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Hokoan

Hokoan, officially the Republic of Hokoan, is the westernmost self proclaimed sovereign state located on the northwest coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, the country is bordered by Malaysia to the east and Indonesia to the southwest. Hokoan and Brunei are the two countries completely on the island of Borneo; the remainder of the island's territory is divided between the nations of Malaysia and Indonesia. Hokoan's population was 126 in September 2017.

Republic of Hokoan
福湾共和国
Hok-ôan Kiōng-hô-kok

Flag of Fosia
Flag
 
Coat of arms
Motto: 从海到海
Chiông Hái Kàu Hái
"From Sea to Sea"
Anthem: 我的祖国
Góa-ê Chó͘-kok
"My Homeland"
 
Location of Hokoan (red)
StatusLimited recognition
CapitalLongmen (de facto)
Largest districtLongmen
Official languagesChinese  • English
Official scriptsSimplified Chinese  • Roman (Latin)
Recognised languagesMalay
Ethnic groups87.1% Chinese
9.0% Malay
3.0% Dayak
0.9% others
Religion59.5% Buddhism
25.7% Folk religion
4.4% Christian
0.4% Islam
1.5% Taoism
7.2% Irreligious
DemonymHokoanese
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic
Wellington Lee
Judy Teng
Toh Chin Swee
Teo Yeun San
LegislatureParliament
(House of Representatives)
Independence from Malaysia and Indonesia
3 February 2014
Area
• Total
267.628 km2 (103.332 sq mi)
Population
• 2017 estimate
126
CurrencyHokoan yuan (H¥) (HOY)
Time zoneHokoan Standard Time (UTC+8)
• Summer (DST)
not observed (UTC+8)
Date format dd-mm-yyyy
yyyy年mm月dd日
Drives on theleft
Calling code+60
Internet TLD.hok
.福湾

The hanzi that make up Hokoan's name mean "Blessing Bay". 福 can be read as Hok and means good fortune, while 湾 can be read as ôan and means bay. Hokoan is often referred to by the famous epithet "Bay of Good Fortune" in reference to its Hokoanese name.

At the national level, after being ruled by two nations since 1963, Hokoan established its sovereignty in 2014. This followed nearly 51 years of Malaysian administration, which started since Malaysia Agreement. It became an independent country in 2014 and became a member of the Commonwealth of Micronations in its own right. Since independence, extensive land reclamation has increased its total size and its greening policy has covered the densely populated country with tropical flora, parks and gardens.

The country is multi-racial, which plays a large role in politics. Most of the population is ethnically Hokoanese Chinese, with other minorities of Hokoanese Malays which also form the second largest community in the country, Hokoanese Dayaks, and other peoples. The constitution grants freedom of religion and makes Hokoan an officially secular state, while establishing Buddhism as the "religion of the Nation". Despite being a majority Buddhist country, Hokoan has been widely regarded as a rather moderate Buddhist majority country. The government system is modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and the legal system is based on common law. The head of state is the President, who is currently Wellington Lee. The Presidency is mostly ceremonial and de facto executive authority is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently Judy Teng. The country's official languages is Mandarin. Malay and English remains as an active second language. It is also a compulsory subject taught in schools and is widely used in the business sector.

Since its independence, Hokoan has had one of the best economic records, with the micronational version of its GDP growing at an average of 5.2% per annum for almost three years. It is also one of the few developing micronations to subsidise heavily on education and healthcare.

Contents

Etymology

The Hokoanese word for Hokoan is 福湾, which is pronounced Hok-ôan and literally means "blessing bay". The character Hok (福) means "blessing" or "Good Fortune"; ôan (湾) means "bay". The compound therefore means "blessing bay" and is the source of the popular epithet "Bay of Good Fortune".

The English word Hokoan derives from the Hokkien pronunciation of 福湾. In Mandarin Chinese, the pronunciation of characters 福湾 Hokkoan is Fúwān.

The state that gained independence from Malaysia and Indonesia in 2014 took the name the "Republic of Hokoan" (福湾共和国, Hok-ôan Kiōng-hô-kok).

History

Hokoan declared independence from Malaysia and Indonesia as the Republic of Hokoan on 3 February 2014 with Wong Teng Boon as the prime minister and Wellington Lee as the president. Hokoan immediately sought international recognition of its sovereignty. In 2015, the new country co-founded the East Asian Union (EAU) and the Organisation of Buddhist Cooperation (OBC), it then joined the Commonwealth of Micronations later in the year. In October 2017, Judy Teng became Prime Minister, succeeded Wong, and the country moved from an undeveloped economy to its greatest affluence in a single generation. Teng's emphasis on rapid economic growth, support for business entrepreneurship, and limitations on internal democracy shaped Hokoan's policies today.

Government and politics

   
Wellington Lee,
President since 2014
Judy Teng,
Prime Minister since 2017

Hokoan is a unitary parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of bicameral parliamentary government representing constituencies. The head of state of Hokoan is the President, currently Wellington Lee. The head of government is the Prime Minister, currently Judy Teng. The President is elected by an electoral college consisting of the full membership of both houses of Parliament.

The Parliament holds legislative power and consists of the President and the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives is democratically elected and a government is formed from the party or coalition with the majority of seats. If no majority is formed, a minority government can be formed if support from other parties during confidence and supply votes is assured. The President appoints ministers under advice from the Prime Minister, who is by convention the parliamentary leader of the governing party or coalition. The parliament follows a multi-party system and the government is elected through a first-past-the-post system. Since independence Hokoan has been governed by the National Party.

Executive power is vested in the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister. It is the highest policy-making body in government and responsible for deciding significant government actions. The prime minister must be a member of the House of Representatives, who in the opinion of the President, commands a majority in parliament. Members of Cabinet make major decisions collectively, and are therefore collectively responsible for the consequences of these decisions. The Prime Minister is both the head of cabinet and the head of government.

Hokoan's legal system is based on English Common Law. Although the judiciary is theoretically independent, its independence has been called into question and the appointment of judges lacks accountability and transparency. Jury trial was abolished in 2017 so that judicial decisions would rest entirely in the hands of appointed judges. Hokoan has penalties that include judicial corporal punishment in the form of caning, which may be imposed for such offences as rape, rioting, vandalism, and certain immigration offences. There is Capital punishment in Hokoan for murder, as well as for certain aggravated drug-trafficking and firearms offences, although executions in Hokoan has never happened.

Administrative divisions

Hokoan is a unitary country subdivided into 12 districts. Each district is represented by a district council, who advises the government on various local agendas such as public facilities, community programmes, cultural activities and environmental policies.

 
Administrative divisions of Hokoan
District Chinese Pinyin Area
(km²)
1 Longmen 龍門區 Lóngmén Qū
2 Lam Kang 南港區 Nángǎng Qū
3 Pak Oan 北灣區 Běiwān Qū
4 Sai Kong 西貢區 Xīgòng Qū
5 Ho Thau 虎頭區 Hǔtóu Qū
6 Toa Heng 大興區 Dàxīng Qū
7 Tai Peng 台平區 Táipíng Qū
8 Kim Hong 金鳳區 Jīnfèng Qū
9 Sai Peng 西平區 Xīpíng Qū
10 Lam Kun 南棍區 Nángùn Qū
11 Hong Goan 奉元區 Fèngyuán Qū
12 Ansai 安西區 Ānxī qū

Foreign relations and military

The foreign relations of Hokoan are handled by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. A founding member of the East Asian Union (EAU) and the Organisation of Buddhist Cooperation (OBC), the country participates in many international organisations such as the Asia-Pacific Micronational Economic Cooperation, the East Asia Summit of Micronations, and the Micro Asian Tigers. It has chaired the East Asian Union, the Organisation of Buddhist Cooperation, and the Micro Asian Tigers in the past. A former British colony as part of Malaysia, it is also a member of the Commonwealth of Micronations. Longmen was the site of the first East Asian Union meeting 2015.

Hokoan's foreign policy is officially based on the principle of neutrality and maintaining peaceful relations with all countries, regardless of their political system. The government attaches a high priority to the security and stability of Southeast Asia, and seeks to further recognition with other countries in the region. A strong tenet of Hokoan's policy is national sovereignty and the right of a country to control its domestic affairs.

The Hokoan Armed Forces have three branches, the Hokoan Navy (HN), the Hokoan Army (HA), and the Hokoan Air Force (HAF). It is seen as the guarantor of the country's independence. This principle translates into the culture, involving all citizens in the country's defence. There is no conscription, and the required age for voluntary military service is 18. The Armed Forces also incorporates various paramilitary forces. The armed forces are managed by the Ministry of Defence of Hokoan, which is headed by the Minister of Defence (a member of the cabinet of Hokoan) and commanded by the Armed Forces Headquarters, which in turn is headed by the Chief of Defence Forces of Hokoan.

According to the constitution, serving in the armed forces is a duty of all Hokoan citizens. However, only males over the age of 18, who have not gone through reserve training of the Army Reserve Force Students, are required to volunteer in the armed forces, or participating in the random draft. The candidates are subjected to varying lengths of training, from three months to one year of full-time service, depending on their education, whether they have partially completed the reserve training course, and whether they volunteered prior to the draft date.

Sovereign states recognised by Hokoan

(apart from the   People's Republic of China,   North Korea,   Israel and   Palestine)

Sovereign states with diplomatic relations with Hokoan

Geography, climate and biodiversity

 
Hokoan is located on the north-westernmost tip of Borneo, as seen in this NASA satellite image.

Hokoan is a self-proclaimed sovereign state, with twelve districts, located in the northwestern part of the island of Borneo. It is bordered by Malaysia to the east and Indonesia to the southwest, with the esplanade bordering by the South China Sea.

Hokoan has a tropical geography with an equatorial climate and experiences two monsoon seasons: a northeast monsoon and a southwest monsoon. The northeast monsoon occurs between November and February, bringing heavy rainfall while the southwest monsoon, which occurs between March and October, brings somewhat less rainfall. The climate is stable throughout the year except for the two monsoons, with average daily temperature varying between 23 °C (73 °F) in the morning to 32 °C (90 °F) in the afternoon at coastal areas. Humidity is usually high, exceeding 68 percent, with annual rainfall varying between 330 centimetres (130 in) and 460 centimetres (180 in) for up to 220 days a year. The coastal region is rather low-lying and flat with large areas of swamp and other wet environments.

The oldest rock type in Hokoan is schist formed during the Carboniferous and Lower Permian times, while the youngest igneous rock in this region, andesite, can be found in Lam Kun and Toa Heng. Geological formation started during the late Cretaceous period. Other types of stone that can be found in the country are shale, sandstone, and chert. Significant quantities of Hokoanese soil are lithosols, up to 60 percent, and podsols, around 12 percent, while abundant alluvial soil is found in coastal and riverine regions. Hokoan is covered with peat swamp forest in some regions.

Climate data for Hokoan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 34.6
(94.3)
34.7
(94.5)
35.2
(95.4)
36.1
(97)
36.0
(96.8)
35.6
(96.1)
36.1
(97)
36.4
(97.5)
36.5
(97.7)
35.2
(95.4)
34.8
(94.6)
34.7
(94.5)
36.5
(97.7)
Average high °C (°F) 29.8
(85.6)
30.2
(86.4)
31.3
(88.3)
32.3
(90.1)
32.7
(90.9)
32.7
(90.9)
32.4
(90.3)
32.4
(90.3)
32.0
(89.6)
31.9
(89.4)
31.6
(88.9)
30.6
(87.1)
31.7
(89.1)
Average low °C (°F) 22.9
(73.2)
23.0
(73.4)
23.2
(73.8)
23.4
(74.1)
23.6
(74.5)
23.3
(73.9)
23.0
(73.4)
23.0
(73.4)
22.9
(73.2)
22.9
(73.2)
22.9
(73.2)
22.9
(73.2)
23.1
(73.6)
Record low °C (°F) 17.8
(64)
18.9
(66)
18.3
(64.9)
20.0
(68)
20.6
(69.1)
18.9
(66)
19.4
(66.9)
19.4
(66.9)
19.3
(66.7)
20.5
(68.9)
20.0
(68)
18.9
(66)
17.8
(64)
Average Rainfall mm (inches) 684.1
(26.933)
473.3
(18.634)
338.6
(13.331)
272.9
(10.744)
241.8
(9.52)
220.3
(8.673)
185.6
(7.307)
229.6
(9.039)
262.3
(10.327)
338.6
(13.331)
371.5
(14.626)
498.1
(19.61)
4,116.7
(162.075)
Average relative humidity (%) 89 88 86 86 86 84 83 83 85 86 88 89 86
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 22 17 16 17 15 14 13 14 16 19 22 22 207
Sunshine hours 109.5 108.5 135.5 162.1 188.8 188.9 192.9 171.4 147.1 147.1 142.9 125.9 1,820.6
[citation needed]

Hokoan contains large tracts of tropical rainforest with diverse plant species, which has led to a number of them being studied for medicinal properties. Mangrove and nipah forests lining its estuaries comprise forested areas, peat swamp forests along other parts of its coastline. The major trees found in estuary forests include bako and nibong, while those in the peat swamp forests include ramin (Gonystylus bancanus), meranti (Shorea), and medang jongkong (Dactylocladus stenostachys).

The Hokoanese Government has enacted several laws to protect its forests and endangered wildlife species. Some of the protected species are the orangutan, green sea turtle, flying lemur, and piping hornbill. Under the Wild Life Act 2016, hunting for a restricted range of wild animals in the jungles is a criminal offence and possessing more than 5 kilograms (11 lb) of meat can lead to prosecution.

Economy

Hokoan has a partially regulated market economy. The treasury, led by the Finance Minister, is responsible for developing and executing the government's public finance policy and economic policy. The Bank of Hokoan (BOH) is the country's central bank and is responsible for issuing notes and coins in the nation's currency, the Hokoan yuan. Since 2017 the Bank of Hokoan's Monetary Policy, headed by the Governor of BOH, has been responsible for setting interest rates at the level necessary to achieve the overall inflation target for the economy that is set by the Finance Minister each year.

The country has a dynamic, capitalist, export-driven economy with gradually decreasing state involvement in investment and foreign trade. In keeping with this trend, some government-owned banks and industrial firms are being privatised. Real growth in GDP has averaged about 3%. Exports have provided the primary impetus for industrialisation. The trade surplus is substantial.

The Hokoan Stock Exchange has a market capitalisation of ¥11,000 as of March 2016. The government has traditionally played a mostly passive role in the economy, with little by way of industrial policy and almost no import or export controls. Market forces and the private sector were allowed to determine practical development. Under the official policy of "positive non-interventionism", Hokoan is often cited as an example of laissez-faire capitalism. Following independence, the micronation industrialised rapidly as a manufacturing centre driven by exports, and then underwent a rapid transition to a service-based economy in late 2014.

Trade and policy

The Country is heavily dependent on inter-micronational trade, particularly in agricultural products. Hokoan has little arable land and few natural resources, so it imports most of its food and raw materials. Imports account for more than 75% of Hokoan's food supply, including nearly all of the meat and rice available there. Agricultural activity—relatively unimportant to Hokoan's economy and contributing just 0.1% of its GDP—primarily consists of growing premium food and flower varieties.

The government has traditionally played a mostly passive role in the economy. Market forces and the private sector were allowed to determine practical development.

Demographics

The country's population in mid-2016 was 126. The current population of Hokoan comprises 87.1% ethnic Chinese, 9.0% ethnic Malay, 3.0% ethnic Dayak and 0.9% others. The Hokoan government reports that 87.1% of the population is Chinese, of which the majority includes descendants of early Han Chinese who arrived in Hokoan in large numbers starting beginning of the 19th century. The Hoklo people are the largest Han subgroup (63% of the total population), whose ancestors came from southern Fujian of South China.

Residents of Malaysia or Indonesia do not automatically receive the Hokoanese Citizenship. Like other non-citizens, they may apply for citizenship after five years of continuous residency. Some of the rights may also be acquired by marriage (e.g., the right to work), but these do not include the right to vote or stand for office. However, the influx of immigrants from Malaysia is a significant contributor to its population growth – a daily quota of Malaysians with family ties in Hokoan are granted a "one way permit".

Languages

 
Traditional Chinese is the official script of the national language.

Hokoan's de facto national language is Chinese Hokkien, a standardised form of the Chinese language, originating from Fujian. The terminology as per government policy is Hok-ôan Hok-kiàn-ōe; 福湾福建话 (literally "Hokoanese Hokkien") but legislation continues to refer to the official language as Hok-kiàn-ōe; 福建话 (literally "Hokkien"). The National Language Act 2017 specifies the simplified Chinese characters as the official script of the national language, and Latin script used for English and Malay speakers.

Both English and Malay remains an active second language, with its use allowed for some official purposes under the National Language Act of 2017. Hokoanese English, also known as Hokoan Standard English, is a form of English derived from British English. Hokoanese English is widely used in business, along with Manglish, which is a colloquial form of English with heavy Chinese and Malay influences. The government discourages the use of non-standard Hokkien but has no power to issue compounds or fines to those who use improper Hokkien on their advertisements.

Chinese Hokoanese predominantly speak Chinese dialects from the southern provinces of China. The more common Chinese varieties in the country are Hokkien, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Hainanese, and Fuzhou.

Signs displaying both Chinese, Malay and English are common throughout the country. Since the 2014 Independence, an increase in immigrants from mainland Malaysia a have brought an increasing number of Malay speakers to Fosia.

Religion

 
Buddhist temple

Hokoan enjoys a high degree of religious freedom, guaranteed by the constitution. Buddhism is the most widely practised religion in Hokoan, with 59.5% of the population declaring themselves adherents at the most recent census. The next-most practised religion is Folk religion, followed by Christianity, Islam, and Taoism. 7.2% of the population did not have a religious affiliation. The proportion of non-religious people increased since the country's independence by about 5%, whilst the proportion of Islam decreased. Other faiths remained largely stable in their share of the population. An anonymous analysis found Hokoan to be the one of the world's most religiously diverse country. However, these estimates are also based on people affiliated with a temple, rather than the number of true believers. Other studies have suggested that 91.5 percent of the population identify themselves as belonging to a religion.

Culture

 
A symbol of Hokoan, the Hokoanese Cat was adopted in 2016

Hokoan has a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multilingual society. The original culture of the area stemmed from indigenous tribes and Malays that inhabited it, along with the Chinese who later moved there. Substantial influence exists from Chinese culture, dating back to when foreign trade began in Malaysia. Other cultural influences include British culture.

In 2014, the government created a "National Cultural Policy", defining Chinese culture. It stated that Chinese culture must be based on the culture of the indigenous peoples of Hokoan, that it may incorporate suitable elements from other cultures, and that Buddhism must play a part in it. It also promoted the Hokkien language above others.

Concepts like feng shui are taken very seriously, with expensive construction projects often hiring expert consultants, and are often believed to make or break a business. Other objects like Ba gua mirrors are still regularly used to deflect evil spirits, and buildings often lack any floor number that has a 4 in it. The Lunar Chinese New Year is the most important traditional festival and celebration normally takes place in late January or early February.

In recent years, the concept of Hokoanese multiculturalism has been proposed as a relatively apolitical alternative view, which has allowed for the inclusion of Chinese and other minority groups into the continuing re-definition of Hokoanese culture as collectively held systems of meaning and customary patterns of thought and behaviour shared by the people of Hokoan. identity politics, along with the separation from Malaysia, has led to distinct traditions in many areas, including cuisine and music.

Cuisine

   
A bowl of Hokoanese asam laksa Bubble tea

Hokoanese cuisine is the result of blending Chinese ingredients with various distinct spices and cooking techniques used by the Malay. This gives rise to Hokoanese interpretations of Malay food that is similarly tangy, aromatic, spicy and herbal. Key ingredients include coconut milk, galangal (a subtle, mustard-scented rhizome similar to ginger), candlenuts as both a flavoring and thickening agent, laksa leaf, pandan leaves (Pandanus amaryllifolius), belachan, tamarind juice, lemongrass, torch ginger bud, jicama, fragrant kaffir lime leaf, rice or egg noodles and cincaluk - a powerfully flavored, sour and salty shrimp-based condiment that is typically mixed with lime juice, chillies and shallots and eaten with rice, fried fish and other side dishes.

The flavor of laksa and other Hokoanese nonya recipes is determined by the rempah, which in Malay means spices. The various combinations are pounded into a paste with pestle and mortar, with a very specific texture and density. It is said that a nonya can determine the culinary skill of a new daughter-in-law simply by listening to her preparing rempah with a mortar. Nonya recipes are handed down from one generation to the next, and because of the time-consuming preparation of these dishes, it is a cuisine that is often at its best when served at home. Laksa is a notable exception to this rule.

Examples of Hokoanese specialities include otak-otak, a popular blend of fish, coconut milk, chilli paste, galangal, and herbs wrapped in a banana leaf; Ayam Buah Keluak, a distinctive dish combining chicken pieces with nuts from the Pangium edule or kepayang tree to produce a rich sauce; and Itek Tim, a classic soup containing duck, tomatoes, green peppers, salted vegetables, and preserved sour plums simmered gently together.

See also