Huenan or Huen-an (闞胤) is a country with approximately 3.5 million inhabitants south of Vietnam and Cambodia. Almost three quarters of the population lives in the nation's capital, Fuu-hian (福亨), which is an important trade port and industrial center in Southeast Asia.
- 1 geography
- 2 history and politics
- 3 culture
- 4 economy and society
Huenan consists of two large islands, Taga-kao (大島) and Niǝ-kao (北島), and over 50 smaller islands, 7 of which are inhabited. Of both the main islands, the eastern parts are hilly or mountainous (highest peak is 1643m), which is an extension of a mountainous area in Cambodia and the Vietnamese island of Phú Quốc. The western parts are flat and marshy; most of this area is in use as agricultural land (rice farming predominantly). In the southwest and a few smaller areas there are mangroves. The rocky coasts on the east, on the other hand, are in many places surrounded by coral reefs.
The average temperature throughout the year is 27°C. The daily temperature rarely drops below 21°C, and is rarely higher than 34°C. Rainfall varies from almost nothing in February to 20 to 30cm per month in May to October (during this period, it rains on more than half of days). The average yearly total is close to 2m.
Huenan has approximately 3,560,000 inhabitants (2010 census)*, some 2,527,000 of which (ca. 70%) are citizens. The remainder are immigrants without citizenship. In the five-yearly census, inhabitants are asked to self-identify ethnically/nationally. The following table shows the results of the 2010 census with numbers of inhabitants in thousands:
|mixed Huenanese, other||51||1.4%||51||2.0%|
It should be noted that this self-identification question is a closed question. Respondents have to choose from one of the above categories. Because respondents choose categories themselves, the data is not reliable for more essentialist approaches to ethnicity. Furthermore, a substantial number of inhabitants changes ethnic/national self-identification between censuses. Most common is re-identification of mixed Huenanese as Huenanese. Considering that the Huenanese people is the historical product of mixing of various immigrant flows, this is considered quite appropriate by some commentators. In the last four decades, immigration has especially radically changed the ethnic composition of Huenanese society. 40 years ago, some 66% was Huenanese and another 19% mixed Huenanese (mostly Chinese-Huenanese), but nowadays, even when adding up these groups, the Huenanese are less than half of the total population (but of course, they still form a majority among citizens).
The three largest minority groups are the Chinese, Cambodians (almost all Khmer), and Vietnamese. Most of the latter two groups came as refugees in the 1970s and early 1980s (some indirectly), or descends from those, but a substantial part of the Cambodian minority migrated for purely economic reasons in the last two decades. Many of the refugees and their descendants are Huenanese citizens. It is for this reason that among the total population the share of Cambodians is higher, while among citizens there are more Vietnamese.
The Chinese, the largest minority group consists partly of descendants of Chinese that have lived in Huenan (mostly Fuu-hian) for generations, but many come from elsewhere: Hong Kong, Taiwan, and from various other Southeast Asian countries with Chinese minorities. A much smaller number came from mainland China.
note (*): Extending average annual population growth in the period 2005-2010 to the period since last census would mean that there were some 3,750,000 in early 2012.
The following are the largest cities in Huenan with their numbers of inhabitants (2010 census) in thousands:
There are a further 6 cities with between 20 and 30,000, and 11 with between 10 and 20,000 inhabitants. (On the map(s), these are represented by bigger and smaller dots respectively.)
history and politics
- Main Article: History of Huenan
Huenan has been inhabited for approximately 60.000 years. For most of the last two millennia it was part of continental kingdoms or empires, mostly Khmer, but more recently Vietnamese and French. During the Vietnam war, it became independent with American support (in 1971), and quickly started to develop economically as trading port and center of production. One third of the current population of Huenan are immigrants that came since independence looking for work in the harbor or one of the many factories or other companies that have been established since.
In official orthography, the name "Huenan" should be hyphenated, "Huen-an", and pronounced /çu̯ɛn.ɑn/, but the English unhyphenated version became standard, and the name tends to be pronounced in English something like /hʲʊː.nʌ̆n/, which became common even in Huenan itself. In Huenanese, the name is written 闞胤 and always pronounced /çu̯ɛn.ɑn/. The two characters in the name where chosen (primarily) for sound, not for meaning.
- 闞 represents a proto-Huenanese word reconstructed as *hʷæːn and commonly assumed to mean 'we' (first person plural pronoun'). Based on that word, Yue Chinese traders named the country 闞, which was (and is) a Chinese family name and relatively close in pronunciation. Nowadays, 闞 - huen in modern Huenanese - is the (abreviated) name for both the country and the people in languages that use Chinese characters.
- 胤 replaces the identically pronounced 家, which represented proto-Huenanese *aːn meaning something like 'this place, homeland, hometown'. The word an came to refer to the most basic social structure of traditional Huenanese society and is translated as village, clan, or (very extended) family dependent on context. (See the section on prehistory on the page about the history of Huenan.) It is to represent this usage that the character 家 was chosen, and in the compound 闞家 that meaning was extended to 'village/clan/family (an) of the Huen people'. The nationalist government of the early 1970s replaced 家 with 胤, meaning 'inheritance' or 'heir', however, because they considered 家 to be inappropriate for a (the) country name. (The character 家 means 'house', but also occurs in the word for 'state' and many other compounds. Which of these uses exactly offended the nationalist government is (still) not well understood.) Because of the change, the name "Huen-an" came to mean something like 'inheritance of the Huen people', although it is intended to (more or less) mean both that and 'village/clan/family (an) of the Huen people' (the version with 家). (But either meaning seems to fit well with the nationalist agenda.)
Huenan got its first flag in 1947. It was designed by under-governor Jacques Fournier of 'Fouhan' (the French name for Fuu-hian and Huenan) and based on the flag of the French colony of Cochinchina. That flag was yellow with three narrow blue horizontal lines in the middle. The flag of 'Fouhan' was blue with two white lines (representing the two main islands). After independence two symbols were added: a red tree-frog, which was the symbol of the wartime resistance and post-war independence movement, and a white star symbolizing statehood (this was adopted from the US flag that has one star per state). The state emblem consists just of the frog and star, usually in dark blue on a white background.
government and politics
- Main Article: Politics of Huenan
Huenan is a presidential republic with a unicameral parliament. Both president and parliament are directly elected by citizens. Close to 30% of residents of Huenan are not citizens, and therefore, have no (direct) political influence. Current president is Mou Siun-en (莫嵩彥) of the Democratic Party.
Huenanese law distinguishes citizenship and nationality, although internationally the distinction is irrelevant, and passports are issued to citizens and nationals equally.
Huenanese nationality is legally defined as being the result of being born either of at least one parent with Huenanese nationality and residency in Huenan, or being born of two parents with Huenanese nationality elsewhere. (Residency is defined as living within the territory of Huenan for more than half of the year.) Nationality can neither be lost, nor gained. (There is no 'naturalization', but there is a procedure to acquire citizenship.)
Huenanese nationality automatically grants citizenship. Any resident without Huenanese nationality can apply for citizenship, which will be granted if he/she satisfies the requirements (language proficiency and good conduct). Like nationality, citizenship cannot be lost, but unlike nationality, it can be given up.
Effectively, the distinction between citizenship and nationality is irrelevant. Internationally, people in either category are considered to have Huenanese nationality. Internally, the distinction is also of limited relevance: 'nationality' (in the Huenanese legal sense) gives no other rights than automatic citizenship; it is citizenship that determines rights. The distinction only exists because the nationalist government of the early 1970s insisted on a separate (higher) status for nationals. In other words, in Huenan 'nationality' is an ideological category more than a legal category, while 'citizenship' is the legal category that is elsewhere called 'nationality'.
recognition and territorial conflicts
After independence in 1971, Huenan was not immediately recognized by countries in the Soviet and Chinese spheres of influence. Most recognized the country in the 1980s. Vietnam and Laos recognized Huenan in 1986. After that, trade with Vietnam increased, despite an official US embargo until 1989. Recognition by China followed in 1990, in exchange for recognition of China and official withdrawal of recognition of Taiwan. Until that time, Huenan only recognized Taiwan (and Taiwan's claim on the whole of China). Unsurprisingly, withdrawal of official recognition considerably cooled down relations with Taiwan, but because Huenan never changed its de facto recognition of Taiwan (it never withdrew its ambassador, for example: the change was mere formal), in the second half of the 1990s relations recovered. In 1992 Cambodia recognized Huenan. The former Vietnam-controlled government had already recognized the country in 1986, but this was later considered to be invalid, and thus had to be reconfirmed. The last Southeast Asian country to recognize Huenan was Dhram Phá in 2012.
Officially, Huenan claims several uninhabited islands in its vicinity. All of these are under Vietnamese control. The small islands west of Huenan, known under their Vietnamese name as Thổ Châu, are also claimed by Cambodia. When Cambodia occupied them in the early 1970s, Vietnam massacred every single occupying soldier, which convinced Huenan to never militarily enforce its territorial claims.
In practice, territorial conflict is avoided by an unofficial mutual agreement between Huenan and Vietnam that both will keep military and coast guard away from the disputed areas (as much as possible in case of de facto owner Vietnam; completely in case of Huenan), and do not restrict civilian and commercial access (except to protect the environment).
Huenanese culture is a mixture of various influences, but the Chinese influence has been most important. Language and religion are almost Chinese, for example. Nevertheless, there are also important other influences, Southeast Asian and indigenous. More recently, the various immigrant communities are enriching (or deteriorating according to some conservative nationalists) Huenanese culture.
Huenan has two official languages, Huen-jyy (Huenanese) and English, and a further five recognized minority languages: Yue (Cantonese), Min, Hakka, Vietnamese, and Khmer. The Huenanese government measures language proficiency for the two official languages on a scale of 1 to 5:
- L5 : native level;
- L4 : high professional level (sufficient for professional specialists);
- L3 : professional level (sufficient for normal business communication, and so forth);
- L2 : intermediate level;
- L1 : low level (barely sufficient for taking care of daily necessities).
In official statistics, L5 and L4 are usually combined. According to official estimates, the following are the percentages of inhabitants/citizens per proficiency level for the two official languages:
('inhab.' = inhabitants; 'cit.' = citizens)
The main requirement for citizenship is an L4 or L5 score on either official language, and an L2 or higher score on the other.
In addition to the official languages and recognized minority languages (which all are officially supported to some extent), there is a large number of other minority languages spoken by immigrants. These include Wu and Mandarin Chinese, Malay, Filipino (and some other Philippine languages), Thai, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu (and a few other Indian languages). French has almost completely disappeared. (Aside from the older generation, most of the descendants of the few remaining French are mixed French-Huenanese and speak Huenanese.)
- Main Article: Huen-jyy
Huen-jyy or Huenanese is a mostly isolating language written in Chinese characters, and usually classified as a Sinitic language with an unidentified substrate. The current grammar of the language seems to have developed mostly, but not completely, from Middle Chinese, and most of the vocabulary derives from Yue (Cantonese). Of the 3000 or so commonly used characters, less than 10% have a pronunciation that is not a phonological adaptation of Yue. For most of these indigenous words, it has been shown that they derive from Mon-Khmer. The grammatical deviation (from Chinese) is not Khmer, however, but seems to be of an older, unknown language, perhaps the language of the pre-Khmer natives of Huenan. There are no records of the language(s) spoken on Huenan before the 20th century, however, so attempts at reconstruction are mostly speculative.
- Main Article: Huenanese names
Like most Asian names, Huenanese names are family name first, given name(s) second. Family names always consist of a single character. Given names consist of one or two characters. When someone becomes a citizen, an official name in either Chinese characters (corresponding with this standard) or in Latin script has to be adopted (and in the latter case, the family name will consist of one word, and only one given name can remain, although that can consist of two words connected by a hyphen).
The majority of Huenanese is Buddhist, mostly Mahayana. Largest religious group adheres to the mixture of Confucianism, (religious) Taoism (see also Chinese folk religion), and Mahayana Buddhism (abbreviated CTB in the table below) that is also dominant in China and Vietnam. Roman-Catholicism was brought by the French, but did not spread much beyond the French-Huenanese (mixed) community and their descendants. Other religions are predominantly immigrant religions. This is clearly visible in the table below, which shows significant differences for the percentages among inhabitants (inhab.) and citizens (cit.):
|other or non-religious||8.8%||9.4%|
(to be added)
Most popular sports in Huenan are football (soccer), baseball, various martial arts, and artistic gymnastics. This popularity is mostly the result of the fact that these sports are commonly part of physical education classes from primary education onwards.
economy and society
In 2011, Huenan had a GDP of 160,714 mln US$, and a GDP/capita of 42,857 US$. Most of that GDP is due to the nation's capital Fuu-hian, which has a GDP/capita of approximately 48,000, contrasting with around 30,000 in the rest of the country.
harbor and industry
The heart of the Huenanese economy is Fuu-hian harbor, which grew in four decades from a minor trading port to one of the main industrial and trading centers of Southeast Asia. During that period, the harbor itself grew considerably in size, but so did industry and trade-related services. From the 1970s onwards, a special government agency occupied itself with finding cheap resources in the wider region that could be shipped to Fuu-hian, made into something more valuable there, and then re-exported. Perhaps, most of the growth of industry was due to foreign investment, however, initially mostly American (and to a lesser extent European), but in the 1980s Japan became a major investor, and in the last two decades investments from various other countries including Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, and China increased. Much of these investments are factories producing a variety of goods. Initially these were mostly low-technological goods, but with the Japanese investments this started to change, and currently a variety of high- and low-technological goods is produced in Huenan. Aside from manufacturing, Fuu-hian became a major financial center as a spin-off of trade-related services.
Huenan is a popular tourist destination. Most tourists go to the capital Fuu-hian and/or tourist resorts along the north-eastern coast of the main island, Taga-kao, which is an attractive area for diving thanks to its coral reefs. Other popular tourist attractions are canoeing in the mangroves in the southwest of Taga-kao, and hiking in the national parks (which do not offer particularly high mountains or difficult walking terrain, but a generally pleasurable hiking environment and many nice views). For those with particularly large budgets, there is the possibility of renting an island, as several uninhabited islands have luxury villas (often just one) with personnel.
main imports and exports
Not counting industrial resources that are imported purely for the purpose of production and (re-) export of/as more valuable goods, the main import is food and other agricultural products.
(more to be added)
Fuu-hian and a few smaller cities in its vicinity are serviced by trains ('lightrail' in European perspective), but outside that area public transportation is limited to buses. There is a dense network of well-maintained roads that connects all cities except one, Paa-jao on the island of Kere-kao. Since 1997 the two main islands are connected by bridge. Construction thereof was considered a useless prestige project by many, but since its completion the GDP/capita of the northern island, Niǝ-kao, rose quickly to (currently) almost the same level of most of the countryside of the main island, Taga-kao, which silenced all previous critics.
Huenan has two national TV stations and three radio stations, and a few commercial TV and radio stations. Most broadcast in Huenanese and/or English. There are daily newspapers in both languages too, and weeklies in some of the minority languages. The main daily newspapers are loosely associated with some of the main political movements.
see also: 新朝報.
- Main Article: Education in Huenan
The Huenanese educational system is largely based on the American system. Primary education starts in the year a child becomes 6 years old and lasts 5 years. It is followed by 4 years of junior high school, and 3 years of high school. After that, most children either go to a vocational school (generally called 'colleges') or to university.
The first institute of higher education in Huenan was 'l'Ecole Française de Fouhan', founded in 1921 in Fuu-hian and still in existence. It offers French-language bachelor degrees in liberal humanities, in theology, and in French language and culture. It is, however, by far the smallest institute of higher education in the country and has less than 100 students in total.
Largest and most important institutes of higher education are Fuuhian University (without the normal hyphen in 'Fuu-hian') and Huenan Technical University, both founded respectively in 1969 and 1971 in Fuu-hian. The latter includes the Huenan Institute of Development Economics (HIDE), which has been very influential on government policies with regards to harbor, industry, and economy since its founding in 1973. (And which, despite its name, employs researchers in many more fields than just economics.)