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This vigorous survey of the peoples, cultures, and societies of Southeast Asia introduces a zone of super geographic, linguistic, ancient, and non secular range. Encompassing either mainland and island nations, those enticing essays describe personhood and identification, family members and loved ones association, realms, faith, pop culture and the humanities, the legacies of conflict and restoration, globalization, and the surroundings. all through, the point of interest is at the day-by-day lives and stories of normal humans. many of the essays are unique to this quantity, whereas a couple of are generally taught classics. All have been selected for his or her timeliness and curiosity, and are best for the classroom.

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But, in fact, most of the more than three hundred indigenous languages spoken in the Indonesian archipelago do not include synonyms for terms such as please and thank you. Most languages in Indonesia borrow some “thank you” phrase from European languages or the national language, termed bahasa Indonesia, to cope with contemporary cosmopolitan expectations. When local people speak to one another in their native tongues, by contrast, they can make do without these phrases. So, the cross-­cultural puzzle arises.

Rather, it is solved by recognizing that for people engaging in delayed forms of social and economic reciprocity, words themselves are not enough to balance deeds. Additionally, compensation Living in Indonesia without a Please or Thanks / 25 must occur at a later date so that a period of indebtedness prolongs, and thereby strengthens, the relationship. Thus, at the moment when a first good deed is enacted, often the best thing the recipient can do is simply acknowledge pleasure and a state of asymmetry or obligation in the “gift-­exchange” relationship.

In day-­to-­day behaviors and 30 / Andrew Causey social interactions, though, one might also notice a vibrant indigenous (that is, pre-­Christian) belief system working alongside the professed religion. One aspect of this older system is the belief that all persons have within themselves a “life-­force” called tondi. 4 However, none of these terms seems to accurately delineate the Bataks’ lived experience. 5 As conveyed in Ito’s story of her son’s fall from a tree, the material self is sometimes at the whim of this immaterial being and its desires.

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