Names, and all the ‘unsurprising’ facts about the world


Previously, I have posted a note in Facebook about names and what they ‘actually’ are. Here are some more I actually have been intending to write for a long time, but unfortunately, situations and conditions at that time didn’t grant me to write about them as soon as possible (I was facing final exam at my school, so the number of my notes remained stationary for entirely a month). Knowledge is power, but wisdom is omnipower.

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BATAK

In this planet, there is actually not only one ethnic group named Batak, but two! For the other one (other than those in Indonesia, my homeland), you can find them in Philippines, exactly in northeastern side of Palawan Island (or Islands, anybody knows?) But there is a very huge difference between Batak in Indonesia and Batak in Philippines. In Indonesia, there are more or less 6.5 million people who can trace their ancestry to Batak roots, while in Philippines, the number is approximately merely 500. There is also a place in Bulgaria named Batak, notably notorious for the massacre happening in that place which claimed as many as 5000 lives, during Ottoman occupation of the country in 1876.

BESHBARMAK

A kind of popular dish in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in which horseflesh is eaten. It is usually eaten together with noodle and dumplings. Traditionally, certain parts are only eaten by certain people. While the elders eat the heads, the youngest get the ears’ parts and the bones of the legs and shoulders.

BIBI

In Indonesia, this word means ‘aunty’, or to a lesser extent, ‘washerwoman’. In Israel, this is the nickname of the current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. So, I expect nobody would re-write bibi as ‘Aunty Netanyahu’.

CAPE MALAYS

This is the name of an ethnic group who have been inhabiting Cape Town, South Africa, for almost 4 centuries. But it seems that there is an error in naming the ethnic group, mainly because most of the ancestors did not originate from Malaysia, but more precisely, from areas surrounding Makassar, South Sulawesi. Besides, the majority of them were more of Buginese (the adjective form of Bugis), rather than Malay, ancestry. However, they do no longer speak Indonesian or Malay.

CONTEST TO KILL 100 PEOPLE USING A SWORD

Subsequently after The Fall of Nanking in December 1937, Japanese troops began en masse massacre against Chinese civilians and troops. Chinese historians even believed that as many as 350,000 Chinese civilians might have died within a month or two after the conquest of the city. One of the most shocking, and inhuman, cases was a ‘beheading competition’ between two Japanese officers, Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda. As told by several journalists, Mukai decapitated 106 Chinese, and Noda, 105. In 1946, both of them were executed by Chinese court, in front of crowds of men and women who suffered during Japanese colonial rule.

DUPING

No country has been as screwy as North Korea. The government restricts the people from getting access to Internet. There are no transmission towers. People there are even not allowed to communicate to each other with telephones, except by writing letters! Most of the people there even consider Kim Il-sung as God, and Kim Jong-il as son of God. The country receives less than 1000 foreign tourists every year, and the tourists visiting there are not allowed to take pictures as they like, unless under the observation of government agents who have been hired to guide the tourists. Magazines are not allowed as well. But, one thing for sure is, the nuclear weapon program is truly impressive, amidst the fact that 2.5 million people died in the country during the massive famine in 1990s!

EYAK

It is one of many, many, many, and many languages which are going to be, and sadly, already extinct. Based in Alaska, it has only one, and simply, the only one, user, Marie Smith Jones, and worse, she has passed away in 2008. She was also known as the last full-blooded Eyak. Now, it is used as symbol of language extinction which is taking place worldwide, with some estimate the number of languages may decrease one digit from 7000 in 2000 to merely 700 in 2100.

FICUS RELIGIOSA

Latin name for ‘sacred fig’, the tree in which Siddharta Gautama attained enlightenment and became Buddha since then. One unique aspect of the tree is it perpetually releases oxygen, day in and day out, year in and year out. Besides, the tree can be used as a traditional medicine which can heal up to 50 diseases, including asthma, diabetes, diarrhea, sexual disorders, etc.

HAMBURGER

Other than Zimbabwe, it seems ‘too’ easy to purchase hamburgers. You just need to take a few notes, wait a few minutes, take back hamburgers, come back home safely, and devour them as many as you want. Nonetheless, whenever you visit the inflation-ridden country, you need to be mentally prepared. In 2008, one hamburger was valued at 15 million Zimbabwe dollars, due to the inflation rate that has soared up to 250.000% at that time!

JIHAD

Global media needs to re-define what ‘jihad’ actually means. It is, genuinely, not defined as an ‘effort to annihilate America and Israel’, but rather as ‘effort to conquer oneself, stupidity, and evil desire’, as written in Hadits Jihad Al-Nafs. Blame Osama for all the slip-ups he had made.

KALPA

Approximately two and a half millennia before the scientists introduced the ‘Big Bang’ theory, Hindu and Buddhist cosmology have introduced the concept about the birth and death of the universe, but they instead used ‘kalpa’ as a form of time measurement to estimate how long our universe would last. There are many different kinds of kalpa, and one of them is known to be equivalent to 139,600,000 years. The longest? 311,040,000,000,000 years.

MICKEY MOUSE

Everybody (if not, 99% is tolerable) loves Mickey Mouse, especially the kids and the toddlers. Everybody must have been familiar with all the Disney characters you all may see in Disneylands worldwide. However, it is much better to mention Mickey Mouse as ‘notorious’, notably in Palestine. The al-Aqsa television, which is owned by Hamas, makes use of Mickey Mouse in a children’s show in order to teach the children to resist against United States and Israel.

SALIM

Salim is actually an Arabian surname meaning ‘safe’. It is also an Indonesian surname for families whose Mandarin surname is ‘Lin’ (for those who haven’t known why most of the Chinese need to adopt Indonesian names, here is the reason. It is the result of our ex-president Soeharto’s assimilation – and most of the time, discriminatory – policies in order to hinder any influences from Communist China at that time).

WEALTH

According to reports from Credit Suisse, Indonesia experienced the highest growth of financial assets compared to all the other countries worldwide. It was estimated that the total wealth of Indonesians increased drastically from 360 billion US$ in 2000 to 1.8 trillion US$ as of 2010, and is expected to soar until 3.3 trillion US$ as of 2015, exactly one year after our current President, SBY, steps down from his presidency.

TRANSPORTATION

Throughout 2010, in Jakarta, the number of vehicles grow by 8%. At the same time, the length of roads only grow by 0.01%. Which is why it is of no surprise for most of the Jakartans to wake up as early as 4 or 5 am in order to prepare themselves before going out for work or to schools.

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