THE FLAG OF KYRGYSTAN
The flag of Kyrgyzstan is a lot more complicated than you think. The symbol within and forming part of the circle represents the “Tunduk” – a vey important part of Kyrgyz life and culture. At a basic level the Tunduk is the central apex of traditional nomadic ‘Yurts’ or very fortified tents. In order to support what is a really a house that can be moved, the central wooden poles must be able to take tremendous amount of weight and last for years. It is also where sunlight passes into the yurt when the weather is good. It’s a symbol in itself to somewhat explain the heart of Kyrgyz society.
The current flag was adopted on 3 March 1992. The Kyrgyz Republic actually became an independent state on 31 August 1991. Given that Kyrgyzstan became the very last of the former Soviet Union republics to secede form the former USSR – it’s not a big surprise they waited a while to come up with a new flag. What they did come up with really does symbolise their history and culture.
The flag is compromised of a red background with golden lines in the form of the Tunduk surrounded by 40 uniformly spaced rays radiating outwards. It also represents the sun in its entirety. "Kyrgyz" means red and the colour also symbolizes bravery. The sun represents wealth and peace. The 40 rays of the sun represent the 40 separate Kyrgyz tribes unified by the national hero, Manas, against Mongols invasion. Manas is recounted in an epic 500,000 word poem that is thought to have been written in the 1600-1700’s. Although many believe Manas did exist and his burial place is known; he is more legend than fact. This owes itself quite a bit to the fact that traditional Kyrgyz life was nomadic and reliant upon oral historians, who have now also passed into history.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
EAT THE LOCAL STREET FOOD.
So many people when travelling in and around SouthEast Asia I found were afraid to eat the street food. I found in all the countries that I travelled in I tried and enjoyed the street food.. I eat very little meat usually when I'm travelling as this is usually where any problems lie. (from my experiences)I love fish but only at fish markets by the ocean. The only times that I ever got sick was with bad water..The locals thrive on the street food and I found if it was boiled as most was I was happy with that . The wonderful foods in S.E.Asia are many and varied..I watch the locals they know what the good dishes are. Really the foods of Asia are one of the main attractions to the area. To walk the streets and watch the food preparation..The aromas of the different foods cooking just makes me hungry thinking about it. I am also more than happy to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables when I am travelling as the tropical fruits locally are wonderful and inexpensive like local street food.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Food and Dining
List of favourite countries in Asia 3
I can honestly say I dont like two countries in ASIA so far: Singapore which is really not a country but a construction of a country and nationality of very shallow minded people and India which now has become a paper tiger which hollers much and makes very little substance. There are One thing positive about each country: Singapore has a very good airport and India has a lovely city in Cochin.
My visits to Thailand even though numerous have been too short in duration for me to form an opinion.
Laos visited only twice and have very positive impressions.
The country most enigmatic to me, even after ten visits is Japan. The best everyday food in teh world, very impressive people with their depth of knowledge and curiosity, incredible amount of stress and depression, alienation. A very good farming culture which i went there to study, very polite but not friendly. Hokkaido was very beautiful, The best travel infrastructure of any country. Poor coffee, but good tea, excellent sake but poor wine selection, delightful ryokyans and minshukus and small hotels.
I have visited Sri Lanka twice mainly the sinhalese south. Felt like India of ten years ago. where as I am told Myanmar is like india of fifty years ago. Maldives only once. Indonesia very briefly visited would like to explore our neighbour islands to the north. Philippines only once and that too to Manila and environs. Hongkong impressive indeed, much more than Macao. Seoul is an appropriate name for a soul less city.
The country that now intrigues me is Pakistan as most of the intellectuals I have met are a cut above the indian intellectuals I have met. The part of India I would like to visit are the northeastern states which hopefully would secede from HIndu India one of these days, and they are close to Myanmar in culture and identity.
The list of favourite countries in Asia 2
Favourite Country no 3: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Cuba and Vietnam has a very special friendship and the vietnamese learn about Cuba at a very early age and they shower special hospitality and friendship on Cubans since Cuba was one fo the few countries to help Vietnam in its anti imperialist struggles against France and USA.
Excellent Food and without doubt my favourite Asian cuisine. Lovely Hotels, elegant restaurants, good infrastructure, Vietnam Airlines of which I am a Frequent Flier ( have made some close friends with people who fly VN). Mostly gentle people. Socialist brotherhood with cuba, govt not as selfish as India or china , trying to life people out of poverty, more successful in this than china or india. Cuban embassy personnel in Hanoi
Negative side: brought on my tourism. Avoid all vietnamese who have anything to do with tourism, they have become rude and greedy, they see you as a dollar sign. The need to get a visa to enter. A little bit of mimicking of westerners by the young vietnamese who are ignorant of the history of their country.
Number of Visits to the country: Six
The List of Favourite countries in Asia
It takes me a few trips to a particular country to get to know the country and appreciate it. Like everyone else the first trip to the country is rather naive and covering the usual tourist spots. Not meeting other travellers is a yard stick that I use. If I am on a trip and I dont meet foreign travellers in that country, I consider that a success. I usually end up meeting a lot of local people, being an university professor is of some help.
Since 2001, I have travelled to Asia a fair bit, I lost count but close to 20 times since in 2005 alone I was there 9 times, in 2006 seven times. I dont claim to be an expert but here is a list of my favourite countries and their positive and negative attributes (to me)
Favourite Country in Asia is Myanmar:
wonderful people with an unpolluted and innocent minds. Budhism as a lived in philosophy. Bamar food, Hindu-Budhists, an educated elite.
negative side: poor communication skills, military government since 1962, local roads are in poor conditions, lack of ease of communication with the rest of the world
Number of visits : More than ten
Favourite country no 2 is Malaysia. Dont ask me to explain it, but somehow or other I am treated well in this country by the natives. Having Borneo added to the peninsula expands that hospitality. Perhaps a nostalgia for childhood visits to Borneo and also Somerset Maugham stories. Good Food. Good Transportation. Nice hotels. Weak Ringgitt.
negative side: only legally racist country on earth ( can join the gulf states, saudi arabia, they deny rights to foreigners, but Malaysia denies rights to local born non moslem, non malays). Insipid government with demogogues for leaders ( Mahathir once said: jews drink Blood!), trying to force islam in the country and force the Malays to be something they are not.
Number of visits : more than ten
Asian Rosetta Stone
I was amazed to see the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum. Here I have created a picture of one for the Asian languages :)
Good news that latin alphabets are used in these six Asian countries - Vietnamese, Malay in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia and for Tagalog in Philippines.
The Chinese characters is used in China, Taiwan, Macao and Hong Kong. Mainland China have simplified some of the more complicated characters while Taiwan has chosen to stay with the traditional characters.
Japan has adopted the Chinese characters and still retain them as "kanji". Japanese has also two other writing systems "hiragana" and "katakana". But all the names of towns and people in Japan is still written in "kanji" or Chinese Characters.
South Korea and Vietnam also once used the Chinese writing system and you can still see them in Korean and Vietnamese temples.
South Korea now has her own writing system based on phonetics called "hangul" while Vietnam uses "chu nom".
Thailand, Cambodia and Nepal has their own writing script based and evolved from Indo-Sanskrit system. They look difficult but so many local six years olds have mastered them. So it is fun to go to the book store and buy their "ABC" and learn to recognize street names or town names in the local writing system.
Example for Bangkok, it is called "krungthep" in Thai and can you recognize it in Thai script?
Useful local phrases
It may not be possible to learn every Asian language just before your trip. But learning a word or two can endear your local host or warm up the local people you meet.
How about saying "Thank you" and then the local equivalent, eg "Thank you, arigato" when in Japan or "Thank you, xie xie" when in China or Taiwan.
Here is a list for you.
When in Malaysia, Brunei or Indonesia,
"Thank you, terima kasih" (third-read-mar car-say)
When in Singapore,
"Thank you, thanks lah" (adding the "lah" makes it Singlish)
When in Thailand,
"Thank you, khorb khun" (cop croon)
When in Cambodia,
"Thank you, awh khon (owl croon)
When in Vietnam,
"Thank you, cam on (come earn)
When in Hong Kong or Macao,
"Thank you, do je" (door jack)
When in China or Taiwan,
"Thank you, xie xie" (see-eh see-eh)
When in South Korea,
"Thank you, kamsa hamnida" (come-suck-harm-knee-dark)
When in Japan,
"Thank you, arigato" (are-rid-guard-toe)
When in Nepal,
"Thank you, dhanyabaad" (done-yah-but)
It does not matter if you mispronounce. It will create laughter and perhaps a conversation on how to say it right. Have fun, thank you.
Thai Customs and Taboos
Thai people have a number of customs and taboos which the visitor should respect. They are uncomfortable with very public displays of affection between both sexes although holding hands is now more accepted. They also see the head as being literally and figuratively as being the highest part of the body and therefore do not approve of touching the head of anyone.
Japan - Bowing (Ojigi)
Bowing (Ojigi) is a usual and an important custom in Japan and is done quiet regularly. Generally, they greet each other by bowing in place of handshaking. It is impolite not to bow in return. Japanese people tend to become a little uncomfortable with the more physical forms of contact but accept the handshake with westerners.
Be Happy with what you have
Being with American Indians and other aboriginal peoples for a long time, I was pleasantly surprised at the universality of their belief systems, when I encountered aboriginal people of Asia and also to some extent the philosophy of Lived Budhism in Myanmar. So at the beginng of each trip ,I say to myself
BE HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
DONT BE UNHAPPY WITH WHAT YOU DONT HAVE
EACH TRIP, VAGUELY PLANNED, BUT WELL EXECUTED, HAVE NO DEFINITE ITINERARIES, BUT JUST DESTINATIONS-AND MINIMAL EXPECTATIONS, THAT ARE ENHANCED BY EACH OF THE ENCOUNTERS!!!!!
ALWAYS UNEXPECTED PLEASURES OF COURSE..
Trips to Asia in 2006
Singapore, Johor Bahru, Malacca, Kuching
Vietnam, Malacca, Siem Reap, Myanmar
JohorBahru, Malacca, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, KL
Alas the next trip to Asia wont be until end of August or early September...
This one for the Free Spirits
This is a spirit house setup in nowhere and mostly at some dangerous bends or cliffs. Most Chinese (or those that with Chinese influents) believed that if these spirits were constantly supplied or respected, they will be less likely to find “relieve” or “substitute” for their fates. In short, these spirits will not haunt the passing by motorists.
My advice is don’t drink and drive, stop blaming the visions or spirits.Related to:
- Road Trip
Gotong Royong (Community Living) - Malaysia
It is no joke to prepare for the wedding lunch & dinner without helping hands from these aunties. They are help preparing ingredients for the dishes & some of them will even contribute cooking oils, cooking utensils, and etc.
This humble kampong living is very much well kept in rural areas. Most families will selflessly contribute to events such as child birth, wedding, funerals & anything that relate to both joy & sadness.
In fact, most boys and girls dare not to be naughty because their acts will reach their parents' ears really fast. It's like everybody know everybody in the Kampong kind of thing.Related to:
- Farm Stay
- Arts and Culture
Raja Sehari! - Malaysia
They deserve the best treatment for that day, because local call it “Raja Sehari”. Meaning, he is the “King for the Day”, one day only!!!!!
Correction, they entitle up to four times "Raja Sehari" (may be more!!) But at any one time 4 legal wives. The queen only "sehari".
Please do not mistaken that every Malaysian will have the privilege of having 4 wives at any one time. Only those who're adopting Islam will be able to exercise this right. For me, I will be entitled for ONE ONLY. So, please don't feel insecure that you are the 3rd, 4th or 5th girl friends of mine if you somehow attracted to me eh!
- Farm Stay
- Road Trip
Getting angry at anything
is very a un-Asian thing.
In fact it is considered to be
a loss of face and
therefore an embarrassment both
for the perpetrator
and the recipient.
A bit like being heard farting loudly
in a posh restaurant.
Paper Horse and Candle (Pic from Fine Art Museum)
Paper horse and candles are some regular sight for ancestral worship. This is not just unique for Vietnamese with Chinese origin. In fact, it is being practice all over the world by Chinese with Taoism faith.
Newer trend of offering included big car (of superior brand), credit cards, and audio-visual equipments that made of paper.
How practical!!!Related to:
- Adventure Travel
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