Some names, like “rose”, acknowledge what exists. Others, like “unicorn”, create what otherwise would not exist. In between lie names that simultaneously describe and invent reality. “Southeast Asia” is one of these.
Some who study the region treat it as if it were Shakespeare's rose: a reality existing independently of its name. Others would agree with Waddell that an observer of “Southeast Asia” who uses the name incautiously risks hallucinating unicorns: projecting homogeneity, unity, and boundedness onto a part of the world that is in fact heterogeneous, disunited, and hard to delimit.