive’ airport in Dubai and 4835 km of highway to meet the rapidly growing number of transports. As of 2000 there were 745,315 private cars and 453,097 in public transport. Altogether, the policies made by the federal gov-

“ THE CITY ’ S DESALINATION PLANT , A SYSTEM THAT TAKES SALT WATER AND PURIFIES IT WILL LAST NO MORE THAN 24 HOURS IF IT HAD TO BE SHUT DOWN …”

ernment are crucial to the future of the UAE.

Coastal cities in the UAE are vital to its continuous growth as the nation is transform-

positive affect on the cities, regardless of issues such as environmental problems.

ing itself to rely on tourism and

The UAE we see today

serving as the ‘business hub’ of the

is all that different because of the

area. Without much thought needed,

close link between geography and

coastal cities have always been

the culture, politics, and economics

developing faster than others since

of the federation. Without many of

ancient times. According to various

these aspects, The United Arab

sources, 51% of the UAE economy

Emirates might still be an impover-

is made up of Service, with Indus-

ished federation today. United Arab

try coming second place at 46

Emirates have a bright and secured

as urbanization and its topography

percent and Agriculture with 3

future, but power of Mother Nature

have positive as well as negative

percent. This benefits the city of

can always alter that.

effects on the economy. Topogra-

Dubai since Port Rashid, the largest

phy in the United Arab Emirates

artificial harbor of the Middle East

could be a big issue to UAE’s

provides easy access to the sea,

economy. As the UAE is mainly

enabling trading and potential

covered with deserts and mountains,

growth of the fishing industry. As

there are many areas where deserti-

of 2007 there are 59 merchant ships

fication is becoming a major prob-

and 39 airports, 22 of which have

Geographic factors such

lem. In fact, almost 98 percent of the land in the United Arab Emirates is desert. The capital city, Abu Dhabi, needs enormous consumptions of water to sustain its growth rate. A recent research shows that the city’s desalination plant, a system that takes salt water and purifies it will last no more than 24 hours if it had to be shut down in an emergency. The enormous reliance on this one component to sustain the city’s economy is risky as it can go up quickly but also bring the

Coastal Area of the UAE

(Photo courtesy of Franklyn Zhu)


Special Asian Studies Edition

C ULTURE , I NFLUENCED BY C LIMATE A SIAN S TUDIES V OLUME 3

ISSUE

B

O CTOBER 2008

By Elise Jiang (ShanShan) Pyongyang, North Korea

“Culture is the widen-

grow rapidly and lively,

Thais celebrate a festival

takes a huge role in the

ing of the mind and of the

taking a part in the cultural

involving crops: The

food system and festival

spirit.”— Jawaharial Ne-

food for Thais. The warm,

Ploughing Ceremony. (see

traditions in Thailand.

hru (“Culture Quotes”).

tropical climate in Thailand

figure 2) The Ploughing

Culture relates to one’s

guarantees almost perfect

customs, traditions, and a

conditions for sweet,

way of life generally and is

mouth-watering fruits to

greatly affected by climate.

ripen. (see figure 1) Fruits

Thailand consists of a

are grandly included in

tropical climate; China,

Thais’ everyday diet; be-

being such a big country,

cause of the perfectly suit-

has a dramatic climatic

able environment, Thais

difference in the south and

are provided with tasty,

north; lastly, North Korea

aromatic, and delicious

goes through all four sea-

fruits that they genuinely

Ceremony held in May

sons , the temperature

savor

every year aims to predict

altering clearly during each

and

the temperature change

season. Thai, Chinese, and

enjoy.

and farmers’ results of

dressing code in China is remarkably stimulated by the weather and climate change. Plenty of farmers in China depend on agriculFigure 2— Each year, the Thai farmers enjoy such festival, for it has become a part of their tradition.

agriculture. Farmers de-

are all influenced by the

pends on farming for food;

climatic feature of their

food of course, takes a

The climatic charac-

Figure 1— The tropical climate of Thailand guarantees an excellent condition for fruits to ripe.

teristics of Thailand inspire its agriculture and tradi-

The temperature and

tions. Due to the tropical

climate change greatly af-

climate of Thailand, fruits

fects the growing of crops;

ture for a living, while climate change concerns the growing of crops; it also influences the cultures of

North Korean cultural lives

geography in varying ways.

The agriculture and

huge role in the culture of Thais, but this festival has also became an important aspect of the cultural life for farmers to look forward to. Hence, climate

Chinese farmers. Warm climate may mean the increasing amount of available land for farming; however, extreme weathers could greatly reduce the agriculture harvest: these results will vastly alter the cultural life of Chinese farmers and citizens. Not only farmers rely on harvesting crops, it is also vital for Chinese citizens to obtain food. Some weathers


C ULTURE , I NFLUENCED BY C LIMATE

P AGE 2

C LIMATIC

Figure 3— The weather greatly affects the growing of crops. Such as the farm in this picture, its agricultural results are influenced by the weather and climate change.

INFLUENCES ON

N ORTH K OREAN

CULTURES

tures. Clothing takes part in

crops in North Korea. (see

already greatly damaged the

one’s habits and customs, as

figure 5) Rainfalls concern

Chinese farming system,

the climate changes, it highly

the agricultural results and

leading to food shortage,

influences North Koreans’

food system of North Kore-

thus, considerably influenc-

ways of life. While spring

ans. Thus, climate changes

ing the cultural life of all

and autumn bring mild tem-

the total way of life of North

Chinese. (see figure 3)

peratures and the most ex-

Koreans.

Places in China generally consist of four evidently different seasons, which means that most Chinese clothing suitable for each season provided in their wardrobes. Aside from the northernmost point, the cold -temperate zone, and the southernmost point which comprises tropical climate, China’s climate alters from harsh coldness in winter to intolerable heat in summer. Clothing affects one’s living style; therefore the climatic feature of China is extremely important to local Chinese. Climate takes an awfully

Figure 4— North Korean must adapt to harsh weathers during winters and summers, therefore wearing coats to keep warm. Such as this women: she is wearing a hat and a coat during

AND

and climate changes have

have four sets of varied “D UE TO THE TROPICAL CLIMATE OF T HAILAND , FRUITS GROW RAPIDLY AND LIVELY , TAKING A PART IN THE CULTURAL FOOD FOR T HAIS . T HE WARM , TROPICAL CLIMATE IN T HAILAND GUARANTEES ALMOST PERFECT CONDITIONS FOR SWEET , MOUTH WATERING FRUITS TO RIPEN “

T HAI , C HINESE ,

immense part in the cultural lives of Chinese.

The habits and traditions of North Korea are altered by its climatic fea-

quisite weathers in North Korea, harsh, bitterly cold winter which consists of snow storms and hot, but humid summer filled with rain due to the southeastern monsoon winds bringing moist air from the Pacific Ocean bears huge climatic changes and wild weather to North Korea. North Koreans must adapt to the harsh

Culture, influenced by climate, takes a remarkable and significant role in one’s life. Climate has a great effect on the customs and habits of Thais, Chinese, and North Koreans. Without the geography influencing these cultural aspects, their lives would be very dissimilar from now.

weathers therefore patterning their dressing code with coats and warm clothing during winter and summer . (see figure 4)

Food, farming crops, affected by temperature and rainfall, is an essential element of life. Rainfall proceeds during spring and summer from slight but adequate for preparing, sowing, and planting crops to abundant and necessary for growing

Figure 5— The farming crops and agricultural results are considerably affected by the climate in this North Korean farmland.


Special Asian Studies Edition

C LIMATE A SIAN S TUDIES

VOLUME

AND MALAYSIA 3,

ISSUE B

O CTOBER 2008

By Bonnie Dalaroy Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

How can climate affect aspects of society in Malaysia? Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia that is located near the equator, it is separated into two regions— Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo. The country has a tropical, humid climate all year round and seasons are marked by the arrival of monsoons. The tropical monsoon climate of Malaysia has influence over the culture, economics and politics of the country.

bamboo, they are usually perched high on stilts. (Figure 1) The space below is used for storage and is also an ideal spot for resting during the hot parts of the day. Due to excessive rainfall during the monsoon seasons, the people must build their homes with extra elevation in order to protect it from flooding. The building materials are specially chosen because they conduct very little heat into the house which keeps it cool.

The tropical climate and monsoon seasons of Malaysia has interesting influences over the culture of the country. The hot weather and heavy rainfall affects the housing of the people. Traditional Malay homes are called kampongs and are mainly built of hardwood and

The tropical climate also affects the clothes Malay people wear. Traditional clothing for men in Malaysia consists of a silk or cotton skirt and shirt with a scarf-like piece of cloth tied around his waist. Due to the high temperature and humidity of the country, Malay-

Figure 1- A traditional Malay Kampong house.

sian clothing must be lightweight and loose to be comfortable. The climate of Malaysia has shaped how its people build their homes and the way they dress. But culture is not the only aspect of society that is affected by climate. The economics of Malaysia is largely influenced by the tropical monsoon climate. The rainy seasons of Malaysia causes damage to important natural resources. (Figure 2) “This year, the rainy

season had already begun across most of Malaysia. As a result, prices for most timber products have begun to rise as harvesting of timber become difficult in wet conditions.” Monsoon seasons can cause shortage to important natural resources which leads to price hikes. These increases in product prices can largely affect the country and its people financially. The monsoon seasons of Malaysia also has influence over the economics of the country due to tourism. During the monsoon peak in November and December, the northeast monsoon often floods the east coast of the peninsula and can cause flash floods on the west coast. Travel related activities on the east coast islands are


C LIMATE AND MALAYSIA

P AGE 2

C LIMATE

AFFECTS CULTURE , ECONOMICS AND POLITICS IN

Figure 2- Flood caused by monsoon rain damages field in Malaysia.

“D OCTORS SAY A CHOLERA EPIDEMIC SPREAD IN HER VILLAGE AFTER THE LOCALS TOOK CONTAMINATED WATER -- THE SOURCES OF DRINKING WATER HAD BEEN FLOODED WITH MONSOON WATERS .

Figure 3- Heavy monsoon flood causes citizens to evacuate from village.

closed at this time until the northeast monsoon season ended in March. The closing of certain resorts and recreational activities can all lead to the decline of tourist during the monsoon season. Thereby these “low point” in tourism decreases the profit Malaysia gains from its tourism branch during that period of time. The climate of Malaysia can have negative influence over the economics. It can also affect the politics of the country. The tropical monsoon climate of Malaysia has greatly influenced the politics of the country. Disaster caused by monsoon is a serious issue for the government, many safety policies are issued due to these disasters. During the monsoon seasons, rivers can rise dramatically which contributes to heavy flooding in some areas. (Figure 3) The east coast of the Malaysian peninsular is now experiencing the worst flooding episode for some 40 years. At least 4 people have drowned and several thousand

have been evacuated. Because of these dangerous floods, the government has already taken action by avoiding construction in flood-prone areas, taken measures to reduce the impact of floods in a specific location, informed the public about flood risks and what to do in the event of a flood and also developed emergency response plans in case of a flood. The government has taken all these procedures to insure the safety of the people. Illnesses brought by monsoon rains also affect the politics of Malaysia. “Many people in our village came down with cholera,” said the 35-year-old Malay mother of two, her voice low as she lay in bed. Doctors say a cholera epidemic spread in her village after the locals took contaminated water -the sources of drinking water had been flooded with monsoon waters. To control epidemics like diarrhea, cholera and encephalitis, the government has formed

M ALAYSIA .

rapid response teams comprising paramedics in all the districts of Malaysia. The government has to bring relief to the many victims of illness caused by monsoons. Although the monsoon seasons cause disaster in the country, it also shows that the government is well aware of the needs of the people. The tropical climate and monsoon seasons of Malaysia is intimately linked to the culture, economics and politics of the country. This climate shapes the unique housing and clothing of the people, the overall economics of the country and the safety and relief policies issued by the government. Without the hot and humid weather and excessive rainfall, Malaysia would be very different than it is today.


Special Asian Studies Edition

T HE E XTREME C LIMATE OF C AMBODIA A SIAN S TUDIES V OLUME 3, I SSUE A

O CTOBER 2008

By Adeline Wong Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Have you ever wondered what a country with only two extreme seasons is like? Cambodia is one of these nations; there are only two seasons; the wet and the dry. During the wet season has most of the country flooded, and it rarely rains during the dry season. In Cambodia, the extreme alternating climate affects the culture, economics and politics.

Figure 1: A stilt house during a flood.

size” (“Cambodia: The Climate. . .”) during this period of time. The stilt houses, which are raised to about three meters on mangrove piles. The reason why villagers live The climate of a place can greatly impact in stilt houses is mainly to the culture. Many aspects keep out the water durof Cambodian culture are ing the annual floods. Another reason is to keep influenced by the climate. In rural Cambodia, most out wild animals and rodents. During the dry people live in stilt houses season, the space under (Fig. 1). This is caused by the house is “used as the extreme alternating climate. From mid-June storage” (Kras) and to to November, a large dry laundry. These stilt portion of the nation is houses are generally flooded. On the other “made from bamboo, thatch, or wood.” (Kras). hand, the other half of However, these the year sees nearly no rain at all. The major lake, Cambodians do not live the Tonle Sap, “grows 7 in stilt houses all year times its’ round. Some of the

“farmers become fishermen”. (“Cambodia: The . . .”). What that means, is that during the rainy season, the farmers then begin to fish to earn money because there is hardly any dry land to farm anything. During this period of time, fish becomes the country’s “main export” (“Cambodia: The Climate. . .”) the fishermen live in houses on the Tonle Sap (the Great Lake) and the Mekong River. They live on little houses that float on top of the water by using bamboo branches. These houses that are grouped together are called “Floating Villages” (Sara Louise Kras, Cambodia). These floating villages (Fig. 2) are like any other village you could imagine, just that their form of transportation is by boat. The houses are impermanent and can be easily taken apart. Most of the houses have fishing pens

under or around them, where the villagers put caught fish in them and fatten them up before eating or selling them. After season changes, especially from the wet season to the dry season, some people would be able to find jobs. The roads and some houses would be ruined from the floods, and many road and construction workers would have the opportunity to earn more money. A lot of people would need these services; therefore, the demand would be high, causing the prices to be slightly more expensive. Although the road and construction workers may not earn much money in the months before and after, they would mostly likely earn a large amount during that period. Many houses would likely be damaged, some harmed so greatly they wouldn’t be habitable anymore; this would


T HE E XTREME C LIMATE OF C AMBODIA

P AGE 2

C LIMATE ’ S IMPACT OF CULTURE , POLITICS , AND ECONOMICS IN C AMBODIA .

Figure 2: A vendor on a boat going around the floating village selling goods.

“R ICE IS ONE OF THE MAIN NATURAL RESOURCES AND IS EXPORTED ALL AROUND A SIA .”

Figure 3: A rice paddy field in Cambodia.

give the construction workers a big opportunity to earn more money. The unemployment rates would most likely go down during the transition between the wet and dry season. The climate of Cambodia affects a lot of different jobs and occupations, giving everybody a chance to be successful. Climate can sometimes affect the politics of a nation. The Cambodian government is often affected when it concerns the climate of the country. The government must always repair the cities after the annual floods come. The yearly floods stay for a slight period of time, therefore, destroying many roads and much of the land. After the floods leave and the villagers move back to their village homes, the government is responsible to pay for the repair of the streets, and to clean them up also. Many of the roads may have cracked and would most likely be quite bumpy after the change of season, so there would be a lot of work for the government. The government of Cambodia would also be impacted during the years

when the floods were more severe. During the heavy floods, the floodwater would wash away crops and homes. This would often “lead Cambodia to food shortage” (“Background and Cambodia. . .”), hunger and starvation, and poverty. The government would have the burden of fixing these problems and making sure the poor was fed and cared for. The climate of Cambodia often impacts politics, especially the government, because of the heavy rains. Economics of a place can be influenced by the climate. Cambodia’s rainy climate has affected the occupations that people in rural areas have. A large portion of the villagers are farmers, mainly rice paddy farmers. Rice paddies (Fig. 3) need a lot of water, and water is accessed easily because of the heavy rains in Cambodia. Rice is the staple food for all the people, and is eaten at nearly every meal. Because of the abundant supply of rice, a lot is also exported, earning the country more money. The people of Cambodia “are the best fed in South East Asia” (“Cambodia: A Land.

. .”), most probably because of the large supply of rice. During the wet season of the year, which is generally around mid-June to November, some of these farmers become fishermen. Rice is one of the main natural resources and is exported all around Asia. The economy of Cambodia is impacted by the climate, and the two main foods in the nation show how great the impact is. The interesting culture, remarkable economy, and the unique politics of the nation of Cambodia are influenced by the extreme alternating climate. Many Cambodians live in stilt houses to protect themselves from the annual floods, and many live on the Tonle Sap to fish. The rainy climate makes it easier to grow rice, and the large Tonle Sap and Mekong River open opportunities for people to fish and make a living. Furthermore, the politics of Cambodia is greatly affected by the great floods. Although the climate is quite, seeing as it has all but only two extreme seasons, the dry and the wet, the people of this nation are well and truly adapt to it.


Special Asian Studies Edition

M ONSOONS A SIAN

STUDIES VOLUME

3

ISSUE B

IN

I NDIA

O CTOBER 2008

Aaron Pu New Delhi, India

Have you ever

(Figure 1). “The mon-

annual rainfall.”

experienced a monsoon

soons destroyed houses

Within 4 months of fre- frightened and tense

in your surroundings

and businesses. The

quent heavy rainstorms, most of the time.

before? For those of you

monsoons were so pow-

the monsoons already

who haven’t, it isn’t a

erful at times they de-

cover up almost all of

pleasant experience.

stroyed the crops leaving

the entire rainfall in a

Every year in India there

no food for the people

is a period called the

and the farmers with

monsoon season and it

nothing to do for

takes place between the

work”(“How

months of June to Octo-

the Monsoons

ber. Monsoons are heavy

Affected…”).

rainstorms that usually

Because of all

happens in this certain

impact the health of the Indian economy; as In-

ous and destructive at

create so much

times. The tropical

trouble for the people,

storms in India affect the

the people most likely

people’s culture, the

come up with various

period of time; this

countries’ economics

rituals to prevent disas-

makes the people very

and politics dramatically.

ters happening to them.

aware and careful about

monsoons, the Indian

impact on culture in In-

people develop a very

dia. The horrendous

cautious nature. “The

monsoons are in fact

monsoonal torrents sup-

immensely destructive

ply over 80% of India’s

culture produc“Monsoon rains

storms, which

soon rains have great

affect not only culture

tion in India.

and they can get danger-

Because of the

Monsoon rains

but also the economics in whole 12 months; since India. Heavy rainstorms most of their rainfall are disturbing the agri-

happen in tropical places, these tragic

The heavy mon-

the people to being very

dian agriculture (Figure 1) Flooding in India caused by heavy monsoon activities.

the usage water, whether it is clean or

employs 600 million people and composes 20% of the national GDP.” Agriculture alone stands for 20% of India GDP, having constant destruction of agricultural products

significantly detract from poisonous. Heavy mon- the status the people are soons flood crop yields, financially and also the ruin homes but most

importantly, they shape

countries’ financial status.


M ONSOONS IN I NDIA

P AGE 2

M ONSOONS RAIN AFFECT ON CULTURE , ECONOMICS , AND POLITICS IN I NDIA On the other hand, the danger (Figure 3). “The because the land becomes

(Figure 2) Major drought forming big cracks in empty farmlands.

“T HE I NDIAN ARMY MOBILIZED , EVACUATING MORE THAN

100,000 PEOPLE AND DROPPING FOOD SUPPLIES FROM THE AIR ”

monsoons also have

Indian army mobilized,

useless. Besides the fact that

good impacts on the

evacuating more than

monsoons endanger the peo-

economy by keeping

100,000 people and drop- ple, leading to the govern-

the land from having

ping food supplies from

ment taking action, mon-

droughts and deser-

the air” The government

soons also help the land to

tification. Since

basically has no choice but stay fertile (Figure 4).

some areas haven’t been

to send its troops to go

hit by monsoons for quite

save the stranded people,

are impacting culture in India,

some time, the area be-

have medical care to aid

the health of the economy,

comes desert like and peo-

the hurt people, and also

and lastly the politics of the

ple have to move out of

provide camps for them to nation. While monsoons have stay. few advantages, they also get

the area because there is no water (Figure 2). Even though monsoons kill segments of the crop yields, the amount of rain it brings is necessary to keep the land habitable. Even though monsoon rain creates heaps of damage

The monsoons

Lastly, the politics in India is also (Figure 3) A heavy monsoon building up.

deeply affected by the

destructive and bring crisis to

don’t rain over the entire

India. Monsoons have poten-

India; the areas that don’t

tial of being very dangerous;

get exposed to the flood-

they destroy most things they

ing, eventually start dry-

come in contact with. Now,

ing up and become de-

how would you feel to be

serted. “Severe summer

settled in areas where there is

droughts of the Indian

history of annual monsoon

and trouble to a country, subcontinent have been they also somewhat defound to accompany pend on them as well.

The yearly monsoons

activities?

prolonged ‘breaks’ in the south-west monsoon.” Since there cer-

yearly returning monsoons. tainly are areas in India When monsoons start that haven’t been heavily raining excessively strong,

rained on, the land starts

the government is forced

to dry up while nobody

to start working and

tends to it, since it’s a big

evacuate the people from

problem to start drying up

(Figure 4) People gathering around a big drought to use their remaining water supply.


Special Asian Studies Edition

GIFTS FROM EARTH A SIAN S TUDIES VOLUME 3, ISSUE A

OCTOBER 2008

By Marcus Wei Tokyo, Japan

"Natural resources are any property of the physical environment, such as minerals, or natural vegetation, which humans can use to satisfy their needs. Technically speaking, a property only becomes a resource when it is exploited by humans.” –Answers.com. This is the definition of a natural resource; natural resources are one aspect of geogra-

Fig 1: Japanese fishermen with hundreds of tunas.

phy that affects a country’s economy, and it affects the economy in many different ways. Japan, Saudi Arabia, and China are three examples of countries that have natural resources affecting their economy.

of rice and a large number of other crops too, such as tea, sugar beets, and wheat. This shows that the Japanese rely on agriculture as food and use these crops to accomplish trade with other countries; also due to its topography of being in In the islands of Japan, aquaculture is one the ocean, sea trade for seafood and corps can be natural resource that affects their economy accomplish with ease. greatly. Japan catches 1.5 million tons of fish In the dry lands of Saudi Arabia, the economy each year, accounting for about 8% of the is heavily dependent on the oil fields. Saudi Araworld’s catch. In this quote, it shows that Japan bia has the world’s largest oil fields, and oil accatches a large number of fish as shown in fig- counts for more than 90% of its exports. In these ure 1, and therefore exporting fish and other contexts, it explains that Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of oil, and this is their seafood affects Japan’s economy. Agriculture also plays a big role in Japan’s main income in their economy. Since the econeconomy. Because Japan consists mostly of omy is dependent on these oils, each year Saudi plains, agriculture can exist in most parts of Arabia produces millions of barrels of oil each Japan. It produces more than 11.5 million tons day.


GIFTS FROM EARTH

P AGE 2

NATURAL RESOURCES AFFECTING ECONOMY Another natural resource that will affect the economy will be natural gas. About 60% of the energy consumed in Saudi Arabia is oil; the other 40% is from natural gas. Therefore, if the source oil in Saudi Arabia comes to an end, the economy won’t be damage as bad, because they still have natural gas for energy use. In China, the mining industry is extremely vital to its economy. China is the world’s largest coal producer and it produces more than 1,270 million tons of coal in a year. Coal is the primary energy for its massive population and it’s also exported to the rest of the world. This shows that coal is a very valuable mineral in China and not only is a stable energy source, but also its estimated that coal will last longer than both oil and natural gas, but yet the production of coal energy creates harmful pollution. Another element in China that affects the economy is tourism. China’s tourism is the second largest in the world; tourist spent in total of 588 billion Yuan in 2006, it contributed 2.9% to China’s GDP. China has many geographical sites such as the three gorgeous dam that attracts thousands of tourists each year, and this also has contribute the economy greatly.

Fig 2: The biggest oil fields lies in Saudi Arabia.

Natural resources affect the economy in many ways. In Japan, Saudi Arabia, and China it is clearly shown that the resources have affected these countries’ economy. Without these natural resources the countries won’t be what it is today.

"Natural resources are any property of the physical environment, such as minerals, or natural vegetation, which humans can use to satisfy their needs. Technically speaking, a property only becomes a resource when it is exploited by humans.” –Answers.com Fig 3: In China, coal is one main power source.


Special Asian Studies Edition

H OW C LIMATE S HAPES E CONOMICS , P OLITICS , AND C ULTURE OF M ALAYSIA A SIAN S TUDIES V OLUME 3 I SSUE A

O CTOBER 2008

By Von Ying Lee Kuala Lumpur, Malayia

Did you know of traditional clothing.

Malaysia eat. Durians can only

all fruits’.

that instead of four

Since it is so hot in Ma- be grown in hot tropical weath-

seasons, Malaysia is

laysia, many people

the climate of Malaysia

tropical all year

wear t-shirts and shorts

also greatly affects poli-

around? Malaysia is

instead of their national

tics. Malaysia is a coun-

hot and humid most of costumes. These the time, but during a

clothes allow them to

period of time, end-

feel cooler, letting

Besides culture,

try that rains almost daily, which can be a Figure 1: Durians hanging down from the branch in Malaysia.

big impact on their

less rainfall occurs.

them feel the wind, as

This unique climate of

well as preventing the

Malaysia greatly af-

people from sweating

ers; like Malaysia. (Figure 1)

fects economics, poli-

too much. Because of

“The durian is grown in other

that occur are natural

tics, and culture of the the humid weather, is

areas with a similar climate; it is

results of cyclical mon-

country.

has become unfit to

strictly tropical and stops grow-

wear the different cul-

ing when mean daily tempera-

ture’s national cos-

tures drop below 22 °. Since this are characterized by fruit tree is planted all around heavy and regular rain-

The most important change that climate in Malaysia brings to people is culture. The tropical climate affects the clothes that people

tumes, and now, only in special occasions are

Malaysia's geographical

Malaysia, it has become a fruit

these national costumes that has become a Malaysian worn.

delicacy. In fact, they have even Tropical cli-

government. “Given

been made into pastries, juices,

location, most floods

soons during the local tropical wet season that

fall from roughly October to March.” Because of the great amount of floods that occur each

wear. Malaysia is a

mate affects the types

and even candies. Believe it or

year, many of the

multi racial country,

of fruits grown in Ma-

not, durian is so important and

houses, buildings, etc.

meaning that there are laysia which affects the many different types

food that people in

commonly eaten, that Malaysians consider it as the ‘King of

get ruined. In order to restore Malaysia to its


P AGE 2

H OW C LIMATE S HAPES E CONOMICS , P OLITICS ,

C LIMATE ’ S

Figure 2: Stilt houses in Malaysia

IMPACT ON

Figure 3: Beach in Malaysia

OF

M ALAYSIA

POLITICS , AND CULTURE IN MALLAYSIA

still damaged, and people

Malaysia because tourists

quickly as possible, the

are still injured. The gov-

mean money.

government has to take

ernment will have to do

action, meaning con-

something to prevent

tributing a huge amount

them from happening

of money in order for

more to avoid the risk of

things to get back to the

many lives.

Landslides are

TROPICAL CLIMATE NOT ONLY AFFECTS POLITICS AMD CULTURE , BUT ALSO M ALAYSIA ’ S ECONOMY .”

C ULTURE

original condition as

way they were.

“T HE

E CONOMICS ,

AND

The tropical cli-

Another way climate affects economics is when it comes to farming. With an average of one hundred-fifty to two hundred raining days per year is an advantage to

mate not only affects

farmers. This not only saves

another factor that is

politics and culture, but

farmer’s time, but also gives

caused by Malaysia’s

also Malaysia’s economy.

the farm land endless sup-

climate which greatly

The natural beauty of

plies of natural water. With

affects its politics. It is

Malaysia attracts many

enough amounts of water

one of the two main

visitors. Malaysia’s cli-

and sunlight, the crops in

natural disasters that

mate is wet and tropical

Malaysia are likely to grow

occur in Malaysia. Land-

all year around with an

fast, and very healthy with-

slides only occur

average of eighty to

out the help of additional

through heavy rainfall.

ninety percent relative

medication for the crops.

The Government has to

humidity. The unspoiled

(Figure 4) This will allow

take action when this

rainforests, ancient cave

the farmers to earn money

natural disaster occurs

systems and scenic

quickly and efficiently.

in ways such as; evacua-

beaches attract many

tion procedures, change

tourists with their tropi-

of house structures for

cal beauty. (Figure 3)

all houses that are

The humid and wet cli-

within the commonly

mate allows all the trees

affected areas, such as

to stay green all year

stilt houses. (Figure 2)

around and the ocean

Some of these disasters

water to stay nice and

that occur can be very

blue. The attraction of

minor, but things are

tourists is a huge gain to

Figure 4: Farm in Malaysia


Special Asian Studies Edition

T HE L AND OF THE R ISING S UN . A SIAN S TUDIES VOLUME 3 ISSUE B

O CTOBER 2008

By Suzanna Tan Tokyo, Japan

Japan, a country made up of thousands of islands also known as an archipelago, has one of the world’s largest populations. Japan is also home to the famous Mt Fuji, where tourism is the heaviest. The topography of Japan can affect its culture, economics, and politics Japanese culture consists of many different elements that are affected by topography, including their clothing and diet. The

Figure 1:Traditional kimono in Japan

dramatic landscape of Japan influences the design on the kimonos.(Figure 1) As seen in a traditional kimono, mountains flowers and trees are mostly present. If not for Japans abundant nature and beautiful landscapes, their kimono’s would have been much plainer. Kimonos were Japan’s main dress for over 300 years until western clothing was introduced. This shows the how important the kimonos are. The kimono definitely reflects and shows their culture in different ways, of which can include their precision that is needed to make these kimonos. The amount of fertile land in Japan also impacts its

Figure 2: Rice fields

culture. There are four main islands in Japan, all of which contain a huge number of mountain ranges. Along the coast of these mountain ranges, there are small plains that are suitable for growing crops. These small plains are responsible for the cultivation of rice. (Figure 2) Rice is consumed in nearly every single meal and is also included in Japan’s most popular dish, sushi. The average

Japanese diet consists mainly of rice and vegetables, which are the most commonly grown food in Japan. Without that easy access to rice, it probably would not have been so common among the people of Japan. As one may see, the landscape can affect the clothing style while the agriculture can affect Japanese diets. Japan is known as an archipelago. The coastlines that are present may act as a hobby for teenagers who like windsurfing and other sea related sports. These coastlines however, are also the main source of fish, which has a large impact on Japan’s economics. Fish is one of the


T HE L AND

P AGE 2

H OW

largest exports of Japan. Every year, Japan makes thousands of dollars just by exporting fish to countries around the world. Japan hauls in one sixth of the seafood around the world, making them the leading supplier of fish and other seafood. If not for fish that is supplied by Japan, the world seafood would not be as plenty. There are many ways to export these fish and other products made in Japan, one of those ways is shipping. There are many seaports around Japan. The seaports are the main ways of transportation ways of which the machinery and transport equipment are exported. Because Japan produces up to 9,846,000 cars/trucks per year, it is impossible to carry them all through plane. Therefore, these boats and cargo ships export these equipments over to bordering countries. (Figure 3) Without these seaports, Japan

OF THE

R ISING S UN .

TOPOGRAPHY AFFECTS THE CULTURE , ECONOMOICS AND POLITICS IN JAPAN

“J APANESE KIMONO – A SENSE OF BEAUTY ”

Figure 3:Sea transportation.

would have no way to export all these machinery and cars to countries therefore not earning any money. In Japan, the prime minister mainly runs the country. He is in charge of making any decisions that have to do with the government. Japan lies on many different fault lines, these causes Japan to experience an average of 1500 earthquakes per year. This can affect the government in great ways. The most common place that earthquakes strike is along the border of the Pacific

Ocean where two major faults meet. Theses faults cause major tsunamis and massive earthquakes every year. This has caused the government to use its money to construct stronger buildings to withstand the earthquakes impact. Japan has also adopted a disaster-prevention plan that outlines the steps of a safe evacuation. These include the regulation of traffic, the closing of banks, and evacuation of the people. The government has also taken the liberty of conducting periodic checks on the safety of those in the danger zones. Without these drills and safety precautions, Japan would be in much more danger than it already is. The housing cost in Japan can also affect the politics of Japan. Because most of Japan is mountainous, (Figure 4) the government can tax for housing property of very little land. Most of the

Figure 4:Map of the mountains in Japan where the brown represents the mountains.

apartments in Japan are built in the city. The city is not a very big place consequently there aren’t many apartments available. Since there are very little housing estates, the price that the government charges for housing tax is very high. The topography of a country can greatly affect its culture, economics and politics. If Japan were not an archipelago, these aspects would be much different than it is today.


Special Asian Studies Edition

A FGHANISTAN ,

AT THE CROSSROADS OF A SIA

A SIAN S TUDIES V OLUME 3, I SSUE B

D ATE : O CTOBER , 2008

By: So Yeon Park Kabul, Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, a

paradigms that reflect the

different ethnic groups use

crossroad nation that con-

impacts of geography on

their own languages de-

nects the east and west of

the three major aspects of

rived from their origins

Asia, Afghans’ own ways of

society. Culture, politics

which are commonly from

life have developed. Cul-

and economy in Afghani-

Pakistan, Tajikistan and Iran

ture is defined to be a total

stan are heavily influenced

Since Afghanistan often acts

way of people in society,

by its unique geographical

as a crossroad bridge of

and politics is the art and

element, location.

science of governments, while economics refers to all activities involving production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. Afghanistan is the place that different civilizations come into interactions, making it possible to be one of the prominent

Afghanistan’s location shapes its culture, resulting in different ways of life of the citizens. Due to Afghanistan’s proximity to its neighboring countries; Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Iran, Afghans’ diets have been impacted by the nearby countries cuisines. (Figure 1) Afghan food includes a wide variety of soups, rice dishes using spices, rich sauces that are common in Iran and Paki-

Figure 1: Afghanistan is a landlocked country, surrounded by five different countries

stan. As the fact that varieties of Afghan diets are similar to those of

Figure 2: Many different languages are used in Afghanistan, this is Pashto one of the languages used in Afghanistan.

neighboring countries proves, the unique location of Afghanistan, surrounded by five nations, causes their foods to resemble nearby countries. Furthermore, it can also result in their own special cuisine that is developed from adopting neighboring cultures’ foods. Afghanistan’s language also reflects its unique location. There are more than 30 languages and dialects spoken in Afghanistan (Figure 2). All

Asia, there are many different languages used within the nation, and it has created some variations of them as well. Location of Afghanistan demonstrates that geography can impact the country’s politics. Because of its geographical characteristic as a landlocked country, and location at the center of Asia, it has inevitably been the major target place of warfare, and the government is doing the best for recovery. Soviet invasion that intervened civil war in Afghanistan, continued for 9 years of


A FGHANISTAN ,

P AGE 2

L OCATION ’ S

time as some neighboring

more attention to military

nant, the most popular eco-

countries also took their

and security. Consequently,

nomic activity in Afghanistan

roles. Located almost at the

Location impacts the govern-

is agriculture and agricul-

center of Asia, where war-

ments and their political

tural development has not

fare is common compared to

activities.

been possible because of the

Afghanistan is inevitably being related, engaged in conflicts around the country and within the country as well. This issue has been the government’s first priority to “C ONFRONTED WITH BOTH ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF BEING ENTIRELY ENCLOSED BY LAND , THE COUNTRY HAS PRODUCED A FGHAN SOCIETY ’ S OWN PECULIARITY .”

Figure 4: The damage that warfare brought is catastrophic. Lands, building, and the citizens’ hearts have been destroyed.

A SIA

IMPACT ON CULTURE , POLITICS AND ECONOMY

other parts of the continent,

Figure 3: Afghanistan’s trading options are limited, they are highly dependent upon road transportations

AT THE CROSSROADS OF

solve, they are working arduously aiming for a quick,

Afghanistan’s economy is closely related to its location. The trading option for landlocked countries like Afghanistan is very limited. Afghanistan’s major trading partners are restricted to its neighbors where economic

damaged land. Overcoming challenges of its geographical characteristic will be critical for economic development. Undoubtedly, location of Afghanistan has major influence on its economy. Afghanistan’s loca-

activities like importing and

tion, reflecting its special

exporting can take place

characteristic of geography,

easily using road or rail

shapes culture, politics and

gions under conflicts, the

transportations (Figure 3).

economy. Confronted with

government is sensitive

The lack of opportunity for

both advantages and disad-

about the security issue. The

Afghanistan’s economy to

vantages of being entirely

fact that the country has

proliferate, because it is a

enclosed by land, the coun-

been through several decades

landlocked country with

try has produced Afghan

-long warfare adds even

difficulties to trade with far

society’s own peculiarity. In

more pressure of strengthen-

away countries using bodies

conclusion, geography

ing the border security, es-

of water, is the main catalyst

shapes culture, politics and

pecially frontiers between

that led to one of the today’s

economy of a nation, ulti-

countries or regions such as

poorest countries around the

mately causing the life of

Pakistan in crisis. The gov-

world. As aforementioned,

individual inhabitant to be

ernment is also cooperating

the country has been in-

influenced by the geographi-

with related international

volved in war for several

cal element.

organizations to enhance the

decades, and this has nega-

security. The tension be-

tively impacted the country’s

tween geographically

economy. The result has

neighboring countries has

been catastrophic (Figure 4).

created government to pay

The economy remains stag-

successful recovery. Surrounded by re-


Special Asian Studies Edition

r

SAUDI ARABIA A SIAN S TUDIES V OLUME 3, I SSUE A

OCTOBER 2008

By Kevin Wang Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

One of Saudi Arabia’s Oil Rigs (Fig 1)

Topography plays a major role in many countries. It has affected the way a country functions, from personal health standards to how leaders govern their country. Saudi Arabia consists of dry and flat terrain, enormous sandy deserts in the middle, with narrow plains on the coast. Saudi Arabia is a very distinctive country due to its topography. Its unique terrain shapes how Saudi Arabia functions as a country. With this unique environment comes change, it changes almost everything, but mostly, it affects economy, culture, and politics. The economy of Saudi Arabia would not be the same without the terrain. Saudi Arabia has to adjust their economic activities to suit their landscape. More than 50% of terrain in Saudi Arabia is uninhabited (Fig 3), because of

the difficult conditions. The middle of the country is mainly uninhabited because of its large desert, as a result, major economic cities have to be moved elsewhere. Cities are mainly located on the west coast of the country (Fig 2 and 4), near water. The middle of the country does not contribute to the economy, while the east and west coasts contribute the most to the economy. Growing agriculture is almost impossible in this coun-

The Kingdom Tower in the capital city of Riyadh (Fig 2)

Saudi woman preparing a meal (Fig 3)

try. Without agriculture, the economy misses out on a big opportunity to make money by selling food products. Instead of making money like other countries do from this, Saudi Arabia needs to spend millions of dollars to import agriculture to feed to people of Saudi Arabia. The terrain is way too dry and infertile for crops to be grown on, the economy suffers because their people are not fed unless they import agriculture. The


SAUDI ARABIA

P AGE 2

T OPOGRAPHYS

IMPACTS MANY ASPECTS OF

cuisine consists of mainly on meats, grains, and spices (Fig 3). Most Saudi dishes do not include a lot of green vegetable because Saudi Arabia’s terrain is infertile and difficult to grow vegetables. With this lack of green vegetable, Saudi dishes are made with ingredients easily obtained on their land, like spices or grain. Culture and topography blend with one-another, culture is greatly affected by the landscape.

One of the major cities, Jiddah, Saudi Arabia (Fig 4)

landscape and terrain4of Saudi Arabia majorly affects how the economy works and functions. The culture of Saudi Arabians are shaped by the topography. The people adapt and change to their surroundings which results in a unique culture. The people of Saudi Arabia have different clothes as a result of their environment. With this desert like terrain comes heat, so most Saudi’s wear light and bright colored clothes as a way to escape the heat. Saudi Arabians have adapted their clothes to suit the difficult environment. Saudi cuisine has a very unique and distinctive taste due to the geography. Saudi

Saudi Arabia’s politics are changed with the topography. It changes the way politicians and leaders control and make decisions for their country. Due to the physical features of this country, the politics of Saudi Arabia have special concerns and needs for there country (Fig 5). For example, there are no bodies of water within Saudi Arabia, because of the dry climate, politicians and leaders have to focus on how to get water into Saudi Arabia. To solve this problem, they have built many water sanitation plants to turn sea water into drinkable water. The vast desert creates a giant gap between many major cities, which makes transportation difficult. Politicians have to find a way to support transportation for the people of Saudi Arabia, for example, trains or roads between major cities. Distances between cities are quite large, and even worse with a desert between them, so it is a big concern for the politics to find new and convenient ways to transport

S AUDI A RABIA

people around the county of Saudi Arabia. Terrain has majorly affected how politicians make choices and how they run the country. Topography shapes the county of Saudi Arabia and how it functions and works as a county. It forms the way their economy and politics work along with how their culture is defined. Economy is spilt between the coasts due to the difficult terrain. Culture has a direct run-off from the landscape, as things like food and clothes are changed. Politicians and leaders have to support there citizens with easy compromises to the difficult landscape. Topography plays a big role in Saudi Arabia, its people, its government, and others are all changed by how they adapt to their environment to benefit themselves and their country. “I T FORMS THE

Harvesting crude oil in Saudi Arabia (Fig 5)

WAY THEIR ECONOMY AND POLITICS WORK ALONG WITH HOW THEIR CULTURE IS DEFINED .”


Special Asian Studies Edition

B ANGLADESH , G EOGRAPHICALLY I MPACTED A SIAN S TUDIES V OLUME 3, I SSUE A

O CTOBER 2008

By Jacques Van Anh Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bangladesh, a highly

would most likely

populated Asian country,

be

has been shaped by its

than it is today.

geography.

Bangladesh’s land is

Throughout

much

can affect a country.

lower

its history, Bangladesh has

filled

with

been impacted by its

amounts of alluvial

amount of natural re-

soil which is perfect

sources, such as soil and

for growing crops.

crops, much like other

Bangladeshis

The resources that a country can grow also influence its people’s cul-

high

are

ture. This is seen in a Bangladeshi’s diet. One of the country’s major natuFig.1: Bangladeshi workers collecting crops during the day.

countries have been. Also, able to grow large quanti-

has ideal growing condi-

the types of natural re-

ties of jute used for wrap-

tions in many areas, and

sources can help influence

ping, making carpets, and

farming employs more

Bangladesh. They have

other goods. It is one of

than 60% of the popula-

been using their resources

Bangladesh’s biggest ex-

tion.” (Figure 1) Because

in many ways. Bangla-

port. Because of this valu-

this country has good land

desh’s geography is able

able

resource,

and fair weather the ma-

to affect its economy,

Bangladesh is able to

jority of the year, over

culture and political deci-

grow many crops, and

half of the working popu-

sions.

therefore

its

lation is employed in the

economy by exporting.

agricultural division. As

The type of natural re-

previously

sources found in Bangla-

Bangladesh’s natural re-

desh can also impact what

sources are able to affect

field of work its popula-

how developed its econ-

tion is employed in. It is

omy is. This is just one

stated that “Bangladesh

way that natural resources

Bangladesh’s

econ-

omy has been greatly affected by the natural resources found on its land. Without its exceptional amount of arable land, Bangladesh’s

economy

natural

develop

explained,

ral resource is rice since its land allows for large amounts to be grown. This results in rice being a large part of most of the population’s diet. In Bangladesh, rice is not only common, but also inexpensive, which is why it is regularly eaten in all kinds of Bangladeshi households, big or small, rich or poor. (Figure 2) The animal species found in a country also impact its nation’s way of life. The many rivers and bodies of water located in Bangladesh are the homes to many types


B ANGLADESH , G EOGRAPHICALLY I MPACTED

P AGE 2

I MPACTS

Fig.2: Women from Bangladesh drying rice out in the sun.

OF

N ATURAL

RESOURCES ON THE

B ANGLADESH S OCIETY

of fish. This is the reason

do not want to export a ral resources are able to

why fish is such an impor-

national

tant part of Bangladeshi

natural resource is making tics and culture in numer-

cuisine. The large amounts

the government think about ous ways. There are many

of fish enable the Bangla-

the right decision to make. things lowering economy

deshis to invent new dishes,

They do not want a low growth rate in Bangladesh

in order to please their

economy; neither do they like floods, but the govern-

people. They are able to

want low pride. The few ment is trying to prevent

mix multiple natural re-

exportable goods in the more damage. The people

sources and make a dish

country make the govern- of Bangladesh try to live

that will be appreciated by

ment think about the best through it all. Natural re-

resource.

This influence economics, poli-

their population. Therefore, way to solve difficult prob- sources are a strong factor

“P OLITICAL DECISIONS ARE ALL MADE TO FIX DILEMMAS WHETHER IT INVOLVES WAR OR GEOGRAPHY .”

people’s diets are strongly

lems. Bangladesh is affected in building a society; Bang-

impacted by their country’s

by floods and storms which ladesh has been significantly

natural resources.

destroy their growing crops, affected by this one part of

However, geography can influence more than just culture and economics. Natural resources can also affect the political side of a society in a several ways. It can affect the decisions that a government needs to make. Bangladesh has a massive reserve of natural gas, (Figure 3) used to generate power, which has a high potential to become an

Fig.3: Bangladesh’s extremely large reserve of natural gas is a potential export.

export and increase economy. Even though the government is only considering exporting it because they

lowering the number of geography.

Natural

re-

exportable goods. The gov- sources are a strong factor ernment has decided to in building a society; Bangincrease production rate to ladesh has a significantly counter this problem. This affected by this one part of decision can increase the geography. number of remaining crops after the storms have hit, therefore

increasing

the

amount of exports. This proves that amounts of natural resources can also affect politics. Political decisions are all made to fix dilemmas whether it involves war or geography. Bangladesh’s natu-

Fig.4: Life in the highly dense populated country is not easy. There is not enough food to for everybody and even fewer to be exported out.


Special Asian Studies Edition

L IFE A LONG W ATER A SIAN S TUDIES V OLUME 3, I SSUE A

O CTOBER 2008

By HeRa Kang New Delhi, India

The geography of

Therefore, people’s life is ing area for crops such as

elers to its waters, and

India is closely related to

usually dependent on riv- legumes, chilies, mustard,

rapids of the Ganges are

how India is shaped today, ers or seas.

sesame, sugarcane, and

also popular for river raft-

and it has huge influences

jute, and sometimes it is

ing. Since there are so

on its country. During

available to go fishing

many things that attract

India’s past, the streams

along the river. Therefore

people to waters, tourism

of water- such as rivers,

living along the river is a

is another big contributor

canals, and oceans often

really good option for

to India’s economy. The

contributed in the coun-

farmers, where they can

flow of water doesn’t just

try’s development. The

use water any time they

affect the economy of In-

need for their work. Since

dia; it even affects the

more than half of Indians

politics of India.

three main aspects that are strongly influenced by geography are economy,

Figure 1. Hill Range and River Map of India.

are subsistence farmers

Rivers of India

who are main producers

also have large impacts to

Moreover, India of goods to export, re-

the politics of India. More

politics and culture. India is almost wholly crossed by rivers

is primarily an agriculture quiring

living

than half of the Indians are

(Figure 1), and its econ-

nation, and rivers are pro- along the river is giving

subsistence farmers; lots

omy is greatly influenced

viders

continuous great impacts to the farm-

of amounts of water are

by rivers. The rivers of

source of irrigation to ers, and to India’s econ-

required when farming.

India are often called the

large farming areas. Main omy.

Therefore, living along the

life system of India, indi-

crops cultivated along the

Furthermore,

river would be beneficial

cating that rivers play big

river contain rice, sugar- India attracts people with

for the farmers’ work.

role in its industries and

cane, lentils, oil seeds, its fascinating historical

Thus population would be

economy. In India, there

potatoes, and wheat and sites. The towns of holy

concentrated along the

are many industries re-

some other goods. The to Hinduism – Haridwar,

river (Figure 2), which

quiring water to run it, as

existence of swamps and Allahabad, and Varanasi –

would require the govern-

seen in fishing industries.

lakes provide a rich grow- attract thousands of trav-

ment to make some care-

of

water,


L IFE A LONG W ATER

P AGE 2

I MPACT OF WATER ON I NDIA ’ S E CONOMY , P OLITICS , AND C ULTURE

Figure 2. A village along Ganges River, Varanasi.

ful decisions in building

have to care about rivers, in

working with water, and

facilities and infrastructures

order to avoid any damages

they would differ from

along the region, for con-

or disadvantages for the

those of people in plains or

venience of people living in

citizens. The politics of

mountain ranges. This indi-

the region, considering the

India is affected by water in

cates that condition of the

concentrated

various ways.

surroundings or the envi-

there. Concentrated popu-

Since the civiliza-

ronment plays a big role in

lation along the river affects

tion began, population was

the lives of people along the

the decisions that govern-

mostly concentrated along

river. The streams of water

ment is making.

water, and where most of

are the main way of life for

India’s

“T HE RIVERS OF I NDIA ARE OFTEN CALLED THE LIFE SYSTEM OF I NDIA …”

Figure 3. Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in India

population

different

civilizations have been built, people living along water.

topographical features also

and where cultures were

The three main

affect the decisions that

developed. For India, rivers

elements that were affected

government is making. In-

were where its civilization,

by geography are the econ-

dia is consisted of 3 differ-

began and where the na-

omy, politics, and culture

ent topographical features,

tions in the past have been

of India. India was devel-

the mountain range, the

developed. Evidences of

oped mainly by the streams

great plain, and the south-

civilization in the past are

of water, and has been

ern peninsula. As the coun-

still found along the water,

shaped as present. Through

try’s topographical features

such as ancient paintings,

researching and writing this

are varied, India is also di-

and architectures (Figure 3). essay, I could learn the im-

vided into several states and

Therefore, rivers of India

portance of geography’s

territories that are having

remain also as evidences of

role in shaping a country by

each of their own govern-

history of India.

greatly impacting it.

ment. According to the

Life along water

location of the state or ter-

day by day (Figure 4)

ritory, different decisions

would be determined to the

like rules would be spe-

condition of the streams of

cially made for the region

water. For example, foods

that would differ from

that people eat would

other regions. For the cities

mainly be seafood and

which have rivers crossing,

clothes people wear would

the

usually be suitable for

governments

would

Figure 4. Bathing ghat on the Yamuna River at Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India.

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Asian Studies Nat Geo  

The articles written in this mock magazine are written by Grade 9 students at the International School of Beijing. Their articles focus on t...

Asian Studies Nat Geo  

The articles written in this mock magazine are written by Grade 9 students at the International School of Beijing. Their articles focus on t...

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