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Turkey

Mayan Believers: Coastal Turkish Town To Be Spared Doomsday, Ark Awaits

The Aegean town of Sirince has just 600 residents, but thousands are flocking there to survive supposed "end of the world" on Friday.

HURRIYET, ANATOLIAN NEWS AGENCY (Turkey)

Worldcrunch

SIRINCE - Thousands of believers in the "Doomsday" scenario based on an interpretation of the Mayan Calendar are flocking to this small Aegean town that some New Age groups say will survive Friday's supposed End of the World.

For Sirince, along with a village in the south of France, the predicted impending Apocalypse has been good business. The town of 600 residents, is normally popular in the summer tourist season thanks to its proximity to the Greek historic city of Ephesus, but is always quiet in December, with only a few rooms in guesthouses being occupied, notes the Istanbul-based daily Hurriyet.

This year, the town is far above capacity with more 60,000 visitors expected in the lead up to Friday's "duck the doomsday" event. An international organization called the Blue Energy Group, has spread the belief that Sirince and the French village of Bugarach will be the only two locations to survive Dec. 21.

Doomsday believers claim that Sirince has good energy and some Christians believe that it was the place where the Virgin Mary ascended to heaven. Some groups believe that a boat resembling Noah’s Ark, will arrive at the foot of the village and rescue believers.

Locals in Sirince are viewing the event as a business opportunity, with hotel owners bumping up their rates and local restaurants creating "doomsday" fixed menus and special cocktails.

"Thanks to this doomsday belief, the number of people visiting Sirince and (nearby) Selcuk has increased." Ä°zmir’s Culture and Tourism Director Abdülaziz Ediz told the Anatolian News Agency. "We can’t ignore people who believe in the end of the world, but at the same time, we cannot believe that the doomsday will actually occur."

Local villagers in Sirince are also happy to welcome "doomsday" tourists. "I wish this was a yearly occurrence, so more people would come to our village in the winter and bring more business," Sirince resident Ä°brahim Katac told Hurriyet.

[rebelmouse-image 27086109 alt="""" original_size="499x333" expand=1]

Local dwellers preparing "the end of the world" - source: featkae

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Society

How WeChat Is Helping Bhutan's Disappearing Languages Find A New Voice

Phd candidate Tashi Dema, from the University of New England, discusses how social media apps, particularly WeChat, are helping to preserve local Bhutanese languages without a written alphabet. Dema argues that preservation of these languages has far-reaching benefits for the small Himalayan country's rich culture and tradition.

A monk in red performing while a sillouhet of a monk is being illuminated by their phone.

Monk performing while a sillouheted monk is on their phone

Source: Caterina Sanders/Unsplash
Tashi Dema

THIMPHU — Dechen, 40, grew up in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Her native language was Mangdip, also known as Nyenkha, as her parents are originally from central Bhutan. She went to schools in the city, where the curriculum was predominantly taught in Dzongkha, the national language, and English.

In Dechen’s house, everyone spoke Dzongkha. She only spoke her mother tongue when she had guests from her village, who could not understand Dzongkha and during her occasional visits to her village nestled in the mountains. Her mother tongue knowledge was limited.

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However, things have now changed.

With 90% of Bhutanese people using social media and social media penetrating all remotes areas in Bhutan, Dechen’s relatives in remote villages are connected on WeChat.

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