Download A world of water: rain, rivers and seas in Southeast Asian by P Boomgaard PDF

By P Boomgaard

Water, in its many guises, has continually performed a robust function in shaping Southeast Asian histories, cultures, societies, and economies. those essays characterize a huge variety of ways to the examine of Southeast Asia with water because the critical subject matter. because it used to be uncovered to the ocean, the zone used to be extra obtainable to outdoor political, monetary and cultural affects than many landlocked parts. easy accessibility via sea routes additionally encouraged alternate. in spite of the fact that, an identical easy accessibility made Southeast Asia at risk of political keep watch over via robust outsiders. the ocean is, additionally, a resource of meals, but in addition of many dangers. whilst, Southeast Asian societies and cultures are faced with and permeated by means of "water from heaven" within the kind of rain, flash floods, irrigation water, water in rivers, brooks, and swaps, water-driven energy vegetation, and pumped or piped water, as well as water as a provider of sewage and toxins. eventually, the quantity bargains with the position of water in class structures, ideals, myths, ailment, and therapeutic.

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A polyglot population of merchants, skippers, traders and seamen sailed alongside the Southeast Asians. The commercial share of the various communities fluctuated. Persians were active in the seventh century, though the Arabs later eclipsed them; Gujerati and Coromandel shippers were then prominent, while the Chinese emerged strongly in the 1100s. 20 We can get some idea of the exposure of Southeast Asian societies to these commercial and cultural currents, if we consider the routes that were travele­d.

The Arab world, India and China each have strong historical traditions, and each helped shape the world of Southeast Asia. Indeed, it is all too easy for Southeast Asians to disappear from their own history, particularly when considering such themes as commerce and long-distance connections. The very ‘openness’ of Southeast Asia, 36 Knaap 1989: Table 11; Kaur 1985; Elson 1999; East, Spate and Fisher 1950:274. Dick, Houben, Lindblad and Thee 2002; Resink 1968:107-48; Tagliacozzo 1998; Dick 1990; Campo 1994; Touwen 1997.

Early harbours important in handling goods moving across the areas now included in southern Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar were located in the deltas of the Mekong, Chao Phraya, Salween and Irrawaddy (Cooke and Li Tana 2004). Here boats could be used on man-made canals or natural streams to lighten the load, while the rivers provided access to inland markets or sources of commodities. Another possibility was to sail further south in the Andaman Gulf or the Gulf of Siam, and there make use of portage to have commodities carried across the narrow Isthmus of Kra.

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