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Open the Doors to Asia

Think of AsianDate blog as the number one destination for finding out everything you need to know about not only Asian women, but also as a window into their daily lives and the richness of Asian cultures. Let us be your primary source for Asian dating advice because our long personal experience has given us insight that we’re happy to share with you. Simply put, we know Asian women, their hopes, dreams, and desires. Gain access to the tools that will teach you about Asian culture and popular Asian destinations. You may even meet your future beloved Asian love! All of this and more can be found on the AsianDate blog.

When President Barack Obama was simply “Barry”

FO/INDONESIA

It’s not our intent to contribute to any of the “birther” nonsense that has, unfortunately, plagued President Barack Obama since before he was elected to be leader of the free world. Just had to clear that up.

What we want to do is take a closer look at President Obama’s globetrotting early years, some of which were spent at Indonesian State Elementary School Menteng 1. President Obama was born in Hawaii to his American mother and Kenyan father. When his parents’ marriage ended, his mother was remarried to an Indonesian man who moved the family to Jakarta in 1967 when our now-president was six years old.

The family settled in a district called Menteng-Dalam, and the first elementary school young Barack attended there was the Santo Fransiskus Asisi Roman Catholic school, which was brand new at the time. This first school was not considered well-to-do at all, and the New York Times reports that President Obama “attended school with children who could not afford to buy shoes.”

The family moved to a different area shortly thereafter, and young Mr. Obama entered the extremely elite Menteng 1. The school, founded in 1934 as a Dutch school, once catered only to Dutch children and a few elite Indonesian children. In 1962, the Dutch handed the school over to the Indonesian government as a state educational institution. At the time, the predominantly Muslim public school was considered one of the best in Jakarta.

At the Catholic school, young Barack was incorrectly listed on input paperwork as Muslim, because his new stepfather was Muslim, though not a devout, practicing one. When the birther groups began circulating their conspiracy theories, they cited this as “evidence” of the future president’s alleged ties to Islam and incorrectly identified Menteng 1 as a radical Muslim madrassa, or boarding school, in shocking displays of blatant Islamophobia and fearmongering.

Menteng 1 was and remains, by all accounts, an inclusive and welcoming elite elementary school. As the Washington Post states:

“The Indonesian government recognizes several religions, and public schools make time for students to practice their faith during school hours. Religious studies are compulsory.

So while Christian students were belting out hymns and reading Bible verses in a classroom on a recent midday break, Muslim students were praying in a mosque.

‘This is a public school that is open for everyone regardless of his religion and ethnicity. We have a mosque, a Bible class and a partnership with the local Hindu temple,’ said vice principal Akhmad Solikhin.”

The school has always prioritized a harmonious relationship between children of different religious faiths, and little “Barry,” as he was called then, could have no way of knowing how violently his little Indonesian elementary school would be thrust into the international spotlight because he had gone there. Thankfully, the school recovered from the ugly accusations.

Barry left Indonesia in 1971 to return to Hawaii and live with his grandparents, but Indonesian children at Menteng 1 still think of him as the boy from their neighborhood who became president of the United States, gathering to cheer him on as he won his re-election to a second term. There’s even a bronze statue of little Barry on the school grounds, commemorating one of the many stops along the way that shaped this man who would be president.

Komodo Dragons are not Mythical Dragons; They’re Real and They Will Bite You in Half

Head portrait of Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) with its tongue out in Komodo Island, Indonesia

Scientific author David Quammen has been quoted saying that the face of a Komodo dragon can appear “as gentle and dim as a basset hound’s,” but you’re certainly not going to want to take one for a walk or toss a Frisbee for it to catch.

The Komodo dragon, named for one of the small Indonesian islands it inhabits, is the largest living lizard in the world. Average size range is about 6-7 feet long and around 175 pounds, though they have been measured at 10 feet in length, and weighing over 300 pounds. The linebacker-sized lizards can also run up to 11 mph when on the hunt.

The Komodo dragon doesn’t hunt purely with speed and brawn, however, but with the poisoning and paralysis caused by its bacteria-filled saliva. As the dominant predators on the handful of islands they inhabit, they’ll eat almost anything; carrion, deer, pigs, smaller dragons, even large water buffalo, and humans.

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When hunting, Komodo dragons rely on camouflage and patience, lying in wait for passing prey. When a victim ambles by, the dragon springs, using its powerful legs, sharp claws, and serrated, shark-like teeth to eviscerate its prey. Escaping the jaws of a Komodo dragon, getting away with only a bite or a scrape but living on to tell the tale, is not really an escape, but a prelude to a slow, painful death.

All that bacteria in the dragon saliva goes to work on its prey, and within 24 hours to a few days, the stricken creature usually dies of blood poisoning. Dragons calmly follow an escapee for miles as the bacteria takes effect, using their keen sense of smell to hone in on the corpse. A dragon can eat a whopping 80 percent of its body weight in a single feeding.

Large mammalian carnivores, such as lions, tend to leave 25 to 30 percent of their kill unconsumed, declining the intestines, hide, skeleton, and hooves. Komodo dragons eat much more efficiently, forsaking only about 12 percent of the prey. They eat bones, hooves, and swaths of hide. They also eat intestines, but only after swinging them vigorously to scatter their contents. This behavior removes feces from the meal.

Because large Komodo dragons cannibalize young ones, the young often roll in fecal material, thereby assuming a scent that the large dragons avoid. The savagery of their elders makes such desperate measures necessary, and is also their own fate.

There Be Dragons

There have been a few instances of humans surviving a Komodo dragon attack, when medical assistance was administered immediately and the bite was not severe to begin with. The jaws of the Komodo dragon can snap an average-sized human in half, but in 2009, a Komodo National Park ranger on Indonesia’s Rinca Island named Maen was miraculously spared after being bitten on his arm.

The dragon snuck into Maen’s office and initially lunged at his leg, and the bite occurred in the ensuing scuffle. After reconstructive surgery and six months of recovery, Maen is back on the job.

Maen was lucky to be at work when he was attacked, as opposed to Phil Bronstein, who was bitten on his foot by a Komodo in 2011. The executive editor had been taking a private behind-the-scenes tour of the Los Angeles Zoo, organized by his then-wife Sharon Stone as a gift because he had always wanted to see a Komodo up close. He also recovered, after surgery and treatment with extensive antibiotics, and his story reminds us to be careful what you wish for, especially if your wish involves dragons.

The Haunted Hotels of Bangkok

Thailand hosts more than 27 million visitors a year, with many of them at least passing through the bustling capital city of Bangkok. Remarkably, large numbers of these visitors who stay in Bangkok hotels might end up encountering another kind of visitor: the paranormal kind.  HOTEL

Five of the Wildest Festivals in the Already-Wild Party Paradise of Thailand

Surin Elephant Festival

Thailand knows how to party. The tropical paradise has become a major recreation destination for both locals and tourists looking for incredible experiences. For a festival to stick out in such a party-packed environment, it must be absolutely incredible. Here are five of the wildest: