southeast asia

Thailand 2

Thailand

The flag of the Kingdom of Thailand shows five horizontal stripes in the colors red, white, blue, white and red, with the central blue stripe being twice as wide as each of the other four. The design was adopted on 28 September 1917, according to the royal decree issued by Rama VI. Since 2016, that day is a national day of importance in Thailand celebrating the flag.

Papua New Guinea 3

Papua New Guinea

The flag of Papua New Guinea was adopted on 1 July 1971. In the hoist, it depicts the Southern Cross; in the fly, a raggiana bird-of-paradise is silhouetted. The design was chosen through a nationwide design competition in early 1971. The winning designer was Susan Karike Huhume, who was 15 at the time.

Red and black have long been traditional colours of many Papua New Guinean tribes. Black-white-red was the colour of the German Empire flag, which had colonised New Guinea prior to 1918. The bird-of-paradise is also found on the national coat-of-arms.

Prior to independence, the Australian administration proposed a vertical tricolour flag with blue, yellow and green bands, along with the bird of paradise and southern cross, designed by Hal Holman. It had a mainly negative reception, due to its appearance as that of a “mechanically contrived outcome”, thus the alternative proposal attributed to Susan Karike was chosen instead. The blue was said to represent the sea and islands of New Guinea, the Southern Cross was a guide for the travelling peoples, the gold represented the coastlines, mineral wealth, and unity, and the green represented the forested highlands and mainland, with the Bird of Paradise representing the unification under one nation.

The Southern Cross shows that it is a country in the Southern Hemisphere and can be seen in Papua New Guinea.

Myanmar 4

Myanmar

The current flag of Myanmar (also known as Burma) was adopted on 21 October 2010 to replace the former flag in use since 1974. The new flag was introduced along with implementing changes to the country’s name, which were laid out in the 2008 Constitution.

The design of the flag has three horizontal stripes of yellow, green and red with a five-pointed white star in the middle. The three colours of the stripes are meant to symbolise solidarity, peace and tranquility, and courage and decisiveness, respectively.

Malaysia 5

Malaysia

The flag of Malaysia is composed of a field of 14 alternating red and white stripes along the fly and a blue canton bearing a crescent and a 14-point star known as the Bintang Persekutuan (Federal Star). The 14 stripes, of equal width, represent the equal status in the federation of the 13 member states and the federal territories, while the 14 points of the star represent the unity between these entities. The crescent represents Islam, the country’s state religion; the blue canton symbolises the unity of the Malaysian people; the yellow of the star and crescent is the royal colour of the Malay rulers.

Laos 6

Laos

The flag of Laos consists of three horizontal stripes, with the middle stripe in blue being twice the height of the top and bottom red stripes. In the middle is a white disc, the diameter of the disc is ​4⁄5 the height of the blue stripe. The national flag of Laos was first adopted in 1945 under the short-lived Lao Issara government of 1945–46, then by the Pathet Lao. It is one of the two flags of a currently communist country (the other being Cuba) that does not use any communist symbolism and the only current communist country that does not use a five-pointed star in its flag as an emblem. The current flag was adopted on December 2, 1975 when it became a socialist state.

Indonesia 7

Indonesia

The flag’s colours are derived from the banner of the 13th century Majapahit Empire. However, it has been suggested that the red and white symbolism can trace its origin to the older common Austronesian mythology of the duality of Mother Earth (red) and Father Sky (white). This is why these colours appear in so many flags throughout Austronesia, from Tahiti to Madagascar. The earliest records of the red and white panji or pataka (a long flag on a curved bamboo pole) can be found in the Pararaton chronicle; according to this source, the Jayakatwang troops from Gelang-Gelang hoisted the red and white banner during their invasion of Singhasari in the early 12th century. This suggests that even before the Majapahit era, the red and white colours were already revered and used as the kingdom’s banner in the Kediri era (1042-c.1222).

Hong Kong 8

Hong Kong

The flag of Hong Kong, officially the regional flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, depicts a white stylised five-petal Hong Kong orchid tree (Bauhinia blakeana) flower in the centre of a Chinese red field. Its design was adopted on 4 April 1990 at the Third Session of the Seventh National People’s Congress. The precise use of the flag is regulated by laws passed by the 58th executive meeting of the State Council held in Beijing. The design of the flag is enshrined in Hong Kong’s Basic Law, the territory’s constitutional document, and regulations regarding the use, prohibition of use, desecration, and manufacture of the flag are stated in the Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance. The flag of Hong Kong was first officially hoisted on 1 July 1997, during the handover ceremony marking the transfer of sovereignty from Britain to China.

Cambodia 9

Cambodia

The flag used today is the same as that established in 1948, although the older flag is sometimes said to have used a red outline for Angkor Wat while the current flag uses black specifically. Since that time, five other intervening designs have been used. Almost all made use of the image of the temple of Angkor Wat in one form or another. This famous temple site, which dates from the 12th century, was built by the Mahidharapura monarchs. It has five towers, but these were not always all depicted in the stylised version used on flags. The monarchy was restored in September 1993, the 1948 flag having been readopted in June of that year.

Brunei 10

Brunei

The flag of Brunei has a centered crest of Brunei on a yellow field cut by black and white diagonal stripes (parallelograms at an angle). The yellow field represents the sultan of Brunei. The red crest consists of a crescent facing upwards, joined with a parasol, with hands on the sides. Black and white stripes run across the flag.

In Southeast Asia, yellow is traditionally the color of royalty. The crescent symbolizes Islam, the parasol symbolizes monarchy, and the hands at the side symbolize the benevolence of the government. The black and white stripes represent Brunei’s chief ministers who were once joint-regents and then – after the sultan came of age – senior advisors: the Pengiran Bendahara (First Minister, symbolised by a slightly thicker white stripe) and the Pengiran Pemancha (Second Minister, governing foreign affairs, symbolised by black), with the white stripe being roughly 12% wider than the black one.

On the crescent is the national motto in Arabic: “Always render service with God’s guidance.” Below this is a banner inscribed with Brunei Darussalam, which means ‘Brunei, the Abode of Peace.’

The flag in its present form, except for the crest, has been in use since 1906 when Brunei became a British protectorate, following the signing of an agreement between Brunei and Great Britain. Even though Brunei was only nominally independent after this, Bruneians retained certain symbols, like the flag.

The crest was superimposed in 1959 after the promulgation of the Constitution of 29 September 1959.

The design was retained when the country gained full independence on 1 January 1984 as Brunei Darussalam (Brunei, Abode of Peace).

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