A new Disney Princess is out and her name is Raya. She is the first-ever Southeast Asian princess that adds to the list of Disney’s princesses. The film, Raya and the Last Dragon features the fantasy world of “Kumandra” with so many Southeast Asian representations. In this post, we’ll break down what we’ve gathered so far.
The name title itself is a Malay word that means “celebration”. It’s from an Austronesian ethnic group native to the Malay Peninsula.
Raya’s companion, Tuktuk, means a motorbike carriage in countries such as Thailand, Laos, and, Cambodia.
Raya’s headwear is a traditional woven-hat from the Philippines. But countries like Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam also have this kind of hat. They all have somewhat a similar hat structure.
Pencak Silat is a martial arts offense-defense fighting style that originates from Indonesia. The movie also features other southeast Asian martial arts.
A popular Philippine martial art that makes use of two bamboo sticks as a weapon. The sticks serve as an extension of the hands to maximize reach and power.
It is a wavy blade from Java Island throughout Southeast Asia (Indonesia). It is considered both a weapon and a spiritual object because it is said to possess magical powers.
Talon are floating houses and markets in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
This is a Thai version of boxing developed as a form of close-combat. It uses the entire body as a weapon.
Bánh it Tran
Bánh it Tran is traditional Vietnamese savory featured in Raya and The Last Dragon as Lunar Food. It’s a sweet glutinous rice cake, rolled in banana leaf with a thick circular shape. It also comes with a mung filling, then boiled. Similar delicacies can be seen in the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia.
Most houses in the film are similar to the Philippine traditional housing. However, the design aligns more with the Vietnamese “nhà sàn” and Malays “Rumah Ibu.”
These are some SEA representations that we noticed in Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments and let the whole wide world know!