Mixing Oranges and Orangutans
If you look up orangutan, you will find that it means man of the forest, old man in the woods, little man. That’s not what Ah So says (my amah in Singapore). And she’s malay, so I’ll take her word over all the zoologists. You see, malays can’t see orange as a distinct color. It’s between two colors that I, as an occidental can’t see. She also only sees 3 colors in the rainbow, as do all malays. To a malay, orange is an abstract concept. Like bleem, “The secret integer between three and four.” SecretNumber Going off on a tangent, pi (perimeter) and phi (golden ratio), are abstract concepts to the european. However, phi is not an abstract concept to the african worldview and pi may not be abstract to the amerind. Weird. So they borrowed a word from english, to name this artifical color (to them) and cocatonated it with utan, or man. So the word really means orange man (or actually, between color A and color B man). I’ve seen speculation that when the locals speak of “little man” they might be talking about Flories man, the hobbit. Nope! it’s the orangutan. Prior to this made up word, to them, they use the terms little man, old man etc. Which are really just different tranliterations of the word utan. It doesn’t translate exactly. It seems that malays can speak better malay than anthropologists. So mixing oranges and orangutans isn’t that far off. As an aside malays don’t think of them themselves as Malay ethnically but part of the Austronesian family. Conceptualizing something for which a mental framework does not exist is a major problem both in thinking and language. Meditate on bleem and see what I mean. The mind can’t get any traction. Yet maybe there’s a value between 3 and 4 that IS significant. consider pi at 3.1416 and phi at 1.6180. Hmm!