August: The Adjectival Month of Asia


THIS MONTH, SOME Asian nations will remember the month on their respective calendars printed in red and others by history through print and online.

The name of this month in English in lowercase (“august”) becomes an adjective, not a proper noun. The adjective is defined, according to Merriam-Webster, as “having a formal and impressive quality.” This is one of the three months in the English language that changing the case will change the classification and/or definition of the word. The other months being March (definition only) and May (both classification and definition).

For Chinese, the solar month is normally within the 7th lunar month, known for their religious affairs as the Ghost Month. In short, they are devout.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations was established on this month on the 8th day in 1967. The five member states have one common goal; they are visionary.

Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia have national days fall on this month in calendared order (i.e. 9th, 17th and 31st). To describe their unity as they are founding members of ASEAN since the inception in 1967, it’s fraternal. Individually, Singapore was not ready to put her feet on alone after separation from the Federation of Malaysia in 1965. There is an adjective for that: unwilling. Nonetheless, Singapore became a thriving metropolis and a major global trading hub. Next, Indonesia’s story is different. In 1945, Soekarno declared a short snippet of independence two days after Japan surrendered on World War II. Their vocal chords commenced the action of independence evasive. Malaysia awaited for the people to shout ‘Merdeka’ on the last day of August in 1957, through Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s seven-fold cry, the people finally gave a vociferous repeat.

In the Philippines, Independence Day does not fall on August but has two holidays (Ninoy Aquino Day on 21st and National Heroes’ Day on the last Monday where this year will fall on 25th) with one underlying cause: to promote and to remember the heroism of the pantheons of history. To describe one adjective for our important figures of country when it comes to this month, it’s undaunted.

In Thailand, the public holiday in August falls on the 12th, the birthday of Queen Sirikit, the consort of the longest monarch in the current world, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Thais celebrate this day as Mother’s Day. The consort herself became a prominent icon as a mediator of minorities, particularly the Muslims. For an adjective for the queen consort: conciliatory.

In Japan, August is a contemplative month. On the 6th and 9th of this month in 1945, two atomic bombs instantly ravaged Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On these anniversaries, the mentioned cities will be commemorated with the atoning of the sins of their belligerence and the pleading for the end of nuclear armaments of the world.

In both Koreas (North and South), the month means significant to them. The 15th day in 1945 made them free from Japanese colonialism, call it determinative. Three years later, the South decided to form a better government as a sovereign republic. They want their country broadminded.

Going westward, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were a united British colony until they disbanded in 1947 on August 14 and 15. Before their independence, Gandhi wanted the colonies to be free with nonviolence. His act is described as struggled.

Asia’s special days in August mean something to describe, even in just one word. It’s already inscribed permanently in the books of history.

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[Photos courtesy of:, Wikimedia Commons, PhilNews.Ph]


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