Pictures: can you exactly see where the man is?

invisible man 1

invisible man 2

invisible man 3

 

 

invisible man 4

 

 

invisible man 5

 

 

 

Hint: Google ‘Liu Bolin’.

 

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Doomsday, a highly lucrative industry

 

Last year, I once made a ‘predilection’ that Supreme Commander Obama had conspired with the world’s top 1% to construct gigantic starships, crucifixing the already deteriorating debt-to-GDP ratio worth hundred trillion dollars, and triggering a global cataclysm in economic sector. Meanwhile, Roland Emmerich predicted that Los Angeles would end up ‘pieces of cake’, that the Earth’s core would devour Las Vegas (more like a parable of morality), that Indonesia will ‘remain sweet memories’, and Africa ‘will be our new cape of hope’. Then, more lousily, Supreme Master Ching Hai, the identity-crisis-laden zoomorphic activist (she once wrote, and even pictured by her own, an illustration book containing species of animals with her face in these bodies) who colors her hair blonde to look more like a Nordic alien than a motherly goddess, forewarns the melting ice poles by the year of 2012. Then there were a plethora (but still an iota compared to global blogging community) bloggers, of anonymous existence, who had preconceived the notion of ‘Dajjal’, which would rebuild the glory of Solomon’s dream, and rule the whole world. Then these Christian extremists who dreamt of a Jesus-ruled China (as many as 1000 of them had been captured).

This is, for sure, a good start to write pulp-fiction scripts! They, just like Emmerich, had successfully ‘provoked’ the entire world into an abyss of fear. Or maybe we need a special talent show to filter those Emmerichs.

 

 

Believe it or not, ‘doomsday’, rather than a neologism of ultimate destruction of the mankind, has now turned out to be, paradoxically speaking, a very profitable industry. Even in times of recession, doomsday industry (somehow this should be classified a new economic field in our GDP composition) reaches its climax. How many writers, having inked over dozens of 2012-apocalypse books (mostly based on what-I-hear-not-what-I-experience observation), strike it rich? How many readers have they succeeded to motivate to dread? I can bet, there is, and always is, an abundance of such Baedeker in my hometown’s bookstores (they even top the ‘best-selling’ list). Local authors – pardon me, many of them are Muslim extremists – frequently compile information that they ‘read and know’, not ‘experience and feel’, into books, those of which you could find striking verisimilitude when you open the page of others. Then there are ‘professors’, mainly from United States, who predict the age of Satanism will come and ‘make the whole world a stygian pig den’. They opinionate, as in my viewpoint, more like right-wing Christian fundamentalists than as ‘pure analysts’.

Then the religious groups make this point to provoke new followers. Several fundamentalist Christian organizations, as far as I heard, were planning to convert Xi Jinping into a devout, Vatican-abiding Catholic (what??). No, that’s not the supposed news. They are planning to ‘instill revolutionary spirits’, to forewarn that 2012 has come, and that the messiah will return to the world in the judgment day to ‘eliminate sinful people’, to ask followers for full repentance, to end the rule of what they call ‘atheistic government’, and install Christianity as the sole constitution, and Holy Spirit as the ‘true leader’ of the new China those Jesuit predecessors had envisioned a few centuries prior (unless I’m mistaken, there were plans to proselytize 200 million mandarins during the Qing dynasty rule).

 

 

My analysis was like this: is this another substitute for multi-level marketing (MLM)? You create a ‘product’, convince subordinates that this ‘product’ will change your life for the better, and ask the subordinates to attract more others, until the lowest levels. Well, sometimes, it’s not about the ‘belief’ they are sharing about; some people are born, instead, to make everything ‘pure business’. Even in the context of religion itself. Perhaps the media did not cover their ‘business’ activities, and focused more on their irregularities, but what made me scratch my head until this second was this: how many millions of dollars have they garnered in disseminating the ‘2012 apocalypse’ by selling books, brochures and DVDs, organizing underground ‘seminars’, preaching in front of the innocent Christians, and organizing protests? Leave these arduous tasks to the tax authorities.

Then there is this, the grandiose, personality-crisis-laden self-claiming Supreme Master Ching Hai. In the past, in my hometown, Medan, you could easily find monstrous banners and Brobdingnagian advertising boards, ‘proudly’ illustrating her Nordic-alien-like posture, filled with messages warning that the end of the world would have come in 2012, unless ‘everybody converts to veganism’. That by 2012, unless everybody stops consuming meaty creatures, the ice poles might have entirely melted, creating a series of unprecendented destruction on the fate of mankind. Well, you see, by the end of this year as well, more than 100 million tons of meat had been entangled in the world’s all-connected economic activities. I found myself so hilarious, instead of hardly believable, that continuous consumption of meat, according to this woman with an iota of scientific knowledge comparable to the size of an ant’s brain, might have generated 75-meter tsunamis and 12-Richter-scale earthquakes. That’s worth making a fantasy novel. So, as I was so dead curious of what on earth and for whose God’s sake Supreme Master Ching Hai had been doing so far, I decided to search more information in Google. The outcome was, well, surprisingly ‘normal’, like many other new-religion founders had done: she’s an ‘entrepreneur’! She set up numerous companies in United States which were engaged in vegetarian food products, and see, paradoxically speaking, expensive clothing lines and jewelry. Whereas, she ‘poises’ herself as so environmentally committed that she even illustrates herself as dozens of animals in two self-published books. Few here realize she has been primarily targeted by US authorities in suspicion of the environmental damage she had inflicted in Florida (she built a large mansion above a national park south of Miami). She was even, well, not trying to exonerate, a ‘frenetic’, avid fan of Bill Clinton (she once ‘forced’ her followers to provide political donation during Clinton’s presidential campaigns in 1997). As it turns out, ‘doomsday’ marks an epitome in her core businesses.

 

 

NB: She once prompted officials in several countries to declare a ‘Supreme Master Ching Hai Day’ in their homelands. Way so useful, only if the doomsday had really taken place.

Rather than motivate people to ultimate fear, some consider celebrating the doomsday in tones of exhilaration. Mexican government takes this momentous opportunity by actively offering tour packages to Mayan holy sites. Here, foreigners are given chances to live up to the moments of apocalypse, right in the hipocentrum of it. All the pyramid-shaped temples were in a sudden bathed in oceans of men, mostly ‘eager-to-die’ tourists. As a consequence, tourism industry grew significantly, in which an additional number of 2 million foreigners visited this country as per 2012 (surpassing the 22-million goal this year). Simply put, the Mexican government had to thank the Mayans for having invented the calendar, but most importantly, the mass media which had erroneously misinterpreted the mathematical fallacies in the Mayan calendar system as ‘the day where Earth’s crusts crack open’.

 

 

Lastly, one chic eatery in Hong Kong, Aqua, offered ‘2000-HK-dollar dinner meal packages’. As per 21 December 2012, the place had been nearly fully booked, particularly by the opulent young and the expatriates. It might be a good idea that you consume, pieces by pieces, gold-flake ice cream (if you have enough wonga) while watching the skyscrapers in Hong Kong ruin to pieces.

In addition, before 2012 totally eclipses (though 21-12-2012 has passed), let me suggest several additional ideas to ‘celebrate’ the apocalypse, either as your birthday bash, or matrimonial ceremony, or even your ‘death-defying’ festivities (only if you dare to do so)!

  1. Tour packages to Yellowstone National Park (and directly into the top of the volcanoes)
  2. Jackass-ing yourself into the Hole of Fire in Turkmenistan
  3. Listening nonstop to the permanent echolocation of Hell in a mining gallery in Siberia, Russia (and jump miles deep within)
  4. Book a flight round the Bermuda Triangle (and disappear forever)
  5. Convert your citizenship into South African (because Cape of Good Hope is designated ‘a new settlement of hope’ for the survivors now on board the giant arks made in China – apologies, having watched ‘2012’ too often)

In conclusion, unless the ‘real doomsday’ occurs, such ‘mock doomsdays’ are vital for your material well-being, or if anything, your ultimately promising money-guaranteed investment to time immemorial.

 

How Facebook is unofficially converted into a gigantic charity body

 

Last Thursday, my English tuition teacher, Miss Erica, took on her Blackberry, showing me a commiserating picture of a little Chinese girl, with Cyclopian, larger-than-herself abdomen. Initially, I felt sympathetic to this girl, so heart-wrenching until I found a message, as delicately typed below and beside the four pictures: Facebook will give $1 for each share. To this girl’s family…so plz share this picture and help this girl.

One question aroused my mind: hey, Facebook has just recently had the largest social-networking, most scam-and-hoax-contaminated website in the world, with capitalization amounting to inordinately 10 billion US$ or so, listed in NYSE. Does Facebook so kindly offer some of the funds they have raised in the stock exchange (a more official cognomen for casino, truthfully speaking) in full trust of the tithing advantages that may believably increase your affluence and opulence tenfold, to outcompete Google?

Back to the case of that big-bellied Chinese girl. In few minutes, I had discovered some loopholes over the information explained by that picture. It did not inform about the girl’s identity. It did not notify us about her whereabouts. And, lastly, it did not report the time occurring while these pictures were being taken. What on earth is this? We didn’t know where this girl came from. She might simply be a Mongoloid girl, with leeways of her origin varying from either Mongolia to North or South Korea, or Japan, indeed (though the last country has the lowest probability rate). You might also do not know whether the girl has actually recovered or not. The date is never let on, and even the slightest bit of her identity was not revealed in the picture. We only recognized her as ‘the one with big bellies’, or ‘the pitiful Chinese girl with stomach seemingly ready to explode’ and we didn’t know her real name, and that’s the main problem!

After 5 minutes, I immediately summed up my conclusion: this is, has been, and will always be a scam that manipulates your commiseration. I attempted to identify who on earth this girl is, who has been continually making me curious. I used the ‘facebook charity scam’ as the main keyword on Google to track down the information, but it turned out null and void, as most of the search results were instead about ‘baby-with-cancer scams’, or ‘charity scams by masquerading, by incognito, as notable charity organizations asking Facebook users to help donating and promoting programs’. Only after I re-wrote  ‘facebook will donate 1 dollar for every share’ – and exactly one week after – I managed to get further info about this girl at the hoax-leaking website named Hoax-Slayer.

 

 

After further examination, the first thing I was able to obtain was the girl’s real name: Hu Yunxing. Another thing disclosed might have to be her hometown: Shanxi Province, China. And, lastly, the moment the photos were all taken: November 2010, and she has, as told in a news report by state-owned and Communist-monitored China Daily, fully recovered from what the physicians perceived to be Budd-Chiari syndrome, a Hepatic vein disorder that shuns blood from circulating beyond the liver which causes an abnormal swelling over her stomach, largely thanks to the donation by myriad Chinese citizens who shared the sympathy for this little girl. She was fully discharged of any intensive medical care commencing effectively on February 2011, after having her belly circumference diminished drastically from originally 108 to 40 cm (see the picture above).

Facebook users, perhaps the money promised to be ‘donated’ has gone somewhere to any unknown start-up business by these Machiavellians. Who knows?

 

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For further news reference about this girl, do please visit: http://www.hoax-slayer.com/huge-stomach-child-hoax.shtml

For further scam and hoax crackdowns, please refer yourself to: http://www.hoax-slayer.com/

The century of the emergers

Maps of the emerging markets (colored in green), as of 2005.

 

Believe it or not, the world is currently turning upside-down right now. This has been obviously apperceived, to say the least, in terms of geopolitical and economic equilibrium. It is interpretable in many senses; some say that the world’s vehemence has again moved to the East, which many centuries prior, used to dominate global economy, before European colonialism became sporadically widespread and tense by the onset of 16th century. All of a sudden, these major powers were all of a sudden seduced in the arms of Morpheus, having themselves weakened by the rapid civilizational and technological progresses attained by Western societies. After hostile rivalries between European superpowers, it was British empire who in the end became the largest colonists in human history,  but their omnipotence only extended until the end of 19th century, when United States unexpectedly toppled down its position after decades of rapid industrialization as a by-product of the Civil War. Even in both World Wars, no matter how destructive they had been to humankind, it was the ‘big brother’ who in the long run managed to gain triumph, despite the fact they had to compensate it with hundred thousands of lives.

Cold War was also a spine-chilling period, where there was intense competition between United States and Soviet Union, not only in terms of nuclear weapons, ideologies they both exported to the whole world, and political intrigues, but it also triggered massive economic competition between these two superpowers, to gain sympathy among their allies. Near the omega point of the decades-long war, we had barely seen these countries did really emerge in the global stage, but the economists had far long projected that this might be a self-fulfilling prophecy: that, it is instead those countries, which had been severely affected by the aftermath of the Cold War, but will slowly-and-surely adopt democracy, that will dominate the global economy in the upcoming century.

Yes, it is. As of today, the reality is invisibly reverberating stronger than ever. United States might still play a pivotal role in global policing, perhaps until the next century, but the world has become increasingly polarized. The epicentrum is no longer in America; history, all in a sudden, again repeats itself. It is instead being divided, and is distancing itself in Asia, Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Pacific, and Latin America. What’s more, globalization, which itself is a Western ideal, has unified all these regions economically.

No doubt, someday in the 21st century, we will perceive not only 1 superpower; there will be a plethora of superpowers emerging anywhere in the world, those which also used to be the similar major powers many centuries far before the Europeans came and set the thames on fire.

Welcome to the century of the emergers.

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BRICS, AND ITS OWN OBSTACLES

 

 

Let the ‘emerging market’ term be explained, firstly beforehand.

In the past, in terms of economic prosperity, the globe used to be divided mainly into three categories: First World (advanced, highly industrialized nations), Second World (newly industrialized countries or NICs, which haven’t fully achieved all the prerequisites of a standard, developed nation), and Third World (developing, less-, and least-developed countries). But this form of measurement began to experience minor changes after the introduction of newly-minted ‘emerging market’, which was originally named under the epithet of ‘less economically developed countries (LEDCs) in the beginning of 1980s. This term refers to developing countries which are undergoing transitionary phase into the next stage of NICs. Because of their striking differences with other developing countries, particularly in terms of macro-economic growth, some economists are currently suggesting that this term be given its own separate degree, independent of the three stages previously mentioned above.

The ‘emerging market’ trend itself actually kickstarted after the coinage of ‘BRIC’ term by Goldman Sachs economist, Jim O’Neill, in 2001, to identify 4 potential superpowers, largely Brazil, Russia, India, and China. There were multiple reasons why he chose to opt for these countries: all of these countries are experiencing rapid economic growth, and currently relish a demographic boom as a result of their tremendous population. Prove it: China’s population currently accounts for almost one-fifth of the world’s, with figures amounting to 1.35 billion, while India is placed in the second rank, with close to 1.15 billion residents. Brazil, as a result of population boom in which it was virtually commonplace to perceive a family consisted of 6 to 7 children, now accommodates 200 million people. And Russia has 150 million citizens, almost four-fifth of whom are situated in the European side. And add one more country which has recently conjoined the parvenu club: South Africa, which houses almost 50 million inhabitants. This might sound like a piece of good news, but it is not entirely a sort. Many obstacles are actually facing these countries away, which they have to tidy up in order to sustain the status, otherwise they may lose the chance to save their own faces.

 

Shanghai is currently China’s largest city, inhabited by more than 25 million people, and has the highest GDP per capita compared to that of all the other cities in the country, which surpasses 10,000 US$ this year.

 

China may enjoy its vibrant prosperity today, but it won’t be too long, and even might sound improbable, to catch up with the United States, unless they begin to make some en masse changes, ranging from reforming one-child policy (experts have forewarned that unless the government ends this repressive rule, at least as many as one-fifth of Chinese people might have aged beyond 60 by the time of 2050, which may increase social burden), decreasing a widening social gap (the urban elites are getting richer, while many of the rural peasants remain impoverished, as seen from increasing number of social protests and riots, which have increased to a staggeringly high 70,000 as of this year), liberalizing more of its economic sectors (many of the vital and strategic sectors are still controlled largely by state-owned corporations, which may hundred billion dollars in assets), improving its environmental quality (China should invest more in clean, green technologies than in building coal power plants), emphasizing more on domestic consumption and trading with other emerging markets (the country so far exports more products to United States and Europe than to their own co-equal counterparts), and most importantly, but also the most challenging one, introducing a more democratic, and more transparent, political system. This is just a matter of time how long Communist Party would last in China. People’s voices are actually getting louder, no matter how harsh they are suppressed.

 

Mumbai has been, since British colonialism, the economic epicentrum of India.

 

India’s case is different from the former’s. It boasts the largest democracy in the world, but its bureaucracy is even much more obnoxious than that in China. In terms of foreign direct investment, India had only so far succeeded to persuade foreign businesses to invest 40 billion US$ in the country in 2011, at the same time more than 100 billion US$ of FDI had flowed in the rest of BRIC members (except South Africa), respectively. The red tape is painstakingly sluggish, as it needs the approval of not only by local authorities, but also those in charge of the state, the nation, and most importantly, majority of the people. Corruption rate prevails exceedingly astronomical, which inspired a series of nation-wide hunger-strike protests by anti-corruption apparatchik, Anna Hazare. Furthermore, India is also posed to another serious challenge: caste-based societies. Indians, especially of those lower castes, are often subject to discrimination and depredation by those of upper castes. Sectarian violence, especially Hindu-Muslim conflicts, are overwhelmingly high. Many of the territories, particularly in rural areas, end up as battlefields which witness bloody insurgencies between Naxalite rebels (Marxism-inspired combatants who are fighting against inequalities and injustices) and security forces. The vulnerability to national disintegration is quite high here, as some provinces accommodate certain movements which aspire to establish independent states throughout the country.

 

Sao Paolo is Brazil’s largest city, with its metropolitan areas inhabited by more than 20 million people.

 

Brazil has been licking its own lips from fluorishing economic growth in the last decade. It is endowed with abundant natural resources, the bulk of which is based from Amazonian rainforests, and recent exploration efforts have uncovered more than 10 billion barrels of oil off the eastern coasts of the country. It also relishes a very stable population growth, with an average family nowadays, either rich, middle-class, or poor, having in average 1 to 3 children. Nevertheless, there is a very huge, behemoth cost they have to compensate in expense of its own rapid, cash-rich growth: environmental destruction that is currently taking place in the country. It is estimated that as many as 60 million hectares of tropical forests had been cut off to pave way for brobdingnagian corn, soybean, and sugarcane plantations which supply billions of litres of ethanol oil – another alternative in case of fuel shortage – every year. At the same time this article is being written, as many as 70 hydroelectric dams are being planned for construction throughout the entire rivers in Amazon, a numismatic figure beyond measure which can flood up large swaths of the remainding jungles. Excluding large infrastructure and mining projects proposed by the country’s largest conglomerates, the possible side effects of these works must be vividly examined by the government, and remains a major responsibility for Brazil’s current president, Dilma Rousseff. Moreover, there is a high social disparity between the less developed Northern territories, and the largely-urbanized Southern territories, in which more than half of Brazil’s GDP is based (particularly in the metropolitan areas of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, which are almost entirely covered up in concrete forests).

 

As a result of oil boom, Moscow once underwent through massive property boom (before it doomed because of GDP’s downfall in 2009), as well, with numbers of skyscrapers drastically on the rise.

 

Of all the BRICS countries surveyed, Russia remains the most serious focus, and also the one largely questionable by many economists whether this country is actually appropriately titled as ‘emerging market’ , or everything else is just coincidences. After the downfall of Soviet Union in 1991, Russia faced a period of economic malaise and stagnation which would last almost a decade long, until Vladimir Putin was sworn in as president of Russia. Despite his cold-blooded, steel-hearted methods in handling the nation many Western observers regarded as ‘undemocratic’ and ‘unjust’, Russia in the long run managed to sustain very high economic growth, witnessed a massive surge in numbers of middle-class, cash-rich societies, and gained more prestige in international affairs. But the country does also have its own time-ticking bombs which may lead itself to self-organized criticality, a point of no return: severe corruption, acute oligarchy in which most of the economic sectors are controlled by a mere handful of politically and economically powerful, pro-Kremlin families, dirty collaboration between police, bureaucrats, politicians, and organized-crime syndicates, and heart-breaking bureaucracy, all of which cause mass ‘brain drain’, or an outflow of intellectuals and educated scholars, to other more advanced countries. Russia’s economy has also not been fully diversified, as oil & gas sector remains the utmost priority in terms of revenues (as a matter of fact, Russia has outpaced Saudi Arabia in oil production, which hit a record-high 10 million barrels a day). This was the main reason behind the steep contraction of Russia’s economy when crude oil prices freefell from 147 to less than 50 US$ a hogshead. In order to sustain its ‘emerging country’ status, there is nothing more urgent than reforming its police and bureaucracy, minimizing corruption rates, reducing the leverage held by the oligarchists, diversifying its energy-based economy, and most importantly, introducing a more democratic, transparent environment. The government also promises that an additional 1 trillion US$ will be invested in infrastructure until 2020, but what makes the public concerned is its vulnerability to corruption and misappropriation. This might be a rigorous task, but if the similar cycle is sustained, in the long term, it is Russia itself which must bear a painful shame in global stage, because of its failures to handle its own heels of Achilles.

 

Gauteng metropolitan area, inhabited by 10 million South Africans, 4 million of which are situated in Johannesburg, currently produces as much as thirty percent of South Africa’s, and 10% of the continent’s total GDP.

 

South Africa also needs to be taken in full consideration. It is true that situation has been overall much better, especially in post-Apartheid era. Government has so far built 3 million homes to provide housing for black South Africans, while the number of middle-class black families is on the rise. But, still, there are myriad obstacles which remain unsolved in so far, ranging from high unemployment (the actual figure may be 25% for blacks), a prevalently high social inequality with little progress even after Apartheid has ended (it is estimated that white South Africans, although they only account for 10% of the population, do still have 80% control in the country’s overall GDP), and high ratio of people living with HIV/AIDS, which claims one in nine individuals in average. Although AIDS-related deaths have gradually decreased by slightly 10% after the massive antiretroviral (ARV) campaigns, this disease continues to be the dominant force behind the large economic losses suffered by the country after en masse brain drain (this is very ecumenical among white South Africans, in which between 1 and 1.6 million well-educated South Africans are known to have emigrated overseas since 1994), which is forecast to be close to 50 billion US$ every year, and the similar trend will go on for decades to come. It also faces a mass exodus of economic refugees from many neighboring countries, especially Zimbabwe, whose population is expected to surpass 5 million. This helped sparkling a series of anti-immigrant riots in major cities in 2008, which led to massive internal displacement of more than 60,000 immigrants. Security prevails vulnerable to murders, robberies, and rape. For the third case, more than 500,000 South African women are subject to rape every year. The country also suffers more than 100,000 homicides every year, among the highest per capita in the world.

In a nutshell, despite all the hindrances being faced by these countries, they still have tremendous potential to dominate global economy in the 21st century, alongside with other emerging-market countries. These problems might not be solved overnight, because of the long-term adaptability they have been to societies for many decades, but governments, in order to make all the economists’ streamline projections pass with flying colors, must co-operate together with societies to explore and exploit as many possible ideas as they can afford. More transparency, and open democracy, might be a better alternative.

On the next section, more sexy acronyms other than BRICS, and more about BRICS itself, will be fully discussed.

 

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Longer – and stranger – than names

A few months ago, my mom told me after she came across a poster by a local legislative nominee attached on the window over a car’s back part that there was something ‘peculiar enough’. Not that of his facial expression, nor of the design altogether (despite the fact that many of Indonesia’s legislative nominees tended to be very eccentric, say, put the baby’s face instead of his father’s throughout the banners over the dwellings, or behave as if one were a superhero in easily differentiable Photoshopped sketch), but simply speaking, it’s the name itself that bears the sense of being ‘weird’. Rather than beat around the bush, I’ll just simply mention his name: Tahi Malau.

As a matter of fact, ‘tahi’ in informal Indonesian means (expletive, perhaps?) – to make it sounds polite in formal English – human excrement’. But just, there was not much surprise on me upon discovering this fact. In general, there’s a habitude among some communities in Batak ethnic group (Malau, for example, is one of their family names) that they would name their children in accordance to what stuff they are ‘actually’ looking at or experiencing while the women are engendering them. If, for example, they are seeing table by the time the baby has been born, the possibility is overwhelmingly high that they would name their children ‘table’, or ‘meja’ as spoken in our national language, later on followed by the family’s surname from paternal side.

 

One of the most hilarious examples was shown by my math tuition teacher when he showed that there was a bus driver named ‘Terlambat Bangun’ – ‘overslept’ as translated in English. Perhaps, in my assumption, his father came up late at the same time his mother had already breast-feeded him. (Bangun is a surname from Batak Karo community)

If we try to spot deeper around the world, and think deeper about any out-of-the-ordinary stuff we commonly perceive as ‘absurdism’, we only begin to realize that sometimes people are by and large – or just simply saying – really crackpot enough when it comes to giving something and someone else names. For example, there is a railway station in Wales named Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Seriously, it may take 1000 hours of your life only to know how to spell this place correctly; excluding the actual ‘meaning’ behind it (translation: “St Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave”).

 

What’s more, there is a country where you might face absolute difficulty given that you utter ‘merry christmas and a happy new year’ in their own national language. Estonia has authenticated that, marking this sentence with their Finnish-like argot, ‘Maalilist jõuluööeelootusaega ja illuminaarses aoõhetuses uusaastaöövastuvõtuhommikuidülli’.

 

 

Seems like chemistry has got its own cloistered hoop-la when it comes to naming chemical compounds. See titin, the largest known protein ever detected in human genes. When you take a look at this word, there is nothing special. Even when you take a very magnifying, close look at it, it still remains ‘titin’ as usual. But if you look at it backwards in time, the leeway is that you are going to end up in temporary comatose. I don’t know how they precisely did it, but here is its so-called ancestor: Methionylthreonylthreonylglutaminylarginyl…isoleucine (in total: 189,819 letters.) It is more or less similar to a 100-page novel written very neatly in a very condensed font.

Absurdity goes on without name changes at all. There is a hill in South Australia whose aboriginal name is still well-preserved; Mamungkukumpurangkuntjunya, that’s how most of the Australians are used to calling until now. But, what’s farcical behind it is when it comes to translating the name. This hill’s name, if you ask any local Aborigine, will be defined in Pitjantjatjara language as “where the devil urinates”. Let us hope the devil won’t loosen its bowels as well.

 

 

But, sometimes, people can’t stand emotionally with how long they should spend only to pronounce a place name. Government of Thailand, whichever subterfuge it is, perhaps grew up exhausted while they had to patiently wait for foreigners only to spell their capital’s name in correct structure and pronounciation. Thus, in 1860s, King Mongkut decided to convert Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit to Bangkok. Just simply, Bangkok.

Let us venture briefly to Norway, land of the pristine fjords. But don’t be surprised if you spot a village that is just simply named ‘A’. A that is just a big A, and that’s it. What’s more, there are even 7 dorps – scattered across different municipalities throughout the polity – named simply A. Here they are, as listed in Wikipedia:

  • Å, a village in Andøy municipality, Nordland, Norway
  • Å, a village in Moskenes municipality, Nordland, Norway
  • Å, a village in Meldal municipality, Sør-Trøndelag, Norway
  • Å, a village in Åfjord municipality, Sør-Trøndelag, Norway
  • Å, a village in Ibestad municipality, Troms, Norway
  • Å, a village in Lavangen municipality, Troms, Norway
  • Å, a village in Tranøy municipality, Troms, Norway

There’s even more to it. Many of the localities in are simply named O, Ål, Ås, By, Bø, Hå, He, Hø, Io, Ka, La, Lå, Li, Lo, Lø, Mo, Nå, Oa, Øn, Os, Ra, Rå, Re, and Ve. Guess like Norway should be retitled ‘land of the shortest-named places’.

 

 

In Turkey, there is even a mid-sized city named Batman. What makes this Batman even more popular worldwide is not the sudden emergence of an extremely affluent superhero out there; instead, this is because of a lawsuit. A lawsuit-to-be, to be more perhaps. Huseyin Kalkan, then-Mayor of Batman, was planning to file a lawsuit against Christopher Nolan in 2007, the finesse filmmaker behind the critically and commercially successful mind-boggling films like Batman trilogy and Inception, as he claimed that Nolan had misused ‘Batman’ name without prior approval by the city’s inhabitants and public administrations, and what he claimed as ‘unsolved murders and suicides of girls resulted by psychological impact following the forbidding, box-office success of Batman Begins. In the long run – perhaps after further examination in Oxford dictionary – the mayor decided to revoke his plan back.

 

 

In Austria, there is even a village named Fucking (rather than F***king with 3 little stars, and is spelt in German as [ˈfukɪŋ]). Unusually, ever since established in 6th century AD, this sparsely-populated village had undergone through several name changes, ranging from Focko in the beginning (Focko was the name of the founder), to Vucchingen in 1070, Fukching in 1303, Fugkhing in 1532, and lastly, Fucking in the 18th century. Locals there are known for their demonym – unwillingly – as ‘Fuckingers’ (thanks God it’s not ‘fuckers’ or politely, ‘f***ers’) by British and American soldiers who came to liberate Europe from Nazi control by the end of World War II. Today, Fucking is widely known as one of Austria’s main tourist spots, particularly after an annual festivity known as ‘Festival of the Fuck Bands’, which included local bands like Fucked Up, Holy Fuck, Fuck and Fuck Buttons.

As of today, local police in Fucking are now messed around with frequent reports that foreign tourists frequently use ‘Fucking’ notice signs to have sexual intercourse.

Lastly, in Alaska, there is a small town named Eek, which if translated and read into informal Indonesian (spelled as [e-ek]), will be defined as ‘defecating’.

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However weird they are named, however irrelevant they are perceived, and however puzzling they are understood, there is always one main lesson behind it: these names have made the world a more colorful place to see and to live.

 

 

Click for more unbelievable names here.

For more unbelievable ones, click here.