As western ideology pervasively grows across the global community, Southeast Asia's traditional values are unavoidably challenged by these foreign thoughts. "Western" concepts like democracy, individual rights, and freedom face stark competition with "Asian" concepts of family, state, and stability on the political realm. These "Asian values" are the grounds upon which Southeast Asian politics have been governed over the past decades, but often to the demise of their own rule. The strict adherence to the frameset that Asians fundamentally hold to "Asian values" has only paved the way for the need for reform and change within governments.
"Asian values", coined by the elitists of Pacific Asia to battle the intrusive ideas of the west, refers to the belief that economic development and prosperity in Southeast Asian countries will flourish only by hierarchical structure and an adherence to stability over individual freedom. The intent behind "Asian values" is that Asians fundamentally hold to a different set of values than the democratic west.
When cries for human rights and political reform in Southeast Asia are made worldwide, "Asian values" claim that the underlying perspectives of ethical and political values are different. What appears to be a grotesque violation of human rights to the UN is, in fact, to the true "Asian" a proper and necessary step toward stability. Asian leaders like Malaysia's Mahathir push the mentality that western values threaten the inherent being of what it means to be truly Asian. Thus, Southeast Asian governments tended to rule independently of aid or influence outside of Asian countries.
However, ideologies do not always represent reality. The Southeast Asian government stands adamantly on the establishment of their countries' "Asianness" by declaring to the world that Asians desire structure over freedom, stability over individual rights.