Geography and the Environment in Southeast Asia

Geography and the Environment in Southeast Asia: Proceedings of the Geology Jubilee Symposium, The University of Hong Kong, 21-25 June 1976

R. D. HILL
JENNIFER M. BRAY
Copyright Date: 1978
Pages: 502
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jc5fr
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  • Book Info
    Geography and the Environment in Southeast Asia
    Book Description:

    This collection of papers on geography and the environment in Southeast Asia was presented at a Jubilee symposium held from 21-25 June 1976 at the University of Hong Kong, to mark the 25th year of a Department of Geogrpahy and the 21st year of a Chair of Geography in the University.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-142-2
    Subjects: Population Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
  3. LIST OF TABLES
    (pp. viii-xi)
  4. LIST OF FIGURES
    (pp. xii-xv)
  5. FOREWORD
    (pp. xvi-xvii)
    R.D.H. and J.M.B.

    This collection of papers on geography and the environment in Southeast Asia was presented at a Jubilee symposium held from 21–25 June 1976 at the University of Hong Kong, to mark the 25th year of a Department of Geography and the 21st year of a Chair of Geography in the University.

    There is an obvious danger that geographical studies of Hong Kong could become a catalogue of environmental problems, both on land and sea. Over 4.5 million people inhabit an area of only 1046 km², including 235 islands, giving rise to some of the world’s highest urban densities; these...

  6. 1 GEOGRAPHY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
    (pp. 1-4)
    C.J. Grant

    Although 1976 is the silver jubilee year of the geography department, geography has formed part of the curriculum since the very early days of the University. Geography was a requirement in the Hong Kong University Entrance Examination as early as 1912 and was taught in the University as an intermediate course in combination with economics.

    The earliest known lecturer in geography was F.M.H. Holman who was appointed in 1915 as Tutor in English and History and Reader in Economic Geography. In those early day members of the University staff were required to have a wide range of abilities and at...

  7. II Plenary Address – Problems and Approaches to Environmental Management in Southeast Asia
    (pp. 5-14)
    M.B. Pescod

    The perception of environmental issues in Southeast Asia has increased markedly since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972. Most countries have taken steps towards establishing national environmental policies and instituting mechanisms whereby they may be carried out. Environment is now acknowledged to be an integral part of development but varying degrees of importance have been attached to environmental control in the different countries of the region. The determination with which a country pursues economic growth, to the exclusion of all other factors, will decide the importance attached to environmental protection. Industrial expansion and natural resources...

  8. The Urban Environment
    • III THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT IN SOUTHEAST ASIA – CHALLENGE AND OPPORTUNITY
      (pp. 17-34)
      Y.M. Yeung

      As a region, Southeast Asia is characterized by an overall low level of urbanization but also by a high degree of primacy. However, the increase in urban population has been outstripping the growth of the population as a whole. In the decade of the 1950s, the total population of Southeast Asia increased at an annual rate of 2.4 per cent, while the urban population grew at 5.7 per cent. In the succeeding decade the corresponding figures were 2.8 per cent and 5.0 per cent. Even at the latter reduced rate, the 1970 urban population of Southeast Asia will double in...

    • IV EXORCISING THE BEDEVILLED CITY OF ANGELS
      (pp. 35-52)
      L. Sternstein

      The title of this paper, ‘Exorcising the Bedevilled City of Angels’, might refer to any extant metropolitan complex. It does refer to Bangkok, pre-eminent example of the primate city and the capital of Thailand. Bangkok, or more properly Krung Thep, has been popularized as the ‘City of Angels’ in the mistaken notion this phrase succinctly sums up the essence of the wordy honorific official name of the Thai capital.¹

      The principal oath invoked to drive the evil spirits from Krung Thep is ‘master plan’. The first master plan for the city was prepared by American consultants in 1960.² This pioneering...

    • V ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION – THE SEARCH FOR A SOLUTION IN SINGAPORE
      (pp. 53-68)
      Chia Lin Sien

      Singapore was beset with social and economic problems during the years following the achievement of self-rule in 1959. In the 1950s, a four per cent rate of population growth, high unemployment rates coupled with labour unrest, and an acute shortage of housing were among its more pressing problems. The first Development Plan, 1961–1965, was formulated to solve these problems in two major directions, namely, a vigorous pursuit of industrial development and massive construction of public housing. The traumatic separation from the Federation of Malaysia in August 1965, after just less than two years in the Federation, placed immense stress...

    • VI THE IMPACT OF THE CITY ON THE ENVIRONMENT: SQUATTERS BEFORE AND AFTER DEVELOPMENT: THE CASE OF TSUEN WAN, HONG KONG
      (pp. 69-78)
      J.W. Hayes

      ‘What has been long apparent in many other areas seems now to be officially recognized in Hong Kong; that squatters are a permanent feature of the urban scene and no amount of resettlement will ever clear them completely’ (Dwyer, 1971, 86). This paper endorses and extends Professor Dwyer’s dictum in describing both old and still existing squatters in and around Tsuen Wan New Town, and new style squatters in the developed parts of the New Town. It then outlines the lessons that could and are being learned from this situation.

      In Hong Kong it seldom happens that new towns and...

    • VII TRANSPORT AND THE ENVIRONMENT: HONG KONG TRANSPORT AND THE METRO
      (pp. 79-86)
      T.M. Ridley

      There is no generally agreed definition of ‘the environment’. Normally something is considered to be ‘bad for the environment’ if an individual is adversely affected by a new development, whereas the impact of existing facilities is frequently ignored. Transport is somewhat easier to define, being the movement of people and goods from one place to another. We often think of transport and the environment in terms of specifics. Fumes from buses are ‘bad for the environment’; the visual intrusion of an elevated highway is ‘bad for the environment’; and the noise of traffic is ‘bad for the environment’.

      These are...

    • VIII THE IMPACT OF URBANIZATION ON THE ENVIRONMENT – A CASE STUDY OF BANGKOK
      (pp. 87-104)
      Shao-er Ong

      Never before have problems of the environment received so much attention as today. A deteriorating environment is viewed as one of three threats, together with nuclear war and a worldwide food shortage, menacing the survival of human civilization (Dwyer, 1972). The United Nations held a World Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972), while the World Bank has financed several important projects dealing with environmental problems (see International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, 1974; 1975). In Asia, ESCAP (the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) also gives top priority to assisting member countries in tackling...

  9. The Impact of the City on Rural Areas
    • IX URBANIZATION AND RURAL CHANGE – TAMBON OM NOI
      (pp. 107-144)
      Koichi Mizuno

      This is a report of field research which was carried out in Tambon Om Noi, near Bangkok, during 1972 and 1973 with the co-operation of the National Research Council of Thailand. The purpose of the research was threefold: first to provide materials on rural change under the impact of urban encroachment; second, to reconstruct the processes of ecological adaptation of those who used to be rice farmers; third, to determine the core-area of change and its consequences for different aspects of rural life such as standard of living, family and kinship, village organization, cultural premisses, and social consciousness. The field...

    • X THE TAI SHANG WAI HOUSING PROJECT CONTROVERSY
      (pp. 145-164)
      David C.Y. Lai

      Coastal wetlands are one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world, and are constantly subject to destruction by reclamation in the process of urbanization. In recent years, ecologists and biologists have indicated that wetlands are not only areas of natural beauty but also very a productive nursery and feeding habitat for wildlife (Wagner, 1974).

      In the United States, serious measures have been taken not only to preserve the remaining wetlands but also to refill and restore the depleted wetland areas, as was the case with the Marshes in northern California (Darling, 1969). Federal and State laws have been passed...

    • XI URBANIZATION AND AGRICULTURE: THE IMPACT OF AGRICULTURAL AND TOWN DEVELOPMENT ON THE RURAL ENVIRONMENT IN HONG KONG
      (pp. 165-184)
      C.T. Wong

      Urbanization has proceeded apace in this century and projections for the year 2000 indicate that 63 per cent of the population of developed countries and 31 per cent of the population of developing countries will reside in urban settlements and this is particularly the case in Hong Kong. The rapid growth and expansion of the urban area during the post-Second World War period have revolutionized the pattern of local land use. The expanding urban demand for protein and protective foods has encouraged local farmers to make more intensive use of agricultural land for the production of high value crops, as...

    • XII A STUDY OF LAND USE AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE IN THE SUBURBAN AREAS OF BANGKOK METROPOLITAN
      (pp. 185-192)
      Aurapin Bunnag

      This report presents the results of a series of preliminary surveys of land use and of socio-economic and demographic change in the suburban areas of Bangkok Metropolitan, conducted by the Institute of Population Studies and the Institute of Environmental Research, Chulalongkorn Univetsity. The aim of the survey was to present a preliminary picture of their development and characteristics, through examining the settlement pattern of a sample site and also the way of life of former inhabitants as well as the new settlers. The project not only examines the economic and social problems of the inhabitants but also explores the land...

  10. The Impact of Development on Rural Life and Environment
    • XIII NATURAL RESOURCE CONSERVATION – THE GEOGRAPHER’S VIEW
      (pp. 195-204)
      Dominador Z. Rosell

      According to Malthusians, the human race has been breeding itself to extinction. It is also bringing about the destruction of many other forms of life on the planet Earth. Man’s insatiable love for physical well-being to the detriment of his environment moved Alexis de Tocqueville to write 130 years ago, ‘To satisfy even the least wants of the body, and to provide the little conveniences is uppermost in every mind. The love of well-being is now become the predominant taste of the nation; the great current of human passions runs in that channel and sweeps everything along in its course’....

    • XIV UPLAND DEVELOPMENT AND PROSPECTS FOR THE RURAL POOR: EXPERIENCE IN NORTHERN THAILAND
      (pp. 205-216)
      E.C. Chapman

      Air pollution, the dumping of industrial waste and inadequate urban housing for low-income families are the normal accompaniments of urban and industrial development in Southeast Asia. It is comforting to argue that various kinds of environmental damage are part of the costs of economic development, to be endured for a few years, and that once governments can pay for environmental improvements, or give them a higher priority in government expenditure, then the technical answers will be readily available from existing knowledge in the Western world.

      Unfortunately perhaps, not all environmental problems in Southeast Asia are linked so positively with economic...

    • XV THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF SOME DAMS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
      (pp. 217-224)
      Prachoom Chomchai

      Rapid technological development and man’s attempt to control nature can cause changes in the natural environment. The advent of man-made lakes as a result of construction of dams to harness water resources is known to cause such beneficial environmental changes as the development of hydro-electric power, of a more reliable water supply, and of fishing, transport and recreation. On the other hand, the consequential changes in the environment may be harmful in that they may alter natural beauty, remove extensive areas from agriculture or lumber production, wipe out wildlife habitats, lead to public health problems and result in a net...

    • XVI YOUTH LAND SETTLEMENT SCHEMES IN MALAYSIA
      (pp. 225-246)
      Wolfgang Senftleben

      High rates of unemployment are characteristic of all developing countries and are a major criterion of underdevelopment. In Southeast Asia it is mainly the young generation within the age brackets between 15 and 25 years who cannot be integrated into the labour process. The problem of youth unemployment has become most urgent in Sri Lanka and Malaysia and both countries have recently experienced unrest amongst youth. Although the 1971 uprising by the Janatha Vimukhti Peramuna in Ceylon and the 1969 riots in Malaysia might have a much deeper political and racial background, it may be assumed that these disturbances have...

    • XVII THE IMPACT OF ROAD NETWORKS ON RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN SARAWAK, EAST MALAYSIA
      (pp. 247-254)
      Niew Shong Tong

      For decades, internal transportation in Sarawak relied heavily on rivers: linkages between the administrative Divisions, towns and villages were mainly by boat. Major rivers and their tributaries formed the backbone of the transportation system in each Division, with few apparent problems of connectivity.

      A road system in Sarawak emerged only after the Second World War and most of the roads have been constructed within the past twenty years. These include the First Trunk Road System of which 90 per cent of its 1,060 km (660 miles) are already completed, leaving the 110-km (70-mile) stretch between Sibu and Bintulu to be...

  11. Analysis and Planning
    • XVIII IMPACT OF DEVELOPMENT ON THE RURAL ENVIRONMENT
      (pp. 257-284)
      M.B. Pescod

      Energy, resources and environment are intimately related in any consideration of the impact of development upon rural areas. Countries in Southeast Asía, at a tíme of accelerated development, will undoubtedly be drawing on their natural resources and energy sources in rural areas at an increasing rate and serious environmental deterioration will occur unless rational management practices are adopted. The region is characterized by its large population with a very high growth rate (two to three per cent annually), a high proportion under 15 years of age (more than 45 per cent) and a predominantly rural distribution (of the order of...

    • XIX SOME TOOLS FOR MANAGING THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
      (pp. 285-296)
      Maung Nay Htun

      With expanding populations and increasing industrial development in Southeast Asia, the natural environment is being subjected to a great degree of change. To enable an objective and quantitative assessment of the degree and speed of changes, so that rational decisions can be taken to protect and enhance the quality of air, water and land, the necessary information and tools must be available. Decisions regarding the environment, with the objectives of developing and evaluating abatement and control strategies, observing pollution trends and relating any changes to waste discharges, checking adherence to environmental quality standards, and developing and applying a warning system...

    • xx THE ROLE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN HOUSING THE URBAN POOR
      (pp. 297-322)
      D.W. Drakakis-Smith

      The subject of this paper is housing for the poor, one of the most basic elements within the urban environment. Throughout the discussion the term environment is used in its widest sense to encompass not only the physical aspects of housing provision but also the economic, social and political systems within which the urban poor live and work. The specific aim of the paper is to examine a neglected aspect of urban housing provision in Southeast Asia, namely the contribution which the private builder can make to improving the housing conditions of the urban poor. Essentially the paper is an...

    • XXI PLANNING FOR ENVIRONMENTAL BALANCE: A THEORETICAL STUDY OF THE HONG KONG SITUATION
      (pp. 323-344)
      K.S. Pun

      The backbone of the town planning profession is the concept that all elements of the community should be guided and their efforts co-ordinated to strive for a ‘good environment’. What constitutes a ‘good environment’ is subject to debate, but the principle is now universally accepted by planners. The large number of articles, books and research projects on the environment is clear evidence of the current interest among town planners, geographers, sociologists, psychologists and, of course, the so-called environmentalists.

      Into this general principle of ‘good environment’ has crept rather stealthily the hypothesis of a ‘balanced environment’. The terms ‘balanced urban structure’,...

    • XXII THE HONG KONG COUNTRYSIDE AND ITS IMPORTANCE TO THE COMMUNITY
      (pp. 345-352)
      J.W. Wholey

      Many visitors are understandably overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people in Hong Kong, by the high rates of occupancy and residential densities, and by the apparently completely urban outlook of most of the people they meet. Consequently, most tourists carry away with them an impression of a bustling modern city catering especially to the needs of overseas visitors in the areas of shopping, hotels, restaurants and night life. Against this background it is interesting to record that in terms of land area, Hong Kong consists predominantly of countryside, much of which is of high scenic quality (Table 22.1).

      Of...

    • XXIII CONTEMPORARY FEATURES OF THE POPULATION OF HONG KONG
      (pp. 353-372)
      S.F. Richards

      This paper presents some preliminary consideration of changes in Hong Kong’s population over the last ten years. In addition to the Population census of 1971 the principal source of information has been the Monthly digest of statistics.

      The estimated mid-year population in 1965 was 3,597,900, which grew by 21.37 per cent in the ten years to 1975 to reach 4,366,600. This represents an average annual growth rate very close to two per cent, although the Census and Statistics Department reports a considerable fluctuation in the annual rate. The highest reported growth rate was 2.8 per cent for 1974–1975, the...

  12. Education and Environment
    • XXIV LANDSCAPE AND ECOSYSTEM – A CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR A GEOGRAPHY CURRICULUM
      (pp. 375-394)
      D.S. Biddle

      The last two decades have been characterized by technological changes in communications and in data collection which have contributed to an explosive growth of information about the world in which we live. This accumulation of data is being accelerated by the increased usage of remote sensors and by the expansion of computerized data banks in the physical, biological, and social sciences.¹ Consequently, a situation of information overload has developed. Recognition of this situation makes it easier to appreciate why major scientific advances now tend to be made through the development of new ways of an analyzing and presenting large quantities...

    • XXV CONCEPTS IN GEOGRAPHY – TEACHING AND LEARNING – CHALLENGES OFFERED BY CHANGES IN THE HONG KONG ADVANCED LEVEL GEOGRAPHY CURRICULUM
      (pp. 395-424)
      L. Francis

      To include the development of concepts among the aims of a geography curriculum raises important questions about the structure of geography itself. This paper explores the view that geography can be seen to be structured about a hierarchy of interrelated concepts. In teaching a curriculum devised around a series of defined concepts the teacher may need to reorientate the approaches adopted in the classroom. This becomes necessary as a curriculum based on conceptual learning places greater emphasis on the development of the student’s thinking and reasoning abilities than do traditional curricula. Some implications from research into conceptual learning are drawn...

    • XXVI THE ROLE OF AGRICULTURAL GEOGRAPHY IN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
      (pp. 425-458)
      C.L. Knight

      Southeast Asian countries are fortunate in being able to plan for environmental management before they experience the worst problems of mismanagement from which many developed countries of the Western world are suffering. The success of their planning will, however, depend largely on the extent to which the people are educated to understand and accept the sort of restrictions implicit in environmental management. The new Advanced Level geography curriculum that has been planned for Hong Kong schools is therefore a foreward-looking document because it does focus on ‘the interaction of relationships between man and his environment’. Through the use of ecosystem...

    • XXVII GEOGRAPHY AND ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION IN THE PHILIPPINES
      (pp. 459-468)
      Domingo C. Salita

      The term environment is open to many different interpretations. One writer defines it as the unique skin of soil, water, gaseous atmosphere, mineral nutrients and organisms that cover the otherwise undistinguished planet earth. Another writer defines the environment as constituting those natural things which surround us, from the essentials to sustain human life such as air, water, and land, to the non-essentials that nevertheless make life sustainable including human living space. As used in this paper, the environment refers to the aggregate of the surroundings that influence the growth and development of the life of an individual or population, especially...

    • XXVIII ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION IN HONG KONG
      (pp. 469-481)
      K.K. Lai

      This paper is intended to give an account of what the Education Department of the Hong Kong government has done, is doing and plans to do in the field of environmental education. In Hong Kong, educational interest in the environment, from both intra-curricular and extra-curricular points of view, though comparatively new, has been extremely keen and has been gathering tremendous momentum both within schools and outside during the last decade. The development of both intra-curricular and extra-curricular activities in connection with environmental education, dating back to the mid-fifties, is in our opinion, in the right direction. It is believed that...

  13. ADDRESSES OF CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 483-485)