Village - Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia

Thailand

Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore

In Indonesia, depending on the principles they are administered, villages are called desa or kelurahan. A desa (a term that derives from a Sanskrit word meaning "country" that is found in a name such as "Bangladesh") is administered according to traditions and customary law (adat), while a kelurahan is administered along more "modern" principles. Desa are generally located in rural areas while kelurahan are generally urban subdivisions. A village head is respectively called kepala desa or lurah. Both are elected by the local community. A desa or kelurahan is itself the subdivision of a kecamatan (district), in turn the subdivision of a kabupaten (regency).

The same general concept applies all over Indonesia. How ever, there is some variation among the vast numbers of Austronesian ethnic groups. For instance, in Bali villages have been created by grouping traditional hamlets or banjar, which constitute the basis of Balinese social life. In the Minangkabau country in West Sumatra province traditional villages are called nagari (a term deriving from another Sanskrit word meaning "city", which can be found in a name like "Srinagar"). In some areas such as Tanah Toraja, elders take turns watching over the village at a command post. As a general rule, desa and kelurahan are groupings of hamlets (kampung in Indonesian, dusun in the Javanese language, banjar in Bali).

In Malaysia, the term kampung (sometimes spelling kampong) in the English language has been defined specifically as "a Malay hamlet or village in a Malay-speaking country". In other words, a kampung is defined today as a village in Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. In Malaysia, a kampung is determined as a locality with 10,000 or fewer people. Since historical times, every Malay village came under the leadership of a penghulu (village chief), who has the power to hear civil matters in his village (see Courts of Malaysia for more details). A Malay village typically contains a "masjid" (mosque) or "surau" (Muslim chapel), paddy fields and Malay houses on stilts. Malay and Indonesian villagers practice the culture of helping one another as a community, which is better known as "joint bearing of burdens" (gotong royong), as well as being family-oriented (especially the concept of respecting one's family ), courtesy and believing in God ("Tuhan") as paramount to everything else. It is common to see a cemetery near the mosque, as all Muslims in the Malay or Indonesian village want to be prayed for, and to receive Allah's blessings in the afterlife. While in Sarawak and East Kalimantan, some villages are called 'long', primarily inhabited by the Orang Ulu.

Singapore also follows the Malaysian kampung. However, there are only a few kampung villages remaining, mostly on islands surrounding Singapore such as Pulau Ubin. In the past, there was many kampung villages in Singapore but now there aren't many on the mainland.

The term "kampung", sometimes spelled "kampong" is one of many Malay words to have entered common usage in Malaysia and Singapore. Locally, the term is frequently used to refer to one's hometown.

Philippines

In urban areas of the Philippines, the term "village" most commonly refers to private subdivisions, especially gated communities. These villages emerged in the mid-20th century and were initially the domain of elite urban dwellers. Those are common in major cities in the country and their residents have a wide range of income levels. Such villages may or may not correspond to administrative units (usually barangays) and/or be privately administered. Barangays more correspond to the villages of old times, and the chairman (formerly a village datu) now settles administrative, intrapersonal, and political matters or polices the village, though with much less authority and respect than in Indonesia or Malaysia.

Vietnam

Village, or "làng", is a basis of Vietnam society. Vietnam's village is the typical symbol of Asian agricultural production. Vietnam's village typically contains: a village gate, "lũy tre" (bamboo hedges), "đình làng" (communal house) where "thành hoàng" (tutelary god) is worshiped, a common well, "đồng lúa" (rice field), "chùa" (temple) and houses of all families in the village. All the people in Vietnam's villages usually have a blood relationship. They are farmers who grow rice and have the same traditional handicraft. Vietnam's villages have an important role in society (Vietnamese saying: "Custom rules the law" -"Phép vua thua lệ làng" ). Everyone in Vietnam wants to be buried in their village when they die.

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