Identification. The Agta consist of eight ethnolinguistic groups, numbering in total about 7,000 people.


The Ainu are a group of people in northern Japan whose traditional life was based on a hunting, fishing, and plant-gathering economy; the word ainu means "man." Only about 18,000 Ainu now live on Hokkaidō, the northernmost island of Japan, but the population was much larger in the past and their homeland included at least southern Sakhalin, the Kurile Islands, northern parts of Honshū (the main island of Japan), and adjacent areas.



The Alak are a central upland group of southern Laos. In 1981 their population was estimated at about 3,000, representing a near doubling of the population since the early 1960s.


Identification. The Alorese live on the Island of Alor, in East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia.


Ata Sikka

Identification. The Ata Sikka (ata, "people," "man"), or Sikkanese, are the people of east-central Flores, an Indonesian island, and are located between Lio and Larantuka.

Ata Tana 'Ai

Identification. The Ata Tana 'Ai are a branch of the Sikkanese peoples of eastern Flores.



The Bagobo (Manobo, Manuvu, Obbo, Obo) may be thought of as several groups of people, each of whom speak one of three Bagobo languages; these languages belong to the Manobo Family. Until sometime in this century, there were two major groups, which were distinguished from each other by geographic separation and by several cultural distinctions.




Numbering about 30,000 in 1982, the Balantak inhabit the most easterly end of the east-central peninsula of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. Balantak is classified in the West Indonesian Group of the Austronesian Language Family.


Identification. The Balinese live on the island of Bali, in the archipelago nation of Indonesia.


A people numbering about 86,000 in 1979, the Banggai inhabit the Banggai Archipelago, off the tip of the east-central peninsula of Sulawesi, Indonesia. The Mian Sea-Sea and Mian Banggai are two subgroups of the Banggai.





The name "Bisaya" is applied primarily to those people living on the middle reaches of rivers in Sabah and Sarawak draining into Brunei Bay on Borneo. The Bisaya are culturally diverse; in mainland Sabah, they are primarily Muslims engaged in wet-rice cultivation, but in Sarawak most are neither Muslim nor Christian (though one large group, the Limbang, are now converted to Christianity).

Bolaang Mongondow

A 1983 estimate places the population of the Bolaang Mongondow at over 1.5 million. They live on the northern or Minahassa peninsula of Sulawesi, Indonesia.


Identification. Bonerate live on the island of Bonerate, which is situated in the middle of the Flores Sea in Indonesia.


The Bontok are located in the steep gorge country of the upper Chico River system in Central Mountain Province of northern Luzon, the Philippines. The 1960 census listed the Bontok population at 78,000.


The Brao (Lave, Love), who numbered about 18,000 in 1984, are swidden rice cultivators located over a fairly large area from 14° to 16° N and 106° to 108° E in northeast Cambodia and southeast Laos. Brao is a Mon-Khmer, Austroasiatic language.


The Bru, also known as the Baru, B'ru, and Leu, are a group numbering about 50,000 in 1985 with 40,132 in Vietnam and the remainder in neighboring Laos. They are linguistically and culturally related to the nearby Kalo (Ca Lo, Ka Lo) and some experts suggest that the Kalo are best classified as a Bru subgroup.


The Buddhists of Southeast Asia are not considered here in a detailed article, since many of the longer articles in this volume deal with specific Buddhist cultural groups. Buddhism is, after all, a world religion with several hundreds of millions of adherents; and so, as with any other major and widespread faith, considerable diversity may be found in cultural practices.


Identification. The Bugis are the predominant ethnic group inhabiting the southern peninsula of the island of Sulawesi (formerly Celebes) in Indonesia.


Identification. The Bukidnon people of the southern Philippines speak the Binukid dialect within the Manobo Language Family.


Identification. The Bunun of Taiwan use the term "Bunun" to refer to all Bunun; it means "person." Their language is also called Bunun.



Identification. The Burmans speak Burmese (a Tibeto-Burman language) and live in the central plain of Burma, in the Union of Burma, which was renamed Myanmar in 1990.


Identification. Before 1960 the people living in the sultanate of Buton were called Butonese.

Central Thai

Identification. The Central Thai speak the Central Thai (Tai-Shan) dialect, live in central and southern Thailand, and are predominantly of the Buddhist faith.


Identification. The Cham are a Malay people who represent the remnant of a once large and powerful kingdom (Champa) that was dominant in the Vietnamese coastal region from about A.D.


Also known as the "Niakuoll" and sometimes erroneously called the "Lawa," the Chaobon are a group of about 14,000 (1984) living in settled wet-rice agricultural villages in central and northern Thailand. "Niakuoll" is their self-name.

Chinese in Southeast Asia

Identification. The Chinese in Southeast Asia once referred to themselves as "Huaqiao" (Chinese sojourners) but now describe themselves as "Huaren" (Chinese people).


The Chong (Xong) are a group estimated at 5,500 in 1984, located along the Cambodia-Thailand border at about 12° N and 103° E and in the Cardamom Mountains. The Chong are closely related to the Pear and Saoch, who also speak Mon-Khmer languages and are classified as Southwest Upland Groups.


The Chrau are a group of about 20,000 (1981) located in Dong Nai Province in Vietnam. Known subgroups include the Ro, Bajieng, Mru, Jre, Buham, Bu-Preng, and Bla.

Cotabato Manobo

Numbering 10,000 to 15,000 in 1981, the Cotabato Manobo inhabit the central portion of the southwest highlands of Cotabato on Mindanao Island in the Philippines. Through contact with the neighboring Magindanao and Christian Filipinos who have settled in the region, much of the traditional culture has disappeared.


Also known as "Khua," the Cua are a group of about 10,000 to 15,000 (1973) settled in Gia Lai-Cong Turn Province in central Vietnam.


Like the Jeh, Menam, Noar, and the Sayan, the Duane are considered by some a distinct ethnic group in central Vietnam and Laos, although little is known about them.



Identification. The most popular word in the literature for the people around the central part of Flores has been the "Endenese" or (in Indonesian) "Orang Ende." The people who can be referred to as "Endenese" may be divided into two groups in terms of culture and religion.


In its broadest sense, "Filipino" (fem. "Filipina") refers to citizens of the Republic of the Philippines, a grouping that numbered an estimated 62,380,000 people in 1992.


The Gaddang (Gadan, Ga'dang, Gaddanes, Iraya, Pagan Gaddang, Yrraya) live in the middle Cagayan Valley in northern Luzon, the Philippines. "Gaddang" refers to both the Christianized Gaddang who are now largely assimilated into Ilocano or general Filipino society and the Pagan Gaddang.


Identification. The Gayo live predominantly in the central highlands of Aceh Province in Sumatra, Indonesia, and are Sunni Muslims.


Numbering around 500,000, the six subgroups who comprise the Gorontalese occupy much of northwestern Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. The six subgroups are the Gorontalo, Suwawa, Limbotto, Bolango, Atinggola, and Boelemo.

Halang Doan

A group of about 2,000 swidden-rice cultivators in Attopeu Province in Laos and Dac Lac Province in Vietnam. There is some question as to whether the Halang Doan are a distinct group or a subgroup of the Jeh.


The 7,000 Hanunóo (Bulalakao, Hampangan, Hanono-o, Mangyan) live in an area of 800 square kilometers at the southern end of Mindoro Island (12°30′ N, 121°10′ E), in the Philippines. They speak an Austronesian language, and most are literate, using an Indic-derived script that they write on bamboo.


Identification. The Hmong have migrated to Southeast Asia from the mountainous parts of southwestern China, where many still remain.


Sometimes also called the Da Vach or Davak, the Hre are a group enumerated at 94,259 in the 1985 census of Vietnam. They are located in the mountainous area of central Vietnam.


The Ibaloi (Benguetano, Benguet Igorot, Ibaloy, Igodor, Inibaloi, Inibaloy, Inibiloi, N abaloi) inhabit central and southern Benguet province and western Nueva Vizcaya Province, Luzon, the Philippines. In 1975 they numbered nearly 89,000.


Identification. The name "Iban" is of uncertain origin.


The Ifugao are a rice-growing people who live in a mountainous region of Luzon in the Philippines. The Ifugao homeland of Ifugao Province (17° N, 121° E) occupies less than 750 square miles in the center of northern Luzon.


Numbering about 65,000, the Ilanon (Ilano, Ilanum, Ilanun, Illanun, Iranon, Lanon) inhabit the area surrounding and inland from Polioc Harbor, on Moro Gulf, Mindanao, the Philippines, Ilanon is classified in the Hesperonesian Group of the Austronesian Language Family. Subsistence is based on wet rice and maize.


The Ilongot live in Nueva Vizcaya Province of Luzon in the Philippines. They numbered about 2,500 in 1975.


Indonesia is essentially an equatorial country that stretches from 11° S to 4° N,a location that gives its climate a certain unity. It is a very large country, spanning from west to east more than 4,800 kilometers between 95° E and 141° E.



The Isneg (Apayao, Isnag, Isned, Kalina', Mandaya, Payao) are a group in northern Luzon, the Philippines. In 1981 their population was estimated at 12,000.


Itneg is a general term that refers to speakers of Itneg languages who reside on Luzon in the Philippines. The Summer Institute of Linguistics lists four Itneg languages: Binongan (Tinggian, Tinguian, Tinngguian), Inlaod, Masadiit, and Southern.


Identification. The Japanese people, the majority of whom live in the archipelago known as Japan, which lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent, speak the Japanese language.


Location. The Javanese primarily occupy the provinces of East and Central Java, although there are also some Javanese on other Indonesian islands.


Identification. "Kachin" comes from the Jinghpaw word "GaKhyen," meaning "Red Earth," a region in the valley of the two branches of the upper Irrawaddy with the greatest concentration of powerful traditional chiefs.


There are aproximately 8,000 Kalagan (Calagan, Kagan, Karagan, Laoc, Saka, Tagakaolo) living on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. They are located in the area between the interior uplands and the western coast of the Davao Gulf.


"Kalibuga" (Kolibugan) means "mixed breed" and refers to the Subanun of the Philippines who have intermarried with the Tausug and Samal. Kalibugan, who number about 15,000, live in villages on the coast in western Mindanao.

Kalimantan Dayaks

The category "Kalimantan Dayaks" includes several groups of indigenous peoples in southern and western Kalimantan in both Malaysian and Indonesian parts of the island. They may be distinguished from the Malay population by the fact that they are not Muslim, and from the Penan (or Ot) by the fact that they are settled rather than nomadic.


Identification. Largely celebrated in the popular literature for their invidious headhunting, the Kalingas are surrounded by other Philippine peoples who are equally famous for their headhunting, including the Apayaos to the north, the Bontoks to the south, and the Ifugaos farther to the southeast.


The Kankanai (Central Kankanaey, Igorot, Kakanay, Kankanaey, Kankanay, Southern Kankanai) are a group numbering around 110,000 in 1981 in northern Benguet Province, southwest Mountain Province, and southeast llocos Province, Luzon, the Philippines. Kankanai is classified in the Hesperonesian Group of the Austronesian Language Family.


Identification. Historically, the written Burmese term "Karen" probably came from the word "Kayin," referring to the particular group of peoples in eastern Myanmar (Burma) and western Thailand who speak closely related but different Sino-Tibetan languages.


The Kasseng (Kaseng) are a group of about 6,000 (1981) swidden rice cultivators located in the Boloven plateau region of southern Laos.


The Kattang (Katang) are a group of about 10,000 (1981) swidden rice cultivators and wet-rice agriculturalists in the Muong Nong area of southern Laos.


The Katu (Cò Tu, Kato, Ka-Tu) are a group of swidden rice, maize, and cassava cultivators located primarily along the Laos-Vietnam border in central Vietnam. The 1985 census of Vietnam enumerated 36,967 Katu.


Identification. The Kédang speak "the language of the mountain" (tutuq-nanang wéla), as opposed to the Lamaholot of their neighbors on the small eastern Indonesian island of Lembata.


"Kenyan-Kayan-Kajang" is a term referring to a complex of riverine culture groups living in Sarawak. The Kenyah and Kayan are the main groups, whereas the Kajang consist of a number of small groups that are assimilating to one or the other of the other two.


Numbering around 170,000 as of 1977, the Kerintji people (Corinchee, Corinchi, Corinchia, Kerinchi, Kinchai, Koerintji, Korinchi, Korinci, Korintji, Kurintji) live in the fertile, high-elevation "Kerintji Basin," two degrees south of the equator in West Sumatra, Indonesia. Kerintji is classified in the Hesperonesian Group of the Austronesian Language Family.


Identification. The term "Khmer" designates the dominant ethnic population (and the language) of Cambodia.


Khua number about 5,000 (1981) and live in northern Vietnam and east-central Laos.



Identification. These ethnonyms (and also some others: Such'ǒk Kwangdae, Chaein, and so on) refer to members of the little-known but significant (in terms of both numbers and economic impact) social minority that comprised distinctive "outcaste" communities throughout much of Korean social history.


Identification. Because Korea is an ethnically homogeneous nation, there are no ethnonyms per se.

Koreans in Japan

At present, there are 700,000 Koreans in Japan, three-fourths of whom were born in and have grown up in Japan. Most are legally classified as "resident aliens." Koreans make up 85 percent of Japan's resident alien population.


The Kubu (Koeboe, Orang Darat) live in Sumatra and are found throughout the east-coast lowlands westward to the foothills of the Barisan Range. "Kubu" is a generic label used by outsiders for a number of scattered former hunter-gatherers in Sumatra.


The Kui (Kuoy, Soai) are a group of more than 100,000 located in east-central Thailand, northeast Cambodia, and Laos. Some experts suggest that the Kui were settled in the area prior to the arrival of the now-dominant Thai and Lao.



The Laki (Lalaki, Lolaki, To Laki), who numbered 125,000 in 1977, are located in the southern portion of the southeastern peninsula of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Laki is classified in the West Indonesian Group of the Austronesian Language Family.


Identification. The Lamaholot speak the Lamaholot language.


The Lamet (Kha Lamet, Le-Met) are an ethnic group numbering about 5,800 in northwest Laos. Along with the Kmhmu, the Lamet claim to be the original inhabitants of the region.


Lao Isan

Identification. The Lao Isan speak the Lao dialect of the Thai language, live in northeastern Thailand, and are predominantly Buddhists.


A group of about 7,000 (1987) located mainly in the Bo Luang Plateau area of northern Thailand, roughly between 18° to 20° N and between 98° to 100° E. Lawa is classified as an Austroasiatic language in either the Palaung-Wa or the Mon-Khmer Group.



The Loven (Boloven, Laven) are a group of about 25,000 (1981) in the Boloven Plateau area of southern Laos. The Loven are one of the more acculturated of the local groups, through frequent contact with the Lao, Chinese merchants, and European colonists in the past.


Also known as the Cau Ma, the Ma are a group located in the highlands of Lam Dong, Dong Mai, and Thuan Hai provinces in Vietnam. In the census of 1985, the Ma population was placed at 25,436 with the Cho Ro (a subgroup of the Ma) enumerated at 15,022.


Most of the Muslim Madurese are dispersed from their home island of Madura, located off the east coast of Java. Some live in the nearby archipelagoes of Sapudi and Kangean, but nearly 8 million of the total 10.9 million Madura population live elsewhere in Indonesia (this article refers to Madurese living on Madura).


Identification. The Maguindanao speak the language of the same name, Maguindanao, live mainly on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines, and are the largest ethnic group of Muslim Filipinos.


Identification. The Makassar live in the southern corner of the southwestern peninsula of Sulawesi (formerly the Celebes), Indonesia.


Malays live chiefly in peninsular Malaysia, where they are more than half of the population. Malays also live in East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak), on the coasts of Sumatra and other islands of Indonesia, extending up to the Sulu Sea of the southern Philippines.


The Manggarai (Ata Manggarai) are an ethnic group located on the western end of the island of Flores, Indonesia. In 1981 their population was estimated at 400,000.


The Maranao inhabit mainly the Lake Lanao region in the northwestern section of Mindanao, the Philippines, located between 7°30′ and 8°30′ N and 124°00′ and 125°00′ E. "Maranao" means "people of the lake." The Maranao language is an Austronesian language.


A group of about 1,500 (1981) living along the northern Vietnam and Laos border. They were formerly itinerant swidden cultivators, but now have become more settled.


Identification. The Melanau have no name to cover all Melanau-speaking people: they refer to themselves as "A-Liko X," meaning "the people of a river, a district, or a village," according to context.


Mentaweians (Mentaweier, Orang Mantawei, Poggy-Islander) inhabit the Mentawei (Mentawai) Islands (Siberut, Sipura, North Pagai, and Utara Selatan) and the islands of Nias and Enggano off the west coast of Sumatra. In 1966, Mentaweians numbered about 20,000.


Numbering around 40,000 in 1977, the Minahasans (Minahasa, Minahasser, Minhasa, Tombalu, Tombula, Toumbulu) inhabit the mountainous terrain of the extreme northeastern section of Sulawesi's northern peninsula in Indonesia. Rather than a single group, the Minahasans are a confederation of groups including the Tontemboan, Toulour, Tondano, Tombalu, Tonsea, Tonsawang, Bentenan, Ponosokan, Belang, and Bantik.


Identification. The Minangkabau are similar to their neighbors, the Malays, from whom they differ most notably in reckoning descent through females.


Located in the southern highlands of Vietnam, the Mnong (M.Nông, Mnong Gar, Phii Bree) registered 67,340 in the 1985 census of Vietnam. The scholarly literature is unclear about which groups and subgroups therein should be classified as Mnong.



The Northern Moluccas constitute the original "Moluccas" sought out for millennia by foreigners for their cloves. Nowadays they form a subdivision of the province of Maluku in the Republic of Indonesia, with approximately half a million inhabitants spread over Halmahera, the Sula and Obi Islands, Bacan, Morotai, and a number of smaller islands.


This far-flung island region between New Guinea and Timor is part of the province of Maluku in the Republic of Indonesia. In this thinly inhabited region, Protestant Christians make up more than half of the population, while the rest is about evenly split between adherents of Roman Catholicism and Islam.


In 1983 the Mon (Mun, Peguan, Talaing, Taleng) numbered about 835,000 in Myanmar (Burma) and between 70,000 and 100,000 in Thailand, with smaller numbers in Cambodia and Vietnam. A more recent estimate places their number at 1.3 million in Myanmar alone.


The Monom (Bonom) are a group of about 5,000 (1973) located in eastern Gia Lai-Cong Turn Province in Vietnam.


The Muna (Mina, Moenanezen, To Muna), numbering about 200,000 in 1977, live on Muna Island, adjacent to Buton, south of the southeastern peninsula of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Muna is classified in the West Indonesian Group of the Austronesian Language Family.


Identification. In the last few decades, the word "Muong" has received recognition as the name for this ethnic collectivity, but it is not an autonym.



The Ndaonese, who call themselves "Ndau Ndau" (meaning "men of Ndau") are the inhabitants of the islands of Ndao and Nuse off the west coast of Roti, Indonesia. In 1981, there were an estimated 3,500 Ndaonese living on Ndao, Sumba, Roti, and Nuse.


The Ngeh (Nghe) are a group of about 4,000 (1981) in the Muong Phine-Bung Sai area of southern Laos. They speak a language of the Mon-Khmer Group.



Identification. The name Ogan-Besemah" refers to an ethnolinguistic grouping of peoples living primarily in the province of South Sumatra, Indonesia.


The Okinawans (Amamijin, Loochoo Islanders, Okinawajin, Ryuku Islanders, Ryūkyūjin, Sakishimajin) are Japanese people who inhabit the Ryukyu Islands, a group of small islands 640 kilometers south of Japan. Most Okinawans live on Okinawa, the largest of the Ryukyu Islands.


The Oy (also spelled Huei or Oi) are a group of about 10,000 (1981) located on the slopes of the Boloven plateau in Attopeu Province in southern Laos. A subgroup, the The, are considered by some to be a distinct group, although they may now be totally assimilated.


The Pacoh (Khas Pakho) are a group of about 15,000 (1973) located in the highlands of Thien province in Vietnam and bordering Laos.

Pak Thai

Burr, Angel (1977). "Group Ideology, Consciousness, and Social Problems: A Study of Buddhist and Muslim Conception of Sin in Two Southern Coastal Villages." Anthropos 72:433-446.



The Palawan (Ira-an, Palawano, Palawanon, Paluanes, Palawanin) are located mainly in the interior of the island of Palawan in the southern Philippines. Palawan is the fifth-largest Philippine island and also the least-heavily populated of the larger islands.



Also known as the "Bahr" or "Pohr," the Pear number about 1,000 (1981) and live in southwest Cambodia. They are now largely assimilated into Khmer society.


The Penan consist of one large ethnic group of nomadic forest people living in Borneo's interior; they may be distinguished from other "Punan" (a general term for Bornean forest dwellers) by language and other cultural features. Most live in Sarawak, though some live in Kalimantan and Brunei.

Philippine Negritos

The Negritos of the Philippines are comprised of approximately twenty-five widely scattered ethnolinguistic groups totaling an estimated 15,000 people. They are located on several major islands in the country: Luzon, Palawan, Panay, Negros, Cebu, and Mindanao.

P'u Noi

The P'u Noi (Kha P'ai Pu Noi, Phunoi) are a group numbering about 32,000 (1981) who reside in the uplands of northern Laos. The linguistic affiliation of the P'u Noi language is unclear.


The Rengao (Reungao, Rongao, Ro-ngao) are a group of about 15,000 (1973) in the Gia Lai-Cong Turn province in the central Vietnam highlands. They are considered by some scholars to be a subgroup of the Bahnar or the Sedang.


The Rhadé (E-De, E Dê, Raday) are a group in the southern highlands of Vietnam and neighboring Cambodia. The 1985 Vietnam census places the population at 194,710, an increase from the roughly 120,000 reported in the 1960s.


Identification. The Rotinese have long taken their name from some version of their Indonesian island's name and combined this with a dialect word for "man" (Atahori Rote, Hataholi Lote).

Sagada Igorot

Identification and Location. The Sagada people are the northernmost extension of the Northern Kankanai Igorots, who occupied the former province of Lepanto to the west and south of Bontok.


The Saluan (Loinan, Loinanezen, Loindang, Madi, To Loinang), who numbered about 74,000 in 1979, inhabit eastcentral Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. Saluan is classified in the Hesperonesian Group of the Austronesian Language Family.


Identification. The term "Samal," or more generally "Sama," covers a diverse congeries of Sama-Bajau-speaking peoples whose scattered settlements are found throughout a vast maritime zone stretching from the central Philippines to the eastern coast of Borneo and from Sulawesi to Roti in eastern Indonesia.

Samal Moro

Identification. "Samal" is a covering term for Muslim Samalan speakers.


The Sangir (Sangirezen, Talaoerezen) are the indigenous inhabitants of the Sangihe (Sangir) and Taluad island chains located between southern Mindanao and northern Celebes. They speak Sangir, sometimes referred to as Sangil, Sangihé, or Sangirese, an Austronesian language.


A group of about 500 (1981) in southwest Cambodia, the Saoch are closely related to the Pear and Chong. The Saoch, who were once hunter-gatherers, are largely assimilated into Khmer society today.


Identification. The Sasak are speakers of the Sasak language and are the dominant population on the island of Lombok, Indonesia.

Sea Nomads of the Andaman

Bands of hunter-gatherers of the sea once ranged freely through the many tiny isles and reefy shoals strewn across the eastern Andaman Sea. These Sea Nomads now inhabit an oceanic fringe extending from the seas off southern Myanmar (Burma) southward along the Malay Peninsula past Thailand to Malaysia.


The Sedang (Ha[rh] ndea[ng], Xó dâng) are a group located in the highlands of Gia Lai-Cong Turn Province in Vietnam, centered approximately at 17° N by 107° E. The 1985 census of Vietnam counted 96,766 Sedang.


The Sek (Saek) are a group of about 20,000 (1981) located on both sides of the Mekong River in northeastern Thailand and central Laos. Through extensive contact, the Sek have been largely assimilated into Lao society.


ETHNONYMS: The names used by and for nomadic boat people typically refer to the people's connections with the sea. "Moken" (Mawken, Maw khen) is the name people living around the Mergui Archipelago of Myanmar (Burma) use to identify themselves.



ETHNONYMS: Sakai (Malay for "infidel slave"); Senoi or Mai in the Central Aslian language; Smaq or Mah in South Aslian; Orang in Malay with words added from Malay or other languages for "hill" (Bukit), "upriver country" (Darat, Seraq, Seroq, Ulu) or "forest" (Bri, Hutan, Rih). Local groups take the name of the watersheds where they live.



The Singaporeans are not an ethnic group, but simply citizens of the Republic of Singapore, which was established in 1959. Before that time Singapore was a part of Malaysia, one island at the southern tip of the peninsula.


A group of about 130,000 (1981), the So are located on both sides of the Mekong River in Thailand and central Laos. Through extensive contact with the Sek and the Lao they have largely been assimilated into Laotian society.


The Sork or Sok are a group of about 1,600 (1981) in Attopeu Province in southern Laos.


The Sou (Souk) are a group of about 1,000 (1962) in Attopeu Province in southern Laos, who by now may be totally assimilated into Laotian society.

South Asians in Southeast Asia

There is a fairly large Indian and Pakistani population in Southeast Asia, primarily in Myanmar (Burma), Malaysia, and Singapore. The great majority of these people were, and still are, plantation laborers, though a sizable minority are traders, and today many may be found in the urban professions of law, medicine, education, and administration.


The Stieng (Budip, X. Tiêng) are a group of about 70,000 (1981) located in Song De Province in Vietnam and bordering areas of Cambodia.



The Sulod (Buki, Bukidnon, Mondo, Mundo, Putian) are a mountain people numbering about 14,000 in 1980, who live along the banks of the Panay River on central Panay Island in the Bisayan Islands in the central Philippines. Sulod is classified in the Hesperonesian Group of the Austronesian Language Family.


The Sundanese are a group of nearly 25 million whose territory (Sunda) is western Java (Jawa Barat) as far east as the Cipamali river (though many Sundanese live elsewhere in Java). The Sundanese language is Austronesian; an interesting aspect of the language is that it is obligatory for speakers to distinguish in their speech the status of the addressee and the degree of intimacy between them.


Identification. The Tagalog language is the basis of Pilipino, the national language of the Republic of the Philippines since 1937, and has been taught from the first grade throughout the archipelago since the early 1950s.


The Tagbanuwa (Tagbanoua, Tagbanua) are one of the indigenous peoples of Palawan Island in the Philippines and, aside from the Batak, the only group on the island to have been studied extensively by anthropologists. At the time of first Spanish contact the population of Palawan and nearby islands was comprised of Batak, Tagbanuwa, Palawan, Kenoy, Moro, Kalamian, Agutayano, Kuyono, and Kagayano peoples.

Tai Lue

Taiwan Aboriginal Peoples

The indigenous people of the island of Taiwan (Formosa) are now only a small minority of the Taiwan population, which is mainly Han Chinese. Many of the aboriginal groups are now assimilated almost completely into the mainstream culture.


The Chinese who live on the island of Taiwan are of fairly recent mainland origin. The indigenous people of the island are represented by seven tribes who speak Malayo-Polynesian languages and who numbered 338,151 in 1991.


In 1971 the news story broke of the discovery of a band of cave-dwelling people called "Tasaday," who were said to be living in a secluded area of rain forest in the Philippines. The discovery team was led by Manuel Elizalde Jr., the Filipino politician who headed PANAMIN (Presidential Assistant on National Minorities), the government agency then in charge of all Philippine tribal peoples.


The Tau-Oi (Ta Hoi, Tà ôi) are a group of swidden rice farmers and fishers located in Saravane Province in Laos and in neighboring areas of Vietnam. In Vietnam, they numbered 26,004 in 1985; their entire population was estimated at 30,000 in 1981.


Identification. The Tausug ("people of the current"—tau, "people"; sug, "sea current") are the numerically dominant group in the Sulu Archipelago of the southern Philippines.


"Tay" (Tày, Tho, Thu) is a general term used in reference to the large, rural, Thai-speaking population in Vietnam, primarily in northern Vietnam. In 1985, the total number of people classified as "Tay" was 1,190,342, making them the largest ethnic population in Vietnam other than the Vietnamese themselves.



Identification. Ternatan and Tidorese are the inhabitants of the islands Ternate and Tidore in the northern Moluccas of eastern Indonesia; they have partly settled also along the coast of adjacent islands, Halmahera among others.


The label "Tetum" (Belu, Teto, Tetun) refers to the more than 300,000 speakers of the Tetum language on the island of Timor in Indonesia. The people call themselves "Tetum" or "Tetun," and are referred to as "Belu" by the neighboring Atoni.


"Tidong" (Bolongan, Camucones, Nonukan, Tarakan, Tedong, Tidoeng, Tidung, Tiran, Tirones, Tiroon, Zedong) is the name used for an Islamized population found in north-eastern Kalimantan and Sabah. In Malaysia, the population is estimated at about 10,000.



The Toala (East Toraja, Luwu, Sada, Telu Limpoe, To Ale) numbered around 30,000 in 1983. They live in the mountains of southwest Sulawesi Island, Indonesia.


The Tobelorese (Orang Tobelo, Suku Tobelo) live on the northern peninsula of Halmahera Island, Indonesia, and number about 20,000. Tobelorese is classified in the North Halmahera Group of the Papuan Language Family.


Numbering around 74,000 in 1980, the Tomini (Tiadje, Tialo, Toli-toli, Tominers) occupy the northern Sulawesi Island peninsula in Indonesia. Tomini is classified in the West Indonesian Group of the Austronesian Language Family.


The name "Toradja" refers to the indigenous people of the central highlands of Sulawesi (Celebes) in Indonesia. It means "men of the mountains," in contrast to the peoples of the lowlands.


Identification. The Sa'dan Toraja reside in the highlands of the province of South Sulawesi in Indonesia, speak the Sa'dan Toraja (Tae' Toraja) dialect, and are predominantly Christians.


Identification. The Vietnamese speak the Vietnamese language and live in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.


Visayan (Bisaya, Bisayan, Pintado) is a general term for a large segment—about a quarter—of the Philippine population. In 1962-1963 they numbered about 10,836,000, and the total may be closer to 15 million today.


Identification. The Yakan are one of the Muslim peoples of the southern Philippines.

Yao of Thailand



The Yuan (Lanatai, Lao, Youanne, Youon, Yun) are Tai speakers who inhabit primarily the Chiang Mai region of northern Thailand. They numbered 6,000,000 in Thailand in 1983, and there were 3,000 to 5,000 in Laos in 1962.


"Yumbri" is the name used for themselves by small bands of hunter-gatherers in northern Thailand and neighboring Laos. Their population was estimated at about 150 in 1938.