Important Themes in
Southeast Asian Culture and History

Four
cultural and historical themes
that are still relevant today
about Southeast Asia:

   1)  Religion and animism

are still intertwined,
in terms of both medical approaches
and ritual offerings to spirits and ancestors. 
Indic influence is still expressed
through political rituals.

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2)  Descent in Southeast Asia
is still largely bilateral
(in some areas matrilineal),
and women still hold
a high economic position,
although diluted by major world religions
that bestow leadership on males somewhat.

3)  Politics is intricately personal
rather than policy-based. 

Alliances
are built through economic rewards
which is the hallmark of
political leadership and attraction of followers.

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4)  Debts
(in Tagalog, "
utang na loob")
are still highly significant
in social interactions. 

One creates allies
by instilling feelings of gratitude
and the need to repay the favor. 

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