Understanding Southeast Asia in 19 Infographics

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Home to more than 600 million people, Southeast Asia is one of the most dynamic regions in the world. A gateway to the Pacific, it is an important trading hub.

It is also blessed with a rich and diverse natural ecosystem. The eleven countries of Southeast Asia are Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, and East Timor. Except for East Timor, all countries in the region belong to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Next year, the region hopes to realize “ASEAN 2015″—the full integration of Southeast Asian economies, along the lines of the European Union.

The region is a place of contradictions, too. It is home to glitzy skyscrapers like Malaysia’s Petronas Towers, and it hosts the infamous sweatshops that are the target of consumer boycott campaigns in the United States and other developed countries. Southeast Asia’s uneven development is also reflected in the rise of rich countries like Singapore and Brunei, while poor countries like Laos continue to search for viable economic models.

With so much going on in Southeast Asia, infographics offer a useful heuristic for understanding the area, highlighting the diversity of the ASEAN community and the challenges that lie ahead.

Source: Global Voices