Arnout Van Demeer’s lecture was titled “In Search of the Origins of National Identity in Southeast Asia” centered around Soemarsano, and sparked a particularly chord in me given my father’s ancestry in India, with much family in Southeast Asia. As Professor Van Demeer shared, the Southeastern Asian countries are often overlooked in the discussion of Asia, with primary focus being on China, Korea, Japan, and the previously considered “Oriental” nations. Having grown up in Arizona, but living in Hong Kong and Singapore for a year, with Indian heritage, my perspective of Asia has always been slightly altered comparatively. However through multiple different classes at Colby, this disregard for Asian countries has become aware to me, through discussion of the myth of the model minority and Asian-American history. The myth of the model minority is one founded upon the notion that Asians are more likely to achieve success in “climbing the social and economic ladders” of America due to their strong family values and strong work ethic. This idea was debunked as mythical, but certainly outcasted Southeast Asians, including Vietnamese, Thai, and Cambodian communities. While they were unable to replicate the success of other Asian ethnic groups during this time period, it was not as a result of any cultural values or weaknesses, but rather geographic disparities resulted in poorer educational and work backgrounds. When Southeast Asians immigrated to the United States, they were thus unable to achieve the same success as “typical” Asian-Americans, much to the confusion and disbelief of American culture. While Van Demeer focused on a specific individual, Soemarsano, and Southeast Asian national identity, this model minority myth certainly ought to be accounted for in regards to affecting national identity, causing for outcast by Americans by a unifying among the Southeast Asian-American communities within the United States. Another key element of Van Demeer’s lecture was the Onion Theory, another topic I’ve faced in classes at Colby. By peeling back the layers of cultural identity, you are able to pinpoint the core and basis for the root one a nation’s culture. While in theory this makes sense, it is not a viable nor pragmatic way of identifying elements of cultural importance or relevance. It is simply not all-encompassing or detailed, rather focusing strictly on history rather than growth. Origins, though looking at history and foundation, requires understanding progression and transformation, for origins are not truly the origin, but the beginning of a transition.