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Books: Understanding Southeast Asia's sea nomads

Misjudged group has played a major role in regional economic development

A Moken fisherman returns with a sea turtle. (Courtesy of E. Bouvet,1992)

SINGAPORE -- Southeast Asia's marathon trek toward economic development has seen those who refuse to conform to the cutthroat rhythms of globalization slipping through the cracks of modernity.

Among them, the sea-dwelling peoples who have inhabited the coastlines, islets and seas of insular Southeast Asia -- an archipelago stretching for about 4,000 km from southern Thailand to the island of New Guinea -- for millennia are arguably the most romantic and defiant.

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