Sample Geography Essay Paper on Final GEOG-Ahmed

Final GEOG-Ahmed


Development status and Evolution: comparing and contrasting Malaysia & Burma


Burma also known as Myanmar is a country that is located in Southeast Asia with more than one hundred ethnic groups; it covers an area of 676,578 square kilometers. The current population of Burma is approximately 54,253,308 which form 0.73% of the total world population based on the latest UN estimates. Burma and Malaysia share many things for example the distribution of population and resources found in the countries but also differ in some aspects for example population size. On the other hand Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia that covers an area of about 329,758 km2 occupying the Malay Peninsula. This essay compares Burma and Malaysia based on their development status and evolution

The total population of Malaysia was 23,266,000 in 2000 and the population had grown to 28,142,000 in the year 2010 with most of its citizens inhabiting the urban areas. Malaysia borders two of the world’s superpowers which are India and China. Malaysia is seen to be strategically located because it lies near the Indian Ocean hence making water transport and trade an asset to the nation. The country lies near the Equator and between longitude 100° and 119° East and thus the country are subject to maritime influence as a result of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea. Malaysia is an urban society with many people living in towns and cities because of opportunities that characterize the towns and cities. After the world war ended and the Federation of Malaya was established in 1957, the urban population growth process was due to population migration flows from rural to urban areas in such of better living conditions. Imbalance urban population growth rate has resulted to higher growth occurring in the Western part of the country which has a direct impact on the spatial distribution, density and concentration of urban centers in Peninsular Malaysia. Burma’s strategic location and fertile lands has made it to attract many people in Asia, as individuals have migrated to the country, contributing to its cultural diversity. The largest cities in Burma are Yangon, which has a population of more than five million people and Mandalay which has a population of more than one million people from the latest statistics. The country is divided into states that reflect ethnic divisions with Burmans inhabiting seven ethnic divisions and dwelling in urban areas. Burma’s history as a unified kingdom can be traced back to the early 9th century when the Burmans moved south from the eastern Himalayas and occupied the central plains of Burma and established a dynasty that ruled for more than five centuries.

There exists a relationship between core periphery areas, urbanization patterns and the current distribution of urban areas in both countries. Malaysia has many people living in the urban centers whereas a large number of people in Burma live in the rural areas. Information on urbanization from the two nations indicates that people have been pulled from rural to urban areas because of many factors. First Malaysia is seen to be an urban country because majority of people in the country live in the cities (Masron, Yaakov, Ayob & Mokhtar, 2012). Malaysia has recorded a rapid population growth for the last few years in its urban areas; the number of people who live in rural areas is smaller than those who live in cities and towns. Malaysia is rising to an urban society as a result of urbanization which has led to high population in cities and towns. One of the main features of migration in Malysia is that it is dominated by men and was motivated by push factor from the villages such as lack of employment and poverty which has caused them to seek better jobs in big towns and cities. Transformation in the economic sectors from agriculture and mining to industries and services is a key factor of population concentration in urban areas and its surrounding areas in Malaysia. Social amenities that can be easily accessed in urban areas is one of the factors that has contributed to people moving to cities and towns. The opening of more tin mines encouraged large-scale entry of mine workers from China which further boost the business activities within the mining area thus boosting the economy of the country. Concentration of economic activities in towns and cities has an effect on the pattern of urbanization in Malaysia because this led to migration to the central region. Urbanization in Malaysia occurs at a slower rate and only certain large cities became the focus for population migration.

Similarly in Burma, there is a relationship between core periphery areas, urbanization patterns and the current distribution of people and urban areas. Urbanization in the country has lagged behind as compared to its neighbors as a result of economic isolation and conflicts that have characterized the country since the overthrowing of the democratic government. Even though the country is large than others in the region, large than Malaysia, it had less a fifth of urban areas than that of Malaysia. The country’s population remains largely rural but in the last few years urban population has increased due to a number of strategies that have been put forth by the government to spur economic development. The expanding commercial and service sectors have attracted rural population to move to the towns and cities in Burma (Khaing, 2015).  People in the country have started migrating to urban areas because they can easily access health services, opportunities for vocational and educational schools, and enjoyable recreational services. Urbanization in Burma is not only the social phenomena that record the higher percent of population living in the urban areas and expansion of build environment, it also implies the physical transformation of landscapes and changes in the use of natural resources.

There also exists a relationship between the location of internal periphery areas and the location of natural resources in both Malaysia and Burma.  The location of resources in Malaysia is as a result of good climate that characterizes the region and historical activities that has led to the formation of oil. Natural resources which are found in Malaysia including oil and gas is as a result of the strategic position of the country and its internal features. Burma is rich in many types of natural resources including timber, oil and gas, minerals and gemstones, and hydropower potential. Resources that are found in the country, for example oil and gas contribute greatly to the country’s economy, with revenues from natural gas providing the largest source of income. Burma is estimated to rank 41st in the world for proven reserves of natural gas and 78th for proven reserves of crude oil (Lynn, & Oye, 2014).

The types of government in both Burma and Malaysia have had an impact on the policies that have been made are being implemented in both countries. The current policies that are being drafted in Malaysia clearly indicate that the ideologies of the ruling are skewed in favor of the Muslims. Over the past few decades, the government of Malaysia has made and promoted policies that favor Islam, although Sharia law is enforced at a state level. On the other hand the policies in Burma have promoted totalitarianism rather than democracy meaning that the government uses repressive strategies to govern the people. The country has been ruled by people who do not embrace democracy for the last few years and thus their policies are always in violation of the basic rights of people.

The future trend of Malaysia looks great because of the stability of the present regime and the strategies that the government has put in places so as to compete favorably with others. The good relations that Malaysia has developed with her neighbors and other countries across the world are a clear indication that the country is destined for great developments in future. The country has also taken the right path in embracing democracy which is likely to spur development in the near future. On other hand the future of Burma is more unpredictable due to the conflicts that are being experienced in the country. The country has been characterized by conflicts in the last few decades and this spells doom for the country in the years to come if the conflicts are not resolved amicably. The country has not gotten a stable government which is able to bring and spur economic development thus making it to plunge into poverty.   The country has natural resources and opportunities which are likely to spur economic development if a stable government comes into place.


Burma and Malysia share many things in common and also differ in some aspects like their form of governance. China and Burma are both located in the south Eastern part of Asia and vary in both geographic features and population size. The future of Malaysia looks great because of the current policies that are being implemented and the cordial relationships that has been developed with other countries. The future of Burma is unpredictable as result of the conflicts that have characterized the country since the government was overthrown by the army many decades ago.


Diversity and national unity: Comparing and contrasting China and Burma


China is the fifth world most populated country with a population of approximately 1,338,612,968 people (Howden & Yang, 2015). China is one of the leading manufactures of the products that are supplied in the whole world from raw materials such as steel and iron. On the other hand is located in the southeastern part of the Asian continent and has more than one hundred ethnic groups. The country has been characterized with conflicts since the overthrowing of its democratic government. The country is located in a strategic place because it borders the Indian Ocean thus making water transport to be easily available. China and Burma share many characteristics because of their location and their related cultures but also differ in some aspects, for instance, population size and growth, type of government, economic activities among others. This essay compares and contrasts Burma and China by looking at aspects which are shared and those that they do not share.

China and Burma are countries which have all embraced the ideas of socialism but they have cultures which are diverse and unrelated. The two countries have different ethnic groups, Burma has many minor ethnic groups whereas china has large and few ethnic groups like the Han. The Han makes up ninety percent of the general population; most of the groups of China are difficult to integrate together because of their religious and linguistic differences. They live in the northern region of China, where the conditions are good for living and thus have experienced fast development and growth, the native Uyghur dominate the southern part, where most of them live on agriculture and husbandry. The smallest group is the Hezhen, living in the far northeast, with fewer than two thousand people, the fifty five ethnic minorities account for less than ten percent of China’s population, and most of them inhabit in rural frontier regions. The inhabitants of Xinjiang consist of forty seven of China’s ethnic groups, but the Uyghur and the Han are the two groups which have many people and are familiar to people.  As it pertains to language, there are many dialects in China which are all descendants of the language of the empire’s armies thus related with one another.  Buddhism is the main religion that is common in china; the teachings of Buddhism took firm root, quickly permeating Tibetan society many centuries ago. Buddhism spread in Tibet many centuries ago; the unique feature in the Buddhism of Tibet is the importance of the lama, with whose assists in reaching spiritual enlightenment. But nearly half a century of conflict has left Burma with a legacy of deep-rooted problems and weakened its ability to cope with a growing host of new ones: economic and social collapse; hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people. The country does not have a stable government since it was overthrown few decades ago and conflicts took centre stage from the early 1960s. The country is ethnically diverse; today ethnic minority groups are estimated to make up one third of Burma’s population of forty five million and to inhabit half of the country. Over one hundred different dialects and languages have been identified in the country, and various unique ethnic cultures have survived late into the 20th century. The ethnic minorities of the country make up an estimated forty percent of the people who live in the country, and ethnic states occupy some fifty seven percent of the country’s land. Burma is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the region, and ethnicity is a complex issue where ethnic groups have long believed that authorities manipulate ethnic differences for political gains.

China is divided into various regions whereby the east of china consists of lowlands whereas the western part has sunken basins and rolling plateaus. Similarly, Burma is also shaped by great physical features whereby the central part of the country, for instance, Chindwin Valley, Sittaung Valley and small mountains referred to as Zeebyu Taungdan. Corruption and conflicts in Burma has made it to be classified among the least developed countries in the world.

China and Burma have diverse religions, the main religion in Buddhism whereas china has a number of religions, for example Taoism, Buddhism, Islamism, Protestantism and Catholicism. The people of China are not confined to one religion unlike in Burma where almost everybody is a Buddhists. In post-Mao era, China encouraged and even sponsored the revival of religion, especially in Tibet area and thus leading to diversity of religion. The extent to which this state role helped to undermine secular forces and strengthen religious influences is a matter of much debate recently in China. State sponsorship of religious revival occurred mainly in sensitive ethnic regions. Monasteries and mosques, enthusiastically destroyed by members of formerly oppressed classes during the Cultural Revolution, were restored with public funding in the 1980s. Former religious elites were restituted and compensated, and thousands of them received positions in local people’s congresses, state agencies, and religious associations.

The two countries experience conflicts and tensions amongst various ethnic groups. Burma has been characterized with ethnic conflicts for a long period of time. Lack of stability in the country has contributed to ethnic tensions and led to conflicts between people from different ethnic groups. The country has many ethnic groups who have unique attributes and thus they always conflict because of differences associated with tribalism. Ethnic grievances have centered on these abuses; the lack of self-governance, discrimination and marginalization; religion; and lack of education to some groups. Conflicts have affected economic development in the ethnic border areas and thus have affected the developing of the country hence increasing the levels of poverty. Ethnic groups in China also have conflicts from time to time mainly because of ideological differences and a feeling that the government favors certain groups in the distribution of resources. The Tibet and the Xinjiang conflict from time to time, the main cause is the opposition by the Tibetans of the Han presence in areas in which Tibetans feel that they are theirs. The influx of Han migrants from other parts of the country complicates ethnic relationships in Xinjiang because other groups like Tibetans contest Han presence in their regions (Wu & Song, 2013). Increased ethnic violence in China in the past few years has revealed growing social tensions in a country beset by developmental strains and epic economic change. Ethnic tensions in today’s China, which has 55 official minority groups, mainly concern the historical outer peripheries, Tibet and Xinjiang. These two regions were incorporated, respectively, by the two nomadic dynasties in Chinese history, the Mongols and the Manchus. Xinjiang became a regular province in many decades ago under Manchu rule, while much of Tibet did not thus leading to conflicts between the groups.

The governments in the two countries have taken different steps to ease the tensions and conflicts that have characterized different regions of the country for the past few years. In China the government has tried to employ both dialogue and hard repressions to end the conflicts that threaten the stability of the country. The Barman government has used various methods to end ethnic conflicts and hatred amongst various ethnic groups. First, the country has experienced politically for many years and democracy is yet to mature is Burma. Realization of democracy has been a difficult process in the country since the democratic government was overthrown in the early 1960s. The current government employs repressive strategies rather than dialogue in trying to easy tension and ends the ethnic conflicts that are widespread in the nation.

The current strategies that are being used in China to end the conflicts is a clear indication that the tensions will be ended in the near future. The conflicts and tensions have reduced unlike in the recent past whereby they were so rampant and affected progress in the country. The conflicts in China will be abated because the strategies that they government has used promote national unity and has made the two groups to feel that they need each other for survival. On the other hand the repressive strategies being used in Burma to end tensions and ethnic conflicts may not end the conflicts. The country has more than one hundred ethnic groups and bring them all together is a hard task which the government has tried in vain in the last few years. Although the conflicts have been minimized unlike in the recent past, a lot still needs to been done to totally end the tensions and conflicts.


Burma and China share many things in common but also differ in some aspects which make them unique. The countries differ in many things, for instance, ethnicties, culture, and religion and population size. Both countries are characterized by conflicts between various ethnic groups but the one in Burma is more widespread as compared to China. The strategies that are being used by the two countries to end tensions and conflicts have positively impacted on the countries stability. The future of China looks great because the conflicts are reducing with time but that one of Burma is more unpredictable because of the many ethnic groups and the unstable government that governs the country.


Howden, D., & Yang, Z. (2015). Why Did China’s Population Grow so Quickly?. Independent Review, 20(2), 227-248.

Khaing, T. T. (2015). Urbanization: The Structures of Sustainable Urban Landscape of Myanmar.

Masron, T., Yaakov, U., Ayob, N. M., & Mokhtar, A. S. (2012). Population and spatial distribution of urbanization in Peninsular Malaysia 1957-2000.Geografia: Malaysian Journal of Society and Space8(2), 20-29.

Lynn, T. A., & Oye, M. (2014). Natural Resources and Subnational Governments in Myanmar: Key considerations for wealth sharing.

Wu, X., & Song, X. (2013). Ethnicity, Migration, and Social Stratification in China: Evidence from Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (No. 13-810). PSC Research Report.