Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Biggest Cities In Thailand

Bangkok is the most populous city of Thailand and the country's seat of government.

Thailand houses a population of about 66,720,153, as of 2013. The population of the country is largely rural with the highest density in the rice-growing belts of the country. As of 2010, Thailand had an urban population of 45.7%. The urban population is mainly centered around the Bangkok Metropolitan Area. Here we present some of the biggest cities in the country.

The Three Biggest Cities Of Thailand

Bangkok

Bangkok! The city of angels; where immortal divinity resides. Beautiful castles endowed with rich culture and friendly people. Bangkok occupies over 1000 square kilometers and is densely populated with around 15,000,000 people. Bangkok dwarfs the other urban cities of Thailand in size and population. It is the primal place of importance and tourism. The rich culture and history attracts adventurers and travellers. A city which contains of over 500 high rise buildings. Ever since the country abolished absolute monarchy and adopted constitutional rule they have grown rapidly. The Asian investment boom in the 80s and 90s has made plenty of corporations and companies locate their headquarters in Bangkok.
Bangkok has become a centre of artistic beauty, where fashion is appreciated and art flourishes. The appreciation for art has made their city very vibrant and pleasing for the eye. They have always been an artistic people since even back in history they have built beautiful sights such as their historic Grand Palace and temples like Wat Arun and Wat Pho. It is a CenterPoint for tourists, Thailand’s economy is as strong as it is because of Bangkok as well, yet despite its positives it has plenty of negatives. It is very overcrowded and full of pollution because of its high population, lots of vehicles are used and this exerts carbon dioxide and pollutes the atmosphere. In 1990 the pollution reached a hazardous high level and since then they have been working on ways to counter it.

Nonthaburi

If you aren’t a fan of over crowdedness yet still want a taste of Bangkok, Nonthaburi is your place to go. Up until the 19 th century it was nothing but a fishing village, and since then till now it has constantly been progressing and is the second largest city in Thailand with a population of around 270,000 people. Nonthaburi is a city of tropical climate. It is pleasantly warm and only has a rainy season apart from the warm climate. Their perfect climate makes it perfect to visit at any time of the year. The city has beautiful sites with great shopping malls such as Central Plaza Rattanathibet with plenty of cultural sites such as Wat Khemaphirataram Rajaworawiharn which has relics of Buddha.

Nakhon Ratchasima

Traditionally the city's economy have been dependant on agriculture where plenty of rice, tapioca and sugar is produced and then exported throughout the world, however recently they have been making plenty of money through other means such as retail. By 2018 it is said that the city will have one million square metres of retail space as more and more store chains invest and have invested in expansive outlets within this city. Nakhon Ratchasima is also a place which has become the commercial hub for Cambodia and Laos. The city has a population of around 180,000 people whom are proud of their cities long rich history.

Biggest Cities In Thailand

Rank Biggest Cities in Thailand Metro Population
1 Bangkok 14,565,547
2 Nonthaburi 270,609
3 Nakhon Ratchasima 174,332
4 Chiang Mai 174,235
5 Hat Yai 157,467
6 Udon Thani 155,339
7 Pak Kret 152,881
8 Khon Kaen 129,581
9 Chaophraya Surasak 109,983
10 Ubon Ratchathani 105,081

By Nikhil Budathoki

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Major Religions in Thailand

There is no official Thai religion. However, Buddhism is by far the dominant religion.

Thailand is a country found in southeast Asia. It is the 20th most populous country in the world with a population of around 65 million people. There is no official religion in Thailand and the Thai constitution guarantees freedom of worship and religious gathering in the country. However, the king is constitutionally required to be a Theravada Buddhist.
There are several religious groups in Thailand including Buddhism , Hinduism, Taoism, and Sikhism among other religions. Some of the religions practiced in Thailand do not have official recognition despite being practiced openly and freely in the country. The religious identity in Thailand is complex with the major religious groups such as Buddhism further divided into other sub-groups. The various religious beliefs in Thailand today are looked at below.

Buddhism - 93.58%

Buddhism is the most common religion practiced in Thailand. The Buddhism practiced in Thailand is associated with Theravada practices. Folk religious practices have also been integrated with the Buddhism. The development of Buddhist in Thailand has been influenced by three major forces. The first major influence is the Theravada school of Buddhism which was imported from Sri Lanka. The Theravada has influenced the Buddhism in Thailand especially in areas of language, sacred liturgy, and scriptures, which all involve the use of Pali. The second major influence on Buddhism in Thai is the Hindu belief which was received from Cambodia during the Sukhothai Kingdom. The Hindu practices influenced the institutions of Kingship in Thailand and are still practiced today by the monks. The Hindu practices have also influenced Buddhist institutions and ceremonies. The third major influence on Buddhism is the folk religion. Thai Buddhist has adopted some of the folk religion including belief to attract favor from the spirits as part of their religious practices. Buddhism has a major influence on the Thai society including in elections where communities of other religions are not allowed to elect or to be elected to any government post.

Islam - 4.94%

Islam is considered to be a religious minority in Thailand, with 4.94% of the population identifying with it. Most of the Thai Muslims belong to the Sunni group and mainly occupy the provinces Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat. The Thai Muslims are diverse with most of the ethnic groups migrating from Malaysia, Cambodia, China, Pakistan , Bangladesh , and Indonesia. The majority of Thai Muslims are recent converts, Muslims through intermarriage, or hereditary Muslims. The Islamic faith in Thailand is integrated with Sufi beliefs just as it is in several other Asian countries. Thailand has over 3,000 mosques with the largest number in Pattani. There are also several Islamic schools, banks, shops, and other institution.

Christianity

Christianity in Thailand began through missionary work by the European missionaries in the 16 th Century. By 1660, the first Vicariate Apostolic of Siam was established by the Portuguese and the French. The protestant group established themselves in the country in 1828 in Bangkok. Christianity has since spread in Thailand with 1.1% of the population being Christians. The major Christian groups in Thailand include Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and Orthodoxy. Christians are making a significant contribution in the country today especially in the areas of health and education.

Religious Beliefs In Thailand

Rank Religion Population (%)
1 Buddhism 93.58
2 Islam 4.94
3 Christianity 1.20
4 Other 0.11
5 Irreligious 0.07
6 Hinduism 0.06
7 Sikhism 0.02
8 Confucianism 0.02

By John Misachi 

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Largest Ethnic Groups In Thailand

The Thai, Khmer, and Malay people represent the largest ethnic groups in Thailand.

The Kingdom of Thailand is located in the Southeast Asia region and covers a total area of 513,000 square kilometers. The country has a population of 67 million people, making it the world’s 20 th most populous country. The majority of Thailand’s population lives in the rural areas especially around the rice-growing areas of central and northern regions. Thailand is a diverse country with several ethnic groups. However, Thai ethnic group accounts for 92% of the population while the remaining 8 % of the population belong to the other ethnic minority. Migrants from the neighboring countries such as
Laos, Myanmar, and Nepal have contributed to the number of non-residents of Thailand that totals over 4 million. The largest ethnic groups in Thailand are looked at herein.

Thai

The Thai people, initially referred to as Siamese by Westerners, are the ethnic majority and the main ethnic group in Thailand. They form part of the Tai ethnolinguistic people found in the Southeast Asia. The Thai people speak the Thai language of different variations in different regions. The Thai ethnic group includes central Thai, northern Thai, southern Thai, and Isan people. The ancient Tai people in which the Thai belong migrated southwards between the 8th and 10th Centuries and settled in Chao Phraya Valley. They extended their kingdoms into the present day Thailand where they were engulfed into Theravada Buddhism of the Mon and Khmer explaining the mixture of present Thai culture. Currently, over 60 million Thai people live in Thailand representing 91.5% of the total population. Several other Thais can also be found in the US, Southeast Asia, Europe, and United Arabs Emirates. The Thai people are predominantly Theravada Buddhists with unique religious practices including ancestor worship. They also believe in household spirits and ghosts. Tham bun or merit-making is a common practice done by food other donation to the monk and contribution to the maintenance of the temple.

Khmer

The Khmer people are native to Cambodia and belong to the larger Austroasiatic Language Family. They speak the Khmer language and most follow the Khmer variation of Buddhism. In Thailand, the Khmer people are slightly over one million, which is 2.3% of the total population and live in the provinces of Surin, Buriram, and Sisaket. The Khmer are the oldest ethnic group in Southeast Asia arriving in the area over four thousand years ago. They brought with them agricultural practices including rice plantation and use of bronze. The modern Khmer identify their ethnic identity with their religious practices and beliefs which are partially influenced by the Theravada Buddhism’s worship of ancestors and Shamanism. They also celebrate many religious holidays throughout the year, including Pchum Ben (Ancestors' Day). The majority of Khmer are confined in rural areas due to the rice farming.

Malay

The Malays belong to the Austronesian groups of peoples, and are generally found in the southern regions of Thailand. They are of diverse genetic and culture due to the several years of immigration and assimilation by various regional tribes and ethnic groups. The Malays are coastal-traders with a strong cultural practice. The ancient Malays were animist but, with the arrival of other religions between the 12 th and 15 th Centuries, the majority of them became Sunni Muslims, and Malays observe most of the major Islamic holidays and festivals. Clothing is highly regarded within the community as an item of beauty, power, and status.

Largest Ethnic Groups In Thailand

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Population of Thailand
1 Thai 91.5%
2 Khmer 2.3%
3 Malay 2.1%
4 Bamar 1.5%
5 Karen 0.6%
6 Chinese 0.4%
7 Hmong 0.3%
Others 1.3%

By John Misachi

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Thailand Customs, Beliefs and Culture

Thailand is home to a very distinctive culture within southeast Asia.

The Kingdom of Thailand is located in Southeast Asia. It is divided into four regions and 76 provinces. Thailand is the 50th largest country by area and home to over 68 million people. Ancient Thai, Chinese, and Indian traditions influence the present Thai culture. The country's diverse geography, stunning scenery, and friendly people have earned it the title “Land of a Thousand Smiles”.

Thai Customs

Thailand is inhabited by several ethnic groups many of which are marginalized. These ethnic groups are also found in Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, and Myanmar, and have influenced the traditional, national and global culture of Thailand. Chinese immigrants have significantly influenced the country’s culture especially in major cities such as Bangkok. The greeting is an important part of the social culture of the Thai. When two people meet, the younger initiate the greeting process and the two will join hands with fingertips pointing upwards. Marriage is also an important part of society; once a man and a woman are married, they are expected to perform their roles in the house and society. Although the government has contemplated legalizing same-sex marriage, most people consider it immoral and unacceptable. Weddings are considered religious events that are presided over by monks. The Thai society consists of large extended families that constantly share meals between family members. The country's staple food is rice, which is consumed alongside another dish. Traditionally people in Thailand have meals on the floor mat and eat using the right hand.

Religion in Thailand

Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, 94% of the population practice Buddhism. Five percent of the population practice Islam while Christianity and other religions account for 1%. The Theravada school is the main form of Buddhism practiced in Thailand. It is supported by the Thai government and institutions in the country. Monks and religious leaders received beneficiaries from the government including free healthcare and public transport. Buddhism is influenced by the belief in traditional, ancestral and natural spirits that have been incorporated into the religion’s cosmology. Most people in Thailand build miniature houses outside their main house because they believe that the spirits will occupy them.

Societal Values in Thailand

Social and cultural values in the country are deeply influenced by religion considering that 94% of the population practice Theravada Buddhism. The most important values in the country include self-control, respect, and non-confrontational attitude. Public displays of anger or telling lies are a great shame for the people. All interactions are characterized by the hierarchy of the social status, it is mandatory to respect the elders and those in higher social positions. People with prestigious positions such as doctors, monks, politicians, and important public figures are also revered. The entire Thai society is built around the family. The newlywed couple is expected to set up their own household but it is common for extended families to live together. Although the society is male-dominated, women command a considerable respect traditionally and by law.


By  Victor Kiprop

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Thursday, 14 February 2019

The Unique Culture Of Tajikistan

Tajikistan's culture is can be divided into two areas, the Metropolitan and Kuhiston cultures.

Tajikistan, which is located in Central Asia, has a long history that dates back over thousands of years. During this time, the people here have developed a culture that is unique to this country. Today, the population of Tajikistan is over 8.7 million individuals, who live in either the metropolitan areas or the rural areas (also referred to as the highland). The majority of these individuals identify as being of Tajik ethnicity, although Turkmen, Uzbeks, Russians, Ukrainians, Bukharan, and European Jews also live here. All of these individuals have contributed to the current culture of modern-day Tajikistan.

The culture of Tajikistan includes its social beliefs and customs, religions and festivals, music and dance, literature and arts, and cuisine. This article takes a closer look at each of the aspects of the unique culture of Tajikistan.

Social Beliefs And Customs

The social beliefs and customs of Tajikistan are largely influenced by Islam, which is practiced by approximately 98% of the population. This religious influence has resulted in what many individuals may consider conservative beliefs and customs. One example of this is the widely held custom that women and girls must never be left alone with a man or group of men. This separation of the sexes may also be seen at large social events, where women tend to congregate in one specific area while men gather in another.

An additional component to the social beliefs and customs of the people of Tajikistan is the importance placed on showing respect and extending hospitality. One of the ways in which individuals here show respect can be seen in the way they greet other people.
Islam also influences the practice of major life events, such as funerary observances for example. In most cases, the day an individual passes away, the body is ceremoniously cleaned and placed inside of a white cloth. The body is then manually carried to the burial site while attendees slowly follow while vocally expressing their grief.

Religion And Festivals

As previously mentioned, Islam is the most widely practiced religion in this country. Although the government has declared religious freedom for the people of Tajikistan, several public holidays have been designated in recognition of important dates for this religion. Prior to the introduction of Islam, the people of this region celebrated a festival known as Navruz. This festival, also known as the Persian New Year, continues to be an important event today. It has its roots in the ancient traditions and practices of celebrating the harvest and planting seasons. Navruz, for example, falls at the start of the spring season, which is historically the time for planting new crops. In Tajikistan, this festival is observed for a total of 4 days, from March 20th to March 23rd of every year. To celebrate Navruz, the people of Tajikistan get ready for the new season of growth and fertility by getting rid of old household goods, playing games outside, and visiting friends and family. Additionally, special dishes may also be prepared depending on the region.

Music And Dance

Traditional music, also known as folk music, continues to have an important role in the current culture of Tajikistan. Some of the instruments used to produce the folk music of this country include the daf, rubab, and karnay. The daf is played as a percussion instrument and is made of a wooden ring that is covered with an animal skin. On the inside of the ring is a line of metal hooks and rings that make sound when the instrument is struck. The rubab is a stringed instrument that resembles a lute. Finally, the karnay is an extremely long trumpet type instrument that is made of brass or copper. It is considered a national instrument of Tajikistan.

The traditional dances of Tajikistan cover a wide range of purposes, from those meant to imitate nature to those used for ceremonial purposes. Men and women tend to dance separately with men performing dances that are more energetic and faster in nature than those performed by women. Some examples of these include dances include the fire dance, the sword dance, and the knife dance.

Literature And Arts

In addition to music and dancing, the culture of Tajikistan is marked by a long and enduring participation in literature and arts. Historically, the literary centers of Tajik culture have been in the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara. Currently, however, these cities are now considered to be within the borders of the country of Uzbekistan. During the Soviet era, the literature written in Tajikistan was influenced by what was permitted or prohibited by the ruling government. As a result, historians have labeled the literature from this era as socialist realism. Today, the pride in the literary tradition of this country is closely tied to the pride of language preservation. Perhaps one of the most well known modern writers from this country is Temur Zulfiqorov, who has written in the Tajik language and is believed to have kept the Persian literary tradition alive.

The art of Tajikistan may be expressed through a variety of mediums including wood carvings, weavings, and embroidery (to mention a few). Many artistic designs in this country incorporate complex details that can be observed in the artwork over the last several centuries.

Cuisine

As seen in many countries around the world, cuisine is an important piece of the cultural identity of Tajikistan. The food of this country has its roots in Persian dishes, which are typically comprised of a serving of rice accompanied by meat and vegetables. The national dish of Tajikistan is plov, commonly known as pilaf, which is rice that has been cooked in seasoned water. Mealtime in Tajikistan usually begins with a small serving of dried fruits or nuts. The second course is often a serving of soup or meat and the final course in a traditional meal is the previously mentioned plov. Green tea is considered the national drink of this country.

By Amber Pariona

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Monday, 11 February 2019

Biggest Cities In Taiwan

New Taipei City along Taiwan's far northern coast is the most populous city in the country.

Taiwan , officially referred to as the Republic of China (ROC) is a country in East Asia with a population of 23.4 million. It is a different country from the People Republic of China (PRC) which it borders to the west, to the east it borders Japan and Philippines to the South. It was first governed by European settlers before it was annexed by China and later surrendered to the Japanese. After Japan had surrendered in Second World War, the ROC took over the governance of the state. It is not recognized as a sovereign country, and the PRC regards it as one of its provinces although it has a president, vice president, and a functioning government. It is not a member of the UN even though is developing politically, technologically and urbanization is at its peak. These are some of the cities found in Taiwan.

Biggest Cities in Taiwan

New Taipei City

The city is also known as Xinbei. It is the most populated city in Taiwan with a population of approximately 3,972,204. It is located in the northern part of the country and is the second largest municipality in the country. It was named New Taipei City in 2010 when its population superseded that of Taipei City. Historical records show that the city was established as early as the Neolithic period. It experiences a humid subtropical climate with ample rainfall and seasonal monsoon winds. It is home to 952 temples, 120 churches, and 160 Buddhist-Taoist temples. It is the second major industrial city after Taipei with more than 20,000 factories and generates a total capital of $1.8 trillion.

Kaohsiung City

Kaohsiung City is a city found in southwest Taiwan and faces the Taiwan Strait. It is the largest municipality in the country, covering a total area of 1,139.72 square miles, it is also the second most populous city with a population of 2,778,918 and a density of 942.2 per square mile. It houses the largest harbor and the second largest airport. It is served by a high-speed rail system and a mass rapid transport system. The city was inhabited by the Hoklo immigrants. It experiences tropical savanna climate with the temperature ranging between 20 to 29 °C (68 to 84 °F). It is an industrial city exporting agricultural products such as rice, bananas, aluminum, and cement.

Taichung City

Taichung city is the located in central western Taiwan. It is the third largest municipality in terms of area and population, with a population of 2,752,413. The city is a merger of Taichung County and Taichung City and forms a special municipality known as Taichung city. Taichung experiences a humid subtropical climate and an average temperature of 23.3 °C (73.9 °F). It has a diverse economy that includes both technological and traditional systems. It is known for manufacturing bicycles and sports artifacts. The rail and seaport provide transport into the town. Due to lack of a mass rail transport system, the city experiences heavy traffic jam and congested streets.

Taipei City, The Political, Economic, And Cultural Capital Of Taiwan

Taipei City is the capital city of Taiwan, it is located in the northern part of the country and has a population of approximately 2,704,974. It is the political, educational, economic, and cultural center of the country. It lies in the Taipei Basin. The city was established by the Han Chinese immigrants and was home to the Ketagalan tribe in the 18th century. Due to the Monsoon winds, the country experiences a humid Subtropical climate. The proximity of the city to the sea and the windy conditions make the air quality in Taipei better that other cities in Asia. It is home to thousands of industrial firms and holds as at 2012; it held the largest foreign exchange reserve at a total of $ 403 billion. The city is served by a mass rapid transport system which includes rail and road, the rise in population and urbanization is a problem facing the city. Global warming is also a threat to the city as signs of hurricanes appear.

Rank Biggest Cities in Taiwan Population

1 New Taipei City 3,972,204
2 Kaohsiung 2,778,918
3 Taichung 2,752,413
4 Taipei 2,704,974
5 Taoyuan 2,116,988
6 Tainan 1,885,252
7 Hsinchu 434,674
8 Keelung 371,878
9 Chiayi 270,254
10 Changhua 235,022

By Kenneth Kimutai too 

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Ethnic Groups Of Taiwan

For several centuries the Han Chinese have comprised the majority of the population, while indigenous Taiwanese maintain significant numbers as well.

Taiwan has many ethnic groups with the largest group being the Hoklo Han Chinese with about 70% of the total population followed by the Hakka Han Chinese who make up about 14% of the total population. These ethnic groups contribute to the cultural diversity of Taiwan as well as in the economic, social and political spheres. The interactions of these ethnic groups have led to the borrowing of cultural practices, intermarriages, and growth or population decline of some of the groups.

Ethnic Groups Of Taiwan

Hoklo Han Chinese

The Hoklo Han Chinese migrated from China to Taiwan in the 19th century before the establishment of the Japanese rule. The Hoklo people intermarried with the native and adopted some of their customs and assimilated some of the aboriginals. The Hoklo people speak Hokkien dialect which cannot be understood by speakers of other Chinese dialects. The Hoklo Han Chinese have adopted most of the religions practiced in Taiwan as well as some cultural aspects of the Taiwanese aboriginals.

Hakka Han Chinese

The Hakka are Han Chinese who originated from the Hakka-speaking provinces of China such as Shanxi, Henan, and Hubei. The Hakka people make up about 14% of the total population of Taiwan. The Hakka people migrated to other countries all over the world mainly due to social unrests and invasions. During wars, they fled to Taiwan and settled there permanently. Most of the Hakka’s today are recognized as leaders and military men mainly because, by the time of their settlement, there was little land left for cultivation, so their primary emphasis was on education and related careers.

Mainland Chinese

The mainland Chinese are a group of people who migrated to Taiwan in the 1940s from mainland China after Kuomintang lost the Chinese civil war in 1949. The migrants mainly consisted of soldiers, merchants, bankers, and other people who feared communist rule. The mainland Chinese were distinguished from the local Taiwanese people by the fact that their native land was not Taiwan. The mainlanders make up 14% of the population due to immigration. The mainland Chinese controlled most of the political and economic spheres in Taiwan until the 1970s. The Taiwan independence movement weakened the dominance of the mainlanders giving the local Taiwanese a chance to rule the country.

Aboriginal Taiwanese

The Taiwanese aboriginals’ population totals to 547,465 people. The aboriginals are found in the mountainous terrain, narrow eastern plains and the Orchid Island in Taiwan. The aboriginals are the indigenous inhabitants of Taiwan who have been assimilated into other communities through intermarriages. The Taiwanese aboriginals are said to have ties with the Austronesian people of Philippines, Malaysia, Madagascar, and Oceania. The aboriginals have lost a great deal of their cultural identity due to intermarriages, cultural assimilation, and continued contact with colonizers and making some of their tribes to become extinct while others face a threat of extinction.

Other Ethnic Groups In Taiwan

Taiwan has many permanent foreign national residents from the Peoples’ Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Macao who total to 149,962 people and foreign national residents from the rest of the world with a total population of 842,651people.

Ethnic Groups Of Taiwan

Rank Ethnic Group or Nationality Share of Population in Taiwan
1 Hoklo Han Chinese 70%
2 Hakka Han Chinese 14%
3 Mainland Chinese (resettling after 1949) 14%
4 Aboriginal Taiwanese 547,465 total
Permanent Foreign National Residents from the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Macao 149,962 total
Permanent Foreign National Residents from Elsewhere 842,651 total

By Joyce Chepkemoi

•culled from www.worldatlas.com


Saturday, 9 February 2019

The Culture And Traditions Of Taiwan

Taiwan has a rich and diverse culture.
The island nation of Taiwan, which is known officially as the Republic of China, has a culture with aspects of traditional Chinese culture. The culture of Taiwan also includes influences from Japanese and elements of western values. The Stone Age period saw the beginning of a Taiwan’s cultural history, which was witnessed with the development of written languages. The symbol for cultural change spanning the past twenty years is Taiwanization, a movement that began in the years after 1975 in a bid to achieve the independence of Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Cultural History

Colonization and imperialism shaped Taiwan’s cultural legacy. In 1895, the Qing Empire surrendered Taiwan to Japan. During the Japanese rule in the country, Taiwan’s culture started to shift to a contemporary global one from local, due to Taiwan’s location along the trade routes of East Asia. Taiwan’s elite learned the Japanese culture and language, without interfering with their religion, in Japan’s bid to Japanize the island nation. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) realigned Taiwan from Japanese imperialism to Chinese nationalism, with influences from the American culture. By the late 1940s during the KMT era, the people of Taiwan resumed the cultural activities outlawed in 1937 by Japan. The presence of America in Taiwan led to the resumption of Taiwanese culture politically.

Languages In Taiwan

The Republic of China has different languages. Taiwanese Hokkien is the most spoken language in Taiwan with speakers comprising 70% of the population. About 13% of the citizens of Taiwan, which consists of immigrants from mainland China, speak Mandarin Chinese, while the Hakka who are also about 13% speak the Hakka language. Approximately 2.3% of the island’s residents are Taiwanese Aborigines of the Formosan dialect. All levels of school in Taiwan teach English with the official language being Standard Chinese. Some words have different meanings with others having the different pronunciation in China and Taiwan, for instance, the word for potato in China stands for peanut in Taiwan.

Cuisine

Taiwan has a variety of cuisine attributed to the different cultures in the country. Foods widely eaten in the nation are rice and soy with seasonings including soy sauce, peanuts, sesame oil, and rice wine. Seafood, such as fish, squids, and various crustaceans, as well as meat, especially pork, are an essential part of Taiwanese cuisine. The Buddhists in the country do not eat beef, making it unpopular, although a large portion of the population enjoys the Taiwanese beef noodle soup. Chinese immigrants introduced tea to Taiwan, and in the present world, the country produces some of the world’s best teas. Tea making is an art in Taiwan with Pearl milk tea being a favorite.

Religion And Beliefs

In Taiwan, there is a blend of Taoism, Buddhism, Chinese folk religion, and ancestral worship, which make up the prevalent religious belief in the country. Other faiths in Taiwan include Christianity, Islam, and Mormonism. Similar to in China, people in Taiwan follow the Hell Bank note tradition, which is a significant practice involving the burning of paper money called Hell Banknote. People give this offering to their dead ancestors, to spend in the afterworld. Values and ethics in Taiwan follow Confucianism, which advocates for respect for elders, loyalty, and responsibility towards one another.

Customs And Lifestyle

Taiwanese communication involves broad contextual messages, which give a better understanding, as well as facial expressions and gestures. Lack of such is considered impolite and rude. Taiwan’s traditions allow entertainment of guests in homes to only those who have an existing or developed relationship with homeowners. Otherwise, restaurants offer entertainment venues for visitors. Guests start eating after the host begins and chopsticks used in the process need to be returned to their rests while talking or drinking and after a few bites. In Taiwan, formal greetings are the norm with the oldest individual in a group greeted first.

Festivals

All festivals in Taiwan have music and dance playing a critical role. Some of the festivals celebrated in Taiwan are the Mid-Autumn Festival, Ghost Festival, Lantern Festival, and Chinese Valentine’s Day. Tomb Sweeping Day is significant to the Taiwanese, who use the day to worship and honor the dead, with families visiting graves and offering sacrifices. The longest festival in Taiwan is the Chinese New Year, which involves sumptuous meals, fireworks, purchase of gifts and clothes, and is also an excellent time to clear all debts.

Sports In Taiwan

Common sports in Taiwan include baseball, football, basketball, and softball. Many people practice martial arts such as taekwondo and t’ai chi ch’uan. Baseball has the highest number of spectators and is Taiwan's national sport, with many talents joining teams in the United States and Japan. Individual sports in the island nation include archery, cycling, golf, table tennis, and marathon.

Taiwan Cinema Culture

Introduction of cinema in Taiwan came in 1901 when the Japanese ruled the island nation. Before 1945, Taiwan filmmakers adopted most of Japanese films conventions. A benshi narrated silent films differently from their Western world equivalent. Wang Yung-Feng, a musician, and composer became the first Taiwanese benshi. After 1949, the growth of Taiwanese cinema was rapid after the end of the Chinese civil war. Only seven Mandarin films existed out of 120 produced in 1962, with the rest being in Taiwanese. Internationally acclaimed filmmakers, such as Edward Yang, gave Taiwan’s film industry recognition.

Taiwanization

Taiwanization emphasizes the significance of Taiwanese culture and identity, including nationality and economy. The movement strives to establish Taiwan as an independent state and not as part of mainland China. Taiwanization led to the replacement of many Chinese names in Taiwan, with Taiwanese names through the Taiwan Name Rectification Campaign. Organizations and companies established in the past and owned by the Taiwanese had to change the word “China” to “Taiwan” in their names. Taike subculture resulted from Taiwanization and saw people adopting the Taiwanese culture in their language use, cuisine, and wardrobe.

By Joseph Kiprop 

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Sunday, 3 February 2019

The Population Of Sri Lanka

74.9% of the population of the Sri Lankan population are Sinhalese, and Sri Lankan Tamils are the largest minority group.

The Population Of Sri Lanka

74.9% of the population of the Sri Lankan population are Sinhalese, and Sri Lankan Tamils are the largest minority group. Sri Lanka is a multilingual, multicultural, and multi-religious country, as observed from its diverse society. The Island of Sri Lanka is characterized by a regional variation in regards to the economy, from tourism, agriculture, mining, fishing to manufacturing.

Vital Statistics Of The Population Of Sri Lanka

The most recent full census of Sri Lanka was carried out in 2012 and 20, 359, 4309 inhabitants were recorded, representing an annual growth rate of 1.1%. Sri Lanka has a high literacy rate at 97%, due to free education. In 2012, the unemployment rate for the economically active stood at 6.6% while the dependency ratio was recorded as 60.2%. According to 2015 statistics, 18.4% of Sri Lankans lived in the urban area, although the rate is projected to increase as Sri Lanka shifts from an agricultural economy to a production-based economy. The estimated fertility rate is 2.09 children for each woman. The HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate is estimated at 0.03% while bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A are the primary food and waterborne diseases common in the country.

Ethnicity Of The Population Of Sri Lanka

The largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka is the Sinhalese. The Sinhalese speak the Sinhala language, which is part of the Indo-European linguistic group. The ethnic group is believed to have migrated to Sri Lanka from northern India. The Sinhalese brought with them the agricultural economy, and a significant part of them continue to practice to the present day.

The Tamil ethnic group makes up about 11.2% of the total population. The Tamils migrated to Sri Lanka from Southern India, and their Tamil language was influenced by Indian linguistic elements. The Tamils observe the Hindu religion and have a different caste system from that of the Sinhalese. The Moors or Muslims claim a 7.1% share of Sri Lanka's population. Islam in Sri Lanka was brought by Arab traders who settled in the country and adopted the Tamil language. In a bid to escape persecution during Portuguese colonization, the Moors moved to the Central Highlands, where most of them remain. The Indian Tamils account for a 4.2% share of Sri Lanka's population. The ethnic group settled in Sri Lanka as plantation workers during British colonization. Burghers make up a small part of the population and trace their ancestry to European colonists and settlers.

Religious Practices By The People Of The Country

The most widely practiced religion is Buddhism at 70.2%. The introduction of Buddhism is credited to the Sinhalese upon their arrival from India. The Sinhalese are the largest observers of the religion, and even their culture is centered on the faith. The biggest minority religion is Hindu, with a 12.6% share of the country's population. The leading adherents of the religion are the Tamils, both the Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils. Islam is observed by a 9.7% of Sri Lanka's population. Roman Catholicism at 6.1% was introduced by the Portuguese, while Protestantism, observed by a 1.3% share of the population was introduced in by the Dutch and the British.

Cultures Of The People Of Si Lanka

A caste system exists in Sri Lanka, where the citizens are aware of status and social order. Relationships in Sri Lanka are firmly founded on hierarchies. Rituals and customs, some dating back for 2000 years, are an integral part of the country's culture. These aspects are portrayed in the numerous colorful festivals. The people of Sri Lanka are sometimes viewed as conservative, attributed to the major religions of the country, which are Buddhism and Hinduism. Sri Lankans are more often humble and respectful and delight in the simple things in life.

The ceremonial food in Sri Lanka includes the Kiribath, a meal prepared by cooking rice in coconut milk and sweet oil cakes called Kawum. Music, art, and drama are also important aspects of Sri Lankan culture.

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Ethnic Groups Of Sri Lanka

Around 3 in 4 Sri Lankans are ethnic Sinhalese, while Sri Lankan Tamils and Sri Lankan Moors are the largest minorities.

Sri Lanka is a unitary semi-presidential island country located in southern parts of the Asian continent. The administrative capital of the country is Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte whereas Colombo is the economic capital as well as the largest city in the country. Sinhalese and Tamil are the official languages with English also being a recognized language in the country. The country has a total population of 20,277,597 people with a population density of 800 persons per square mile. The Sinhalese are the predominant ethnic group in the country with over 70% of the total population. 

Ethnic Groups Of Sri Lanka

Sinhalese

The word Sinhala translates to mean the heart or blood of a lion. The Sinhalese people are believed to have come from the princes of Vanga, who, as per legend, copulated with a lioness. They gave birth to a daughter called Sinhasiavali and a son named Sinhabahu who had lion-like features and even the strength of a beast. King Vijaya, who is from the lineage of Sinhabahu, arrived at the modern day Sri Lanka and eventually gave rise to the Sinhalese people.The community was organized in kingdoms led by hereditary kings. Their language is known as Sinhala or Helabasa. Their culture is characterized by fine arts, literature, dancing and a number of rituals. Their culture is closely related to that of Indians due to their geographic proximity. The community also practices a form of martial arts known as Angampora as a kind of self-defense. It is also a sport, exercise and a form of meditation. A majority of the Sinhalese are Buddhists with a small percentage being Roman Catholics.

Sri Lankan Tamils

Historians have not yet agreed on the origin of the Sri Lankan Tamil community and various contradicting theories have been brought forward. The most common one is that they are the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka. The community is culturally different from the Sinhalese, but genetic studies have shown that they are closely related. The community is subdivided into three groups based on their geographical location. The subgroups have gradually developed different dialects and culture. These groups are; the Negombo Tamils, Eastern Tamils, and Jaffna Tamils. About 80% of Tamil members are Hindus while the majority of the rest are Roman Catholics. Since independence, successive governments have put in place policies which have favored the Sinhalese community. These policy has denied the members of Tamil and other smaller ethnic communities a chance to venture into areas such as education and employment into the civil service. The younger generation of the Tamil community reacted by forming militant groups to air their grievances via violence. The violence escalated into a civil war which was later quelled in 2009 leaving over 70,000 civilians dead.

Sri Lankan Moors

These are the largest ethnic group in the country ordinarily referred to as Muslims as they are predominant Muslim followers. Two major theories explain their origin. One states that they are descendants of the Moor traders with the other explaining that they were originally part of the Tamil community who chose Islam as their religion. The culture of the Moor community is closely related to that of the other Tamil speakers with some aspects of the Arab culture. The most common tradition borrowed from the Arab is group eating using large shared plates in wedding ceremonies.

Indian Moors

The Indian Moors can trace their origin back to India and migrate to Sri Lanka during the British colonial period in search of Business opportunities. During the colonial era, they served as casual plantation laborers. In 1930, India banned emigration of unskilled personnel into Sri Lanka and thus reduced their population increase. They are predominantly Islam, and their religion defines their traditions. Since the 1960s, the people of the Indian Moors in Sri Lanka have been declining to a point where they were categorized as others in the 1981 census. The decline is attributed to the massive return to India and others referring themselves as Sri Lankan Moors.

Other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka

Other ethnic groups include the Sri Lankan Tamils, Sri Lankan Moors, Indian Moors, Indian Tamils, and the Sri Lankan Malays, Burghers and Europeans.

Ethnic Groups Of Sri Lanka

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Population of Sri Lanka
1 Sinhalese 74.9%
2 Sri Lankan Tamils 11.2%
3 Sri Lankan Moors 9.3%
4 Indian Tamils 4.1%
5 Sri Lankan Malays 0.2%
6 Burghers and Europeans 0.2%

Other Groups 0.1%

By Kenneth Kimutai too 

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Is Singapore A Country?

Singapore is both a country and a sovereign city-state. But what does this mean?

The identity of Singapore can be a bit confusing. Many people tend to get stuck as to whether Singapore is a country, a city, or an island. Interestingly, Singapore is all three. Singapore is actually a country-city-island, the only one of its kind in the world.

History of Singapore

Singapore was formerly a British colony. The British arrived in Singapore in as early as 1819 when the Raffles established themselves in the newly discovered island. However, it wasn't until 1826 when Singapore and other neighboring islands were declared to be British Colonies. The British dominated the country for approximately 144 years.

Singapore was merged with its neighbor Malaysia and became a Crown British Colony between 1946 and 1963. Before then, Singapore was under the Empire of Japan. It was after the Empire of Japan surrendered to the Allies at the end of World War II that the Island was brought under the control of Britain again. Singapore gained partial self-governance from the British Empire in 1955. Due to political and economic problems, on August 9, 1965, Singapore broke off from Malaysia, and formed the Republic of Singapore.

Geography of Singapore

The country of Singapore is located in Southeast Asia, off the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsular and on the eastern side of Indonesia.The country of Singapore is made up of over 60 islands and islets. The main and the most populated island, which also the capital city, is referred to as Singapore, or most precisely as Pulau Ujong.
The climate of Singapore is described as Tropical Rainforest. There are no distinct climates or diverse fluctuations in temperatures. This is simply because of its close proximity to the equator. It is located approximately 85 miles north of the equator. The temperatures of the country are generally warm. It averages to 31 degrees Celsius annually.

Government of Singapore

Singapore is a republic with a unicameral parliament. The government system is borrowed from the Westminster system. The executive powers of Singapore are vested on the cabinet, which is led by the prime minister, and president, who is not as dominant as the prime minister.

The president is a symbol of national unity. His or her presence is mostly ceremonial. The prime minister, who is in charge of the cabinet, is the head of the government. The role of the government officials and their limitations, together with the description of the government are outlined in the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore.

By John Misachi 

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Religious Beliefs In Singapore

Singapore is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world.


A city-state in Southeast Asia, Singapore hosts an estimated population of 5,612,300 people in an area of 721.5 square km. Singapore is a multi-ethnic nation with no religion claiming an absolute majority. Buddhism is the largest religion in the country with 33.2% of the population adhering to this religion. 18.8% of the population adheres to Christianity. Followers of Taoism and folk religions account for 10% of the population of Singapore. Muslims and Hindus constitute 14% and 5% of the population, respectively. Other religions are represented by only 0.6% of the population. 18.5% of Singaporeans claimed not to be affiliated with any particular region. According to an analysis by the Pew Research Center, Singapore is the most religiously diverse country in the world.

The Largest Religion In Singapore

All three major Buddhist traditions, Mahayana, Vajrayana, and Theravada Buddhism, has a presence in the country. Most of the ethnic Chinese residents of Singapore practice Mahayana Buddhism. Buddhists from Thailand, Myanmar, Japan, and Sri Lanka also live here. Tibetan Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism have exhibited growing popularity in the country in recent decades. A large number of Buddhist monasteries are found throughout Singapore.

Christianity In Singapore

Christians adhering to the different denominations of Christianity are present in Singapore. The religion spread in the country through the work of Christian missionaries. The Christian population in the country cannot be tied to a single ethnic group although a majority are of Eurasian and Chinese descent.

Other Religions In Singapore

Most of Singaporean Muslims are Sunnis and most mosques in the country cater to the needs of this community. However, other Islamic communities like the Shia and Ahmadiyya Muslims also live in the country. While most Muslims in the country are ethnic Malays, Muslims from South Asian countries like India and Pakistan also live in the country. Hindus in Singapore are primarily descendants of Indians who started living in Singapore after its founding in 1819. Several Hindu temples are scattered throughout the country and cater to the religious needs of this community. Many other religions like Taoism, Zoroastrianism, the Baha’i Faith, Sikhism, etc., also have followers in Singapore.

Religious Freedom And Tolerance In Singapore

Singaporeans enjoy the freedom to choose and practice a religion of their choice. The government encourages religious harmony in the state. Schools in the country educate students about the importance of maintaining such harmony. The celebration of religious festivals of different faiths and mixed-race classes also help the students to develop a sense of religious tolerance from a young age. The multiculturalism of Singapore is one of the most admirable features of this city-state.

Religious Beliefs In Singapore

Rank Religion Percentage of Population
1 Buddhism 33.2
2 Christianity 18.8
3 Unaffiliated 18.5
4 Islam 14
5 Taoism and Other Folk Religions 10
6 Hinduism 5
7 Other 0.6

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Friday, 1 February 2019

Cultural And Historical Landmarks To Visit In Singapore

Singapore hosts several museums, temples, mosques, and memorials that serve as major tourist attractions in the country.

12. National Museum of Singapore -

The National Museum of Singapore is Singapore’s oldest museum and was started in 1849 as the Raffles Library and Museum. The museum displays exhibits related to the history of Singapore. The museum is located currently in the Museum Planning Area at Stamford Road. The National Museum of Singapore’s most significant exhibits include the eleven precious artifacts like the will of Munshi Abdullah, the Gold Ornaments of the Sacred Hill, William Farquhar's drawings of flora and fauna, etc. The museum is designed in the Renaissance and Neo-Palladian style.

11. Sri Mariamman Temple -

The Sri Mariamman Temple, located at 244 South Bridge Road, is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. The temple is a major tourist attraction in the region and has been gazetted as one of the national monuments in the country. The temple was founded by Naraina Pillai in 1827 who was well recognized as a leader of the Indian community in Singapore during the time.

10. Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall -

The Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall is an aesthetically designed performing arts center in Singapore’s Central Area. Two buildings and a clock tower connected by a common corridor are the main parts of the complex. The oldest building in the complex was built in 1862 and the entire complex was completed in 1909. Exhibitions, public events, political meetings, music and stage performances, etc., are all hosted at the venue. On February 14, 1992, the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall was gazetted as a national monument of the country.

9. Mint Museum of Toys

The Mint Museum of Toys is a museum exhibiting a private collection of vintage toys. The museum was opened on March 5, 2007, and is located in the Arts & Heritage District of Singapore. Over 3,000 toys and childhood memorabilia from the mid-19th to mid-20th century are exhibited at the museum. The Mini Museum of Toys has been designed as a five-storey contemporary building by the architect Chan Soo Khian.

8. Istana Kampong Glam

The Istana Kampong Glam is a Malay Palace located in Kampong Glam near Masjid Sultan. The original palace was built in 1819 by Sultan Hussein Shah of Johor. He built the palace on a 23 hectares land granted to him by the British East India Company. The palace was later rebuilt several times and in 1824, its size was reduced for the North Bridge Road construction. The palace served as the royal residence for a significant period of time. The Sultan occupied the palace up until his death in Malacca in 1835. On August 6, 2015, the Istana Kampong Gelam was gazetted as a national monument of Singapore.

7. Peranakan Museum

The Peranakan Museum is housed in the Old Tao Nan School of Armenian Street which served as the former base of the Asian Civilisations Museum. It was opened on April 25, 2008. The museum features exhibits representing Singapore’s Peranakan cultures and other Straits Settlements in Penang and Malacca. The museum also hosts shops and eateries themed on the Peranakan style. The Peranakan Museum hosts 10 permanent galleries with exhibits showcasing the various aspects of Peranakan life.

6. Civilian War Memorial

The Civilian War Memorial or the Memorial to the Civilian Victims of the Japanese Occupation is one of Singapore’s heritage landmarks. The landmark is located within the War Memorial Park at Beach Road in the central business district of Singapore. The memorial is dedicated to the civilian victims who were killed during the Japanese occupation of Singapore. The memorial was built by one of the country’s most famous architects, Leong Swee Lim between 1935 and 2002.

5. Singapore Art Museum

The contemporary art museum is located in Singapore’s art and culture district with other major performing and visual arts institutions of the country. The Singapore Art Museum is based in a restored mission school of the 19th century. Opened in 1996, it was the country’s first art museum. The museum features a significant collection of Southeast Asian contemporary art and has a growing international contemporary art component. Talks, workshops, artist and special curator tours are arranged here to give visitors a unique glimpse and rich experience of the museum.

4. Kranji War Memorial

Located in 9 Woodlands Road, Kranji, the Kranji War Memorial is dedicated to the memory of the brave men and women who died defending Singapore from Japanese forces during World War II. The memorial features the Memorial Walls, Military Graves, War Graves, and the State Cemetery. The Kranji War Memorial also offers panoramic views of the surrounding undeveloped landscape and the skyline of Malaysia’s Johor Bahru.

3. Asian Civilisations Museum

The Asian Civilisations Museum is one of the pioneering museums in Singapore which feature pan-Asian culture and civilizations. The museum was opened on April 22, 1997, at the Old Tao Nan School building at Armenian Street. Currently, it is based at the Empress Place Building of the city-state. The museum has a rich collection of Chinese artifacts like Taoist and Buddhistic statuary, Dehua porcelain figures, calligraphy, etc. The South Asian Galleries feature artifacts representing the history, art, and culture of the South Asian countries. Works of the Mathura and Gandhara schools of art, fine Chola bronzes, South Indian woodwork, colonial prints, etc., are part of the exhibits at these galleries. Southeast Asian galleries at the museum feature Khmer sculptures, Buddhist art forms, Javanese sculptures, and more.

2. Masjid Sultan

Masjid Sultan is regarded as one of the most important mosques in Singapore. It is located at Muscat Street in the Kampong Glam precinct of Singapore. The mosque was built between 1824 and 1826 by Sultan Hussain Shah of Johore next to his palace using funds solicited from the East India Company. The impressive prayer hall and domes of the Masjid Sultan are the star features of the structure. On March 8, 1975, it was gazetted as a national monument.

1. Thian Hock Keng

The "Palace of Heavenly Happiness” or the Thian Hock Keng is a famous temple in Singapore dedicated to a Chinese Sea goddess Mazu. It is the Hokkien people’s oldest and most significant temple. On July 6, 1973, the Thian Hock Keng was gazetted as a national monument. The temple was built sometime around 1821 to 1822 and was visited by seafarers and immigrants who would thank Mazu for their arrival to Singapore after a safe sea passage. Over the years, the temple was expanded and beautified to what it is today. The temple was built using traditional Chinese design whereby, a central courtyard is surrounded by several pavilions and buildings. Dragons and other motifs have been used to decorate the roofs of the temple’s halls. Stone lions and Door Gods guard the doors of the Thian Hock Keng. Colored tiles, embellished and gilded beams, figures of phoenix, dragons, etc., are used to enhance the beauty of the temple.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from www.worldatlas.com
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