10 interesting and Surprising Facts About Asian Culture

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Asian culture is unique. From different New Years to water festivals, and zodiacs, there is so much to discover.

No doubt Asia is a continent where the richness of culture is abundant. And it is this very diversity that fascinates millions of people worldwide. So it’s of little wonder why many have used Asia as a means of inspiration to help ignite their creativity. In fact, various forms of entertainment have adopted Asian themes simply because they’re visually appealing and enjoyable. From architecture, literature, cuisine, traditional music, and performing arts – even the online casino industry has taken a leaf from this melting pot. 

1. Mandarin Chinese is the most commonly spoken language in the world

In Asia, there are over 2300 languages that are recognized. But the most commonly spoken language in the continent and the world, with 918 million native speakers- is Mandarin Chinese. 

It is the official language of China, Taiwan, and Singapore- whilst it’s also spoken in Malaysia, Macau, and Hong Kong.

2. There has never been a McDonald’s in Cambodia 

It sounds pretty strange, right- but it’s true! We’re not entirely sure why you can’t find a Big Mac in a shopping mall, but rumour has it that it might be because Burger King and KFC owners are not all that keen on the competition. In other Southeast Asian countries, finding the golden arch on every corner can be a bit more challenging than you can in the U.S. 

3. South Korea has a day to celebrate single people

In South Korea, Valentine’s Day (February 14) is celebrated with a slight difference from Westerners — women typically gift men with chocolate on Valentine’s Day. Then, a month later, White Day is when men reciprocate a gift to women. 

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Calling all the single ladies! Black Day, or Singles Day, April 14, is a day to honour being unmarried or unattached to someone romantically. It’s celebrated by hanging out with friends over a bowl of jajangmyeon, the black noodle dish that gives the day its name.

4. China owns all the pandas in the world

Every giant panda you’ve watched on YouTube and teared up over because “it’s so cute” is most likely owned by the People’s Republic of China.

As pandas are China’s legal property, they can be loaned out to other nations and placed in zoos. The standard loan terms include a fee of up to US $1 million per year and a requirement that any cubs born are the property of the Chinese government during the loan period. 

5. Spot the national anthem on Singapore’s $1,000 note 

Ever read the fine print on Singapore’s notes? Maybe you were taken back because you’re holding a note worth $1000, so the finer details may have slipped your mind. 

But if you had your microscope out, you might have noticed in Malay the lyrics to Singapore’s national anthem, the ‘Majulah Singapura‘, written in micro-print on the back of the $1000 note. 

6. Grass 草 = ‘LOL’ in Japanese internet slang

In Japanese, if you want to say laughing out loud or ‘LOL’, you use a certain kanji, , that means grass. 

Bear with me. So, normally, you’d use the kanji, ‘Wara’, or ‘laugh’ to convey you are laughing. But, when you want to say ‘hahaha’ or ‘LOL’ via text, you have to type out the kanji ‘Wara’ repeatedly. 

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So people just started typing ‘www’ instead. Then they thought, “hey that looks like blades of grass”. This led netizens to using the kanji ‘Kusa’ , meaning grass, to symbolize laughing out loud.

7. Heads are considered sacred and where the spirit resides 

In many Asian cultures, the human head is regarded as the most sacred part of the body. So it’s a custom not to pat a child or a Buddha statue on the head. The feet are considered the dirtiest part of the body as they touch the ground and are furthest away from the head.

8. Thailand AKA Land of the free

Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that Europeans haven’t colonized. And in the Thai language, the name of Thailand is Prathet Thai, which translates to “land of the free”- pretty fitting. 

9. Man in the Moon, or is it the Rabbit?

You’ve heard of the Man in the Moon, but what about the Rabbit on the moon? 

In East Asia, the pareidolia is a Moon rabbit or a Moon hare pounding something with a mortar and pestle. 

But what the rabbit is making depends on the region and its culture’s interpretation. The legend of the Moon Rabbit can be seen in China, Japan, India, Korea, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar.

10. The game Chess was invented in India

Some evidence suggests that the game of chess originated in northern India during the 6th century. The game; Chaturanga, is regarded as the earliest precursor of modern chess as it included two features that were found in later chess variants. 

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