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Scheherazade regaling Shahryar with a story. © Wikicommons

To mark the 100th anniversary of ASIAN Geographic, this issue covers the reigning history of 100 languages and dialects used in Central, North, South, East and West of Asia.

Central Asia
Kazakh = cәлем- /she/lem/
Kyrgyz = cаламатсызбы - /sa/la/mat/syz/by/
Uzbek = салам - /sa/ LOM/
Turkmen = Salam - /sa/lam/
Tajik = aссалому алейкум - /asah/lomu ah/lay-koom/

East Asia
Hakka = 你好 - /ngi/ho/
Hmong = nyob zoo - /nya/zong/
Manchu = 您好 - /beye/sain/
Shanghainese = 侬好 - /nong/hao/
̈Uyghur = Assalamu läykum - /Ahss/al/ah/mu/lahy/kum/
Cantonese = 你好 - /nei/hou/
Japanese = こんにちは - /KON/ni/chi/wa/
Okinawan = ハイサイ- /hai/sai/
Mongolian = Сайн байна уу - /sain/baina/uu/
Taiyu = 食飽未 - /chiah/pa/boe/
Standard Tibetan = བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལེགས - /Ta/shi/dey/leh/
Korean = 안녕 하세요 - /ann/yeong/ha/seyo/

North Asia
Russian = Здравствуйте - /Zdrast/vui/tyeh/
Tatar = Исәнмесез - /ee/san/me/sez/
Tsez = Salam - /sa/lam/
Tuvan = Экии - /e/ki/i/
XYZYL = ezen - /eh/zen/
Kabardian = wezǝnshem - /we/zǝn/shem/
Naukan = sámá - / sām/kut/
Mednyj Aleut

Oceania
Warumungu = biliyiangi - /bi/li/an/ee/
Arrernte = Werte - /wer/da/
Skou = hɛfɛ - /hé/fèng/
Tukang Besi = Uha’amo? - /uha/amo/
Tongan = Malo e lelei - /mah/lo/eh/le/lay/
Maori = Kia ora - /key/a/or/(d)ra/
Fijian = Ni Sa Bula – nee/sahm/boolah/

South Asia
Hindi = नमस्ते - /na/mas/te/
Romani = Sar san - /sar/san/
Tamil = வணக்கம் - /Va/nak/kam/
Punjabi 
Seychelles Hindi = नमस्ते - /na/mas/te/
Bangla (Bengali) = नमस्ते - /nô/mosh/kar/
Dzongkha = Kuzu zangpo la - /koo/zoo/zang/poh/la/
Nepali = नमस्ते - /na/mas/te/
Urdu = علیکمالسلام - /as/salam/’a/lay/kum/
Sinhala = ආයුඛෝවන් - /ā/yu/bū/van/
Sri Lankan Malay = slaamath - /sl/ah/mah/th/
Farsi = درود - /do/rood/
Pashto = ښې چارې - /khe/cha/re/
Afghan Dari = سلام - /sa/laam/

Southeast Asia
Khmer = ជរំ ាបសរួ - /johm/riab/sua/
Indonesian = Salam sejahtera - /se/la/math/se/jah/te/re/
Javanese = Halo - /har/low/
Lao = ສະບາຍດີ - /sá/baa̖ i/dii̖/
Thai = สวสั ดี - sa/wat/dii/
Vietnamese = Chào - /jow/
Tetun = Bondia - /bon/dee/ah/
Fataluku = Rau ana kapare - /raw/ana/kapare
Ivatan = Kapian capa nu dios - /ka/pee/an/ka/pah/nu/dee/os/
Tagalog = Kumusta - /koo/moos/TAH/
Visayan (Cebuano) = Kumusta - /koo/moos/TAH/
Bahasa Malaysia = Selamat sejahtera - /se/la/maht/se/jah/te/re/
Kadazandusun = Kopivosian - /koh/pi/vo/sian/
Burmese = မဂၤလာပါ။ - /Min/ga/la/ba/
Karenni = /te/rya/be/nay/
Mon = məŋɤ̀ raʔ ʔao - /man/gur/ra/ow/
S’aoch

West Asia
Modern Standard Turkish = merhaba - /mer/ha/ba/
Kurdish= سلاو - /si/lau/
Standard Eastern Armenian = /bah/REV/dzez/
Egyptian Arabic = وسهلأاهلا - /ahlan/wa/sahlan/
Georgian = გამარჯობა - /gamarjoba/
Svan = ხოჩა ლადეღ - /kho/cha/la/degh/
Cypriot Greek = Γεια σου - /yeh/suoh/
Western Neo-Aramaic = sloma a’lax - /slo/ma/aʕlɑx/
Yiddish = טָאג גוטןַא - /a/gutn/tog/
Hebrew = שלום - /sha/LOHM/
Amharic

 

From Asia to the Americas
The supercontinent of Pangaea gave rise to a common ecological heritage linking Asia and the Americas, engendering a great exchange of species. Dogs, despite being largely acclimatised to the cold climate of Alaska, in fact originated from Asian lands, only later migrating to North America, while the dawn redwood, a native deciduous tree of China, has had its origins traced back to the USA.
BY YD BAR-NESS

 

Tiny Trails
Fringed by lush vegetation, variegated plant life and an eclectic community of wildlife, these nature trails – developed on different island gems of Asia – are a result of deliberate eorts to conserve the region’s precious biodiversity. We meander through this network of footpaths and learn how the roles played by both biotic and abiotic components provide a framework through which native species can continue to flourish.

 

A Lifelong Journey
Saving the Asian elephant has already been a decades-long journey for Raman Sukumar, an Indian conservation scientist who pioneered the establishment of sanctuaries and corridors in his home country. Yet his work is far from complete. As habitats continue to dwindle, and elephants are impelled to access cultivated areas, the confrontations between man and beast are putting increasing pressure on Asia’s gentle giants.

BY RAMAN SUKUMAR

 

First People of the Arctic
Thousands of years have shaped the lives of the original peoples of the Arctic, true explorers and survivors of one of the world’s most desolate environments. To this day, the natives of the Arctic, including one of the oldest tribes, the Chukchi, continue to thrive. This is a story of perseverance and fortitude, and one of humankind’s greatest journeys.

BY BOGDANA VASHCHENKO

 

Walk on the Wild Side
Sandwiched between the mountains of the Hindu Kush and Karakoram, the Wakhan Corridor linking Afghanistan and China played a vital role in the 19th-century battle for control in Central Asia. Today, devoid of electricity and all extravagance, the Wakhan is a window into history centuries ago, save for a budding education scheme that might

just change everything about the traditional Wakhi way of life.

BY SOPHIE IBBOTSON AND MAX LOVELL-HOARE

 

The Kingdom of Guge
In the early 1600s, a pair of Jesuit explorers, Father António de Andrade and Manuel Marques set foot on the sacred land of Tsaparang, establishing the "rst Catholic mission on Tibetan soil. To get there, they had to "rst traverse the upper Himalayan mountain ranges before descending into a treacherous valley via the Mana Pass. Little did they know that their exploits would ultimately catalyse the downfall of the grand Guge Kingdom.

BY AMARDEEP SINGH

 

 

Balancing the North
We follow a past dream of a Southern continent and see how this reflection of Asia was borne of optimism, errors and ignorance. This feature looks at evidence that previous Northern civilisations had about the Southern Hemisphere and the lines of thought that led them to charta mythical continent. You’ll witness the cartographic meetings of major civilisations and learn a bit about the mapmakers and explorers that finally erased the non-existent continent and replaced it with the cold, icy ocean of the Antarctic.

BY YD BAR-NESS 

Sardine Synchronicity
South Africa’s Sardine Run is well known to wildlife aficionados – and an impressive assortment of fish- loving predators – which celebrate the massive migration as one of the ocean’s most eye-popping spectacles. Yet few realise there is a sardine get-together in the Philippines of equally extravagant proportions that is perhaps even more mysterious.

BY MICHAEL AW

 Protecting Pangolins
While conservation efforts are gaining some traction around the world, lower profile species like the humble pangolin are still taking a backseat to popular animals such as tigers and elephants. But these scaly anteaters offer equally important ecological functions in the wild and the threats they face share many similarities with their charismatic cousins.

BY DAN CHALLENDER, GRACE GE GABRIEL, DARREN PIETERSEN, RAY JANSEN AND LISA HYWOOD

An Oriental Fantasy
The Royal Pavilion in Brighton may be a house fit for an English prince, but its elegant structure could never have been realised without the influence of Chinese, Indian and other Asian heritage. This was the finest and most ostentatious product of Orientalism, a European style that drew inspiration from faraway lands and gave rise to concepts such as Turquerie and Chinoiserie.

BY SOPHIE IBBOTSON AND MAX LOVELL-HOARE

Echoes of Explosion
Krakatau, situated in Indonesia’s Sunda Strait, has its fate intertwined with that of the Greek island
of Santorini, the remains of an enormous eruption that created the current geological caldera. Two major cataclysmic events – centuries and miles apart – resulted in panoramic high islands that are popularly contemplated by tourists today.

BY KHONG SWEE LIN

First Contact
Just how far does the influence of Asiatic peoples extend? Several prominent geographers have
put forward ideas that, though controversial, reveal a fascinating story of pre-European exploration
by the ancient Chinese to Africa. If proven true, these theories may one day explain some unlikely cultural and linguistic similarities between certain peoples hailing from opposite corners of the globe.

BY FLASH PARKER

India’s Superlative Banyan Trees
Asia is the quintessential land of superlatives, framed by the most expansive trees on Earth. The sprawling, titanic banyans are made up of impossibly intricate networks of wood formed by the tropical genera of fig trees, Ficus, with individuals boasting unparalleled crown coverage. Perhaps surprisingly, the largest examples are found in one of the world’s most populous nations, India, sharing the same living space as human beings.
BY YD BAR-NESS

Tambalang
In the tucked away Caluya Islands of the Philippines, it takes a village of tambalang farmers to raise families with college-going children. This environmentally sustainable livelihood was realised by a local fisherman’s knowledge of the unique surrounding reef and the shallow seagrass that promotes seaweed growth, ensuring that every step of this business – from planting to drying – is kept within their community.
BY STEVE DE NEEF

Korea’s Green Growth
In spite of a green growth initiative aimed at drastically increasing renewable energy sources, Korea’s carbon emissions have continued to soar in recent years. With a burgeoning long-term plan that still actively promotes nuclear-based energy, a repetition of the severe environmental degradation experienced during the 1970s is not far from reality. In an era of climate change anxiety, does the Korean government have its priorities right?
BY JOHN POWER

South Island
Take an unforgettable journey through a captivating, picturesque mountain range, gradually giving way to numerous river systems and windswept beaches. Encounter some of the finest glacial landforms in the Southern Hemisphere as the landscape changes dramatically with every step you take on this mesmerising adventure through New Zealand’s South Island.
BY ADRIAN PAGE

A Higher Summit

Follow a team of seven on a quest to find the highest mountain peak of Southeast Asia – a title hitherto given to Myanmar’s Hkakabo Razi. A new contender for the prestigious position rises in the form of Gamlang Razi, also in Myanmar, an intriguing mountain where there are no footsteps to follow – until now.
BY ANDY TYSON

Heaven’s Firing Line
An enigmatic and extraordinary mountain calls for an equally mystical gatekeeper. For close to three decades, the late Mbah Maridjan presided over Mount Merapi, Indonesia’s most active stratovolcano, which has been regularly unleashing pyroclastic wrath since 1548. It remained unsparing even to its most loyal protector, marking the tragedy of his death with a miraculous white banyan.
BY KHONG SWEE LIN

Vanquishing Humbaba

Among the oldest of all recorded tales, the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh recounts how the heroes Gilgamesh and Enkidu travelled to the Cedar Forest to fight the monsters there and be the first to cut down its trees. ASIAN Geographic travels to the original place in Lebanon that inspired this grand tale.

BY YD BAR-NESS

 Sinbad the Sailor
From the world-famous collection of tales One Thousand and One Nights comes the adventures of “Sinbad the Sailor” and his seven voyages. An old manuscript indicates that the appearance of this narrative on the Arab-Islamic culture scene probably took place shortly before the advent of the ninth or even the eighth centuries. ASIAN Geographic lays out the realities that informed this momentous story.

BY HASAN EL-SHAMY

A Mynah Thing
Just as “Old-timers reminisced about the days when they were young” in Mele da Mynah’s Noisy ‘Ohana, we too remember the days when the Bali mynah flourished on the island. Today, its close-to-extinction status has left a bitter taste and conservationists are struggling to keep this stunningly beautiful starling flying high.

BY STEPHAN M FUNK

Yann Martel’s Life of Pi
Life of Pi is faction, a genuine combination of fact and fiction, inspired by real experiences the writer had in a coffee shop in Pondicherry, India. It is in this furnace of sweltering temperatures and exotic smells – unfamiliar to the story’s Canadian author – that an Indian boy named Piscine, a Bengal tiger called Richard Parker, a carnivorous island and an army of meerkats were forged in the creation of the greatest fantasy adventure novel in recent memory.

BY DR MURALI SIVARAMAKRISHNAN

David and Goliath
The biblical story pitting a towering giant against a red-headed shepherd, the future king of Israel, has become a mainstay of Jewish and Christian folklore. Yet the Valley of Elah, near Jerusalem, where the battle took place, may be visited today, and it’s easy to picture the standoff between Israelites and the warmongering Philistines. So how much truth is there to this epic legend?

BY DR RACHEL EINAV

World’s Most Famous Old World Monkey
ASIAN Geographic looks at the two major original stories of this irreverent monkey, in ancient India and ancient China, and sees how these stories resemble each other. We look at how the Monkey King has thrived to this day – his story told in new forms throughout the world.

BY YD BAR-NESS

 

Back from the Edge

Traditional film is still a favourite among creative photographers who seek to experiment with how the medium adds dynamism and depth to the message they aim to convey. Telling stories that unfold frame by frame, two photographers reach out to their audience beyond the edges of each negative to broaden horizons and remove the distance between the audience and the subject.
BY CHOW CHEE YONG (FOR SINGAPORE), WITH JUSTIN ONG (FOR JAKARTA)

An Old World Newly Discovered
The Greater Mekong region of Southeast Asia is a veritable treasure trove of new plant and animal species – at least for the time being. Having found more than 300 new species in the region between 2012 and 2013, scientists are battling against habitat loss, pollution and climate change to bring to light these and the many more mysterious species waiting to be discovered – before they disappear permanently.
BY JODI ROWLEY

Saving a Forest
It takes a village to save a national park. Follow the distinct “thwunk” of trees being felled as ASIAN Geographic charts the progress of the Kosi Gittim villagers who attempt to track down illegal loggers in Balpakram National Park – situated at the border between India and Bangladesh.
BY TRIPP BURWELL

 Between the Atmosphere and the Abyss
A valiant voyage on the very edge
of Asia begins in the uplands of the continent, where altitudes come threateningly close to 9,000 metres. Moving beyond the familiar perspective of the dry land, explorers hit the submerged border that slopes gradually and extends to a deep, debilitating benthic environment – an area leading to forbidden, alien territory.
BY YD BAR-NESS

On the Edge of Happiness
Journeying across Vanuatu, listed number one on the Happy Planet Index, means learning never to go over the edge – especially on the crater rim of the alluring, unpredictable Mount Yasur. It is a nation where ecstatic Ni-Vanuatu wedding celebrations meet humbling reconciliation ceremonies in which conflicts are resolved and harmony must be restored before sundown.
BY WOO WAN LU

Edge of the world
One of the lesser-known cities that outlines Asia, marking where the continent gives way to the ocean, Vladivostok is a seven-day train journey from Moscow – at least until plans for a new high-speed line are realised. Once shut off from the rest of the world to protect Russia’s strategic interests, this “San Francisco of the East” is now set to transform into a hub to foster vibrant trade throughout Asia.
BY SOPHIE IBBOTSON AND MAX LOVELL-HOARE

 

 

 

Reality’s Surrealism
They say art imitates reality, but here’s an artist that chose to engage in a discourse in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together – by way of combining several techniques. The result is a series of complex post-modern works that make a piquant commentary on the modern world, where human beings revel in denial and so often seek
simulated stimuli.
BY VINEET RADHAKRISHNAN

Spirits of the Yellow Leaves
Flitting among the trees just beyond the peripheries of our vision, the members of Thailand’s 400-strong Mlabri tribe have managed to remain largely inconspicuous. The relentless progression of the world, however, is not something they can escape. As its younger members are increasingly exposed to external influences, and conservation efforts fail to address what really matters to the Mlabri, it is humanity as a whole that is in danger of losing a part of our common property – culture.
BY SHU NIMONJIYA

Saving Species on the Brink
Overharvesting of wild Southeast Asian species to meet increased demands for medicinal products has led to several local extinctions, alarming occurrences that risk triggering rapid population declines. A critical component of healthy ecosystems, measures have to be put in place so as to effectively conserve this region’s natural heritage.
BY DR MADHU RAO AND DR WILL DUCKWORTH

Moscow
Large urban conurbations have become synonymous with Asia as the region continues to undergo huge cultural development and economic growth, and this applies just as much to Moscow, the East European capital of Asia’s, and the world’s, largest country. Yet challenges abound for this megacity, which is looking east for solutions to manage future population needs, by way of polycentric structures and the development of new innovative hubs.
BY SOPHIE IBBOTSON AND MAX LOVELL-HOARE

Mustang Movement
Within the imposing Himalayan mountains lies the former kingdom of Mustang that now has to face
the question: Do all roads lead to modernity? Construction of a new highway linking Mustang to China and Nepal is underway and change is creeping into a society that has for centuries remained isolated from the conveniences and pitfalls of modern life. Local people are both excited and apprehensive about where this new path will lead them.
BY SARANSH SEGAL

Dissolving the Myth
While the foreign media popularly portrays North Korea as a depressing industrial landscape populated by faceless official buildings and gloomy people, the reality is very different, both in the vibrant, bustling capital of Pyongyang and the picturesque and unspoiled rural areas that make up much of this isolated pariah state. Hard-working and proud, North Korea’s people are ready to unlock the country’s full potential, if only they may be given the opportunity to do so.
BY ARAM PAN

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Powder Blizzard
Storms of dust and sand
With the potential to transform from microscopic particles that we unconsciously breathe in every minute, to terrifying storms that envelop entire cities and change whole landscapes, dust and sand are unavoidable aspects of the natural landscape. Journey with these forces of Nature to be reckoned with and discover the devastating paths they take across the Asian continent.
BY YD BAR-NESS

Landslides
Inevitable gravity
Gravity exerts an unrelenting pull on the hills and mountains on our planet. The most dramatic consequences of these formidable forces appear as landslides – where massed materials such as rock, soil or mud give way and cascade downwards, wiping out everything in their path. The past and future signs of such destruction are ours to discover, if only we know how to observe.
BY YD BAR-NESS

A Phenomenal Prediction
Understanding the Indian Ocean Dipole
The Indian Ocean Dipole – an irregular oscillation in surface temperature of the eastern and western parts of the ocean – has been proven to have a significant impact on climate around the Indonesian Archipelago, and beyond. While the dipole has been trending upwards over the past decades, increasing the number of severe weather events, the phenomenon could, in turn, help us to anticipate disasters up to as much as six months in advance.
BY DR WENJU CAI

Nature’s Lightning Shows
The thunderstorms of Darwin
Utterly enthralled by the enigmatic nature of dramatic thunderstorms, a photographer from Darwin sets off on a mission to record these beautiful and frightening spectacles in all their glory. Northern Australia’s atypical climate, serving as a major drawcard for both photographers and weather enthusiasts who want to witness these awe-inspiring light shows, lends a hand in delivering some amazing captures of Nature’s unbridled wrath.
BY JACCI INGHAM

The Great Flood
Why the waters rose
Legends and stories of waters rising high and deluging the lands are recorded and passed down through the generations by a number of cultures across Asia. So enduring are these stories that it is hard not to surmise that a phenomenal flood could have been an actual historical event. Even more intriguing than the evidence are the hypothesised causes for such a monumental event – causes that may still have us at their mercy.
BY SOPHIE IBBOTSON AND MAX LOVELL-HOARE 

No One’s Fault (and Everyone’s)
The perilous beauty of the Kashmir Valley
Located at the juncture of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates, the picturesque region of Kashmir is prone to intense seismic activity. The 2005 earthquake wreaked extensive destruction as far as northern Pakistan, claiming more than 75,000 lives. Scientific knowledge, as well as significant improvements in monitoring and infrastructure, is imperative if we are to prevent that tragic history from repeating itself.

BY SOPHIE IBBOTSON AND MAX LOVELL-HOARE

 

 

Pollen
Spiked spheres, orbs with apertures, stars and polygons of indescribable beauty lie all around us – but invisible to the naked eye. Allow scanning electron micrography to give you a glimpse of these minute but mighty grains that do so much, from filling the world with flowers of every hue to revealing secrets of the ancient past.
BY YD BAR-NESS

A Knot in Time
With more than a thousand knots in every square inch, Asia’s finest carpets are crafted only by those with the most dextrous, most patient and most experienced hands. Whether the patterns are prescribed through an intricate code, or emerge as the weaver’s imagination wanders, the minuscule knots of a carpet narrate tales of an ancient art and those who keep it alive.
BY SOPHIE IBBOTSON AND MAX LOVELL-HOARE

The Smallest Slayers
“From the moment the invaders arrived, breathed our air, ate and drank, they were doomed. They were undone, destroyed, after all of man’s weapons and devices had failed, by the tiniest creatures that God in his wisdom put upon this earth. By the toll of a billion deaths, man had earned his immunity, his right to survive among this planet’s infinite organisms. And that right is ours against all challenges. For neither do men live nor die in vain.” – War of the Worlds (2005)
BY STANLEY PERLMAN, MD, PHD

Fragments of Heaven
The breathtaking beauty of ancient mosaics is as unique as it is stunning. Not only does a mosaic make for a grand overall picture, look closely and you will find that each tile is a miniature work of art in itself – some no bigger than a few millimetres across. Revel in these mesmerising masterpieces, created from an art form born in Asia.
BY SOPHIE IBBOTSON AND MAX LOVELL-HOARE

Priest, Pachyderm and Pygmy
A theory gone unheeded for decades finally came to the attention of the scientific community in 2003, when bones of a new, pygmy-sized hominin species were discovered on the island of Flores, Indonesia. Was the one-metre tall “Paula” an early species of human? Or was she a modern human with developmental challenges? Follow the captivating background to the discovery and the unfolding disputes over fact and myth.
BY KHONG SWEE LIN

Little People of the Andaman Islands
What the Jarawa may lack in size, they make up for with sophisticated hunting technology and an intricate knowledge of their natural environment. Isolated for centuries, these little people have developed sharp survival instincts, making intelligent use of the resources offered by their surroundings. But with modern encroachment, these unique tribespeople are being gradually assimilated into the mainstream, their traditional way of life perhaps soon lost forever.
BY JAYANTA SARKAR

The World’s Wee Riches
Tales of wealth from the far reaches of the unchartered world set fleets sailing from the shores of ancient European powers to the spice-rich lands of Asia. The romantic, tumultuous history of the spice trade is replete with stories of war, conquest and foul play – all for the sake of the tiny grains and powders that changed medicinal and culinary history.
BY P.N. RAVINDRAN

 

 

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