REGIONALISM IS A COMPLEX and contested concept. As such, there is no straight or simple answer to what regionalism is. One thing for sure is that regionalism is closely related to region. Since a region may connote geographical contiguity ranging from a small neighborhood to a few cities right up to several states and continents, regionalism thus can exist within a state, as parts of states, among states, and between groups of states. But contiguity is not the only variable in delineating regions, which means that regionalism may well occur irrespective of spatial boundaries. It is therefore safe to say that regionalism entails an intricate set of ideas, behaviors, and allegiance in the conscious minds of individuals as to how they perceive their region, hence giving it a distinct physical and cultural feature. The same group of people could be engaged in more than 1 form of regionalism as regions overlap and change over time. This happens because of the nature of regions as entities that are socially constructed but can also be predefined. Depending on the objective and purpose of the regionalism pursued, some forms would be more elaborated and focused compare to others. Within a state, regionalism is both positively and negatively correlated with the idea of region. Pessimistically, regionalism can be 1 manifestation of ethnic nationalism. This could happen in countries where ethnic groups are identified via regions. These groups are normally the minorities and most often than not unfavorably treated or forgotten mainly because there is a lack of integration between the core and the periphery. The problem of assimilation and stark cultural differences are some factors that give rise to the pursuit of regionalist discourses to secure and preserve their beliefs and rights should they perceive the actions of the state as detrimental to their own. Those with higher aspirations and means may set political agendas for separatism and independence. Such activities no doubt challenge the legitimacy and authority of the state. States with many capabilities will try to suppress those aspirations through carrots and sticks, those with fewer capabilities might designate trouble areas as autonomous regions, and those that are incapable may see their territorial boundaries redrawn. This mostly affects large states, young independent states, politically turmoiled states, and failed states. Some known examples with varying degrees of regionalism are the Chechens in Russia, the Abkhazian and South Ossetian in Georgia, the Uyghurs and Tibetans in China, and the Acehian and previous East Timorans in Indonesia. While ethnicity plays a central role, other factors such as ideology can be a powerful tool for regionalism. Religion and communism, as separate elements or in combination with ethnicity like the predominantly ethnic-Chinese supported communist insurgency in Malaya, could push for the same kind of regionalism.