"A region without problems and a people without grievances." Discuss this view of Southeast Asia and its inhabitants in the years 1870-1942.

Essay by fallingrainUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, May 2006

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Between the years 1870 and 1942, Western imperialism dominated Southeast Asia, transforming its political, economic and social structures. The view that it was a region without problems and a people without grievances can be interpreted as Southeast Asia being positively affected by colonialism rendering a smooth and prosperous economy, political stability and a social setting that did not cause any negative effects on the natives living there such that they had no complaints. The view is largely untrue as in trying to force Southeast Asia and its inhabitants into being what the Westerners had in mind for them, there were many negative backlashes on the region and countess grievances by the people. While it must not be forgotten that there were minimal advantages, most of them accidental, the view, to be accurate, must be modified to "A region with problems, and a people with grievances."

One of the "accidental" benefits of colonialism was the higher standards of education and schools that were now available to the masses.

Vernacular schools were seen to be less prestigious and Western education was now important for progress in the new Western colonies. This managed to break down many age-old traditions and superstitions that were holding back the states and opened the new generation up to ideas of capitalism and democracy which were essential in the modernisation of the colonies and eventually beneficial to the states in terms of their economy and political stability. Also due to the higher levels of education, the standards of living of the people would also have improved. They learnt about proper hygiene and cleanliness and this would have prevented the spread of contagious diseases to a certain extent, for example, the use of penicillin in the prevention of malaria. In this way, it can be seen that Southeast Asia...