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Southeast Asian



umbrella term for people of Southeast Asian descent. South Asian countries include two sub-regions:

  • Mainland Southeast Asia: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Maritime Southeast Asia: Andaman and Nicobar Islands (India), Ashmore and Cartier Islands (Australia), Brunei, Christmas Island (Australia), the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Australia), East Malaysia, East Timor, Indonesia (except Western New Guinea, which is considered a part of the Australian continent), the Philippines and Singapore.


As many countries and cultures are enveloped within this umbrella term, try to be as specific as possible. If you know or can ask someone if they are Laotian, for example, that's better as it's more specific.

Do not assume someone is Southeast Asian because of certain physical characteristics or language knowledge.

Additionally, these Asian subregions are important to differentiate as some regions were most fraught to imperialism and colonisation than others.

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