MANILA, Philippines – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) celebrates its founding anniversary every August 8.
Each country has its own unique culture and history, its charms and quirks. (FAST FACTS: ASEAN)
Did you know these details about the 10 member countries?
- The same family has been in power in Brunei for more than 600 years: the House of Bolkiah. The current Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is descended from the very first ruler, Sultan Mohammad Shah.
- Pointing with your index finger is considered rude. Instead, Bruneians use their thumb.
- Sale of alcohol is not allowed, although non-Muslim tourists can bring in and privately consume alcohol.
- For religious reasons, many Muslim women don’t shake hands with men.
- Angkor Wat is the most iconic temple complex in Cambodia, and one of the oldest religious temples in the world.
- A person’s head is considered the most sacred part of the body in Cambodia. Touching or patting it even in a kind manner is considered rude.
- Cambodians tuck their feet when sitting because they consider it rude to have the feet or soles pointed towards other people.
- Back in the day, birthdays were not celebrated in Cambodia. That’s why older people may not know their exact date of birth, just the year they were born.
- Would you believe that Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world?
- The eruption of Mount Toba in Indonesia was the biggest volcanic blast in the past 2.5 million years. The crater is now the site of a large lake. An earlier theory said its eruption almost wiped human existence, but scientists now say that this was not supported by new data from Africa.
- The Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) was the first Asian team to participate in the FIFA World Cup in 1938.
- The 3-meter-long lizard known as the Komodo Dragon is the largest lizard in the world, and can be found in Indonesia.
- Laos is not the first country you’d think of as the most heavily bombed country in history, but it is. During the Vietnam War, the US dropped bombs on Laos – and some 80 million unexploded bombs are scattered over the country.
- New Year is a 3-day celebration in Laos.
- Malaysia has a highway length of 65,877 km – longer than the Earth’s circumference. The country also has the world’s largest roundabout.
- At 421 meters high, the Menara Kuala Lumpur or KL Tower is the tallest skyscraper in Southeast Asia.
- Men in Myanmar wear skirts. It is called longyi, a sarong-like traditional skirt which can be worn by both men and women.
- Both men and women wear make-up called thanaka, a whitish-yellow paste made from ground bark. It can be put on the face or all over the body.
- The Philippines is Asia’s most predominantly Christian country. By 2050, it is expected to be the 4th largest home for Christians.
- Displaying an inverted flag of the Philippines – with the red on top and blue at the bottom – is done during times of war.
- How many islands does the Philippines have? It’s usually thought to be 7,107, but the latest count puts the figure at 7,641.
- Singapore’s name is derived from “Singa Pura” (Lion City). According to legend, a prince from Palembang came ashore to the island and saw a creature that looked like a lion. Ironically, lions are not native to Singapore.
- Singapore is one of several city-states in the world, aside from Monaco and the Vatican.
- Singaporeans are fast walkers. They take 10.55 seconds to walk 18 meters, according to a 2007 study.
- Krung Thep Mahanakhan Amon Rottanakosin Mahinthrayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Undomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit –or, Bangkok’s official name in full.
- Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country which wasn’t colonized by the Europeans.
- Back in the day, it was common for Buddhist men in Thailand to be a monk at some point in their lives.
- Vietnamese is a difficult language to learn because it has 6 different tones and a slight tweak in the tone changes the meaning of the word.
- Tortoises are considered lucky and sacred in Vietnam.
- Vietnam is a home for motorbikes, with millions plying the streets in the country every day.
How well do you know the 10 ASEAN member countries? Put your trivia knowledge to the test with the quiz below.
How did you fare? Let us know in the comments below. – research by Jorilyn Gaa / Rappler.com