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683Re: [ISO8601] Re: Pure ISO 8601 or varied for popular formats

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  • Budai, Andrew
    Sep 3, 2003
      An American reply from Asia.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: 2003 09  03 Wednesday 02:17
      Subject: Re: [ISO8601] Re: Pure ISO 8601 or varied for popular formats

               I was referring to just the date format, not the actual calendar in use. The Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans have been using the year-month-day date order for a VERY LONG time. Just ask Justin JIH ( his site is at http://www.geocities.com/jusjih ). He'll tell you the same thing.

               What I really wonder is how did the US all of a sudden just start using month-day-year order in their dates ("Sunday, January 9, 2000" & "01/09/2000" are examples of written dates. "Sunday, January the ninth, two thousand" & "Sunday, January ninth, two thousand" are examples of the speech used in the US). The US' official language is English, which has always used day-month-year in a written date order in English-speaking countries before the US somehow, "came up with", the month-day-year order. Where did they get this idea from? Maybe they always have written their dates in month-day order and when they needed to put the year in, they just slapped it on as something extra?

               What's accepted in HK? A year-month-day longhand date in English like "2000 January 1 (Saturday)"?
      ==========================================================
      I have an educated guess as to why we Americans got stuck with such an ass backward system.  The first clue is the English language, which used to express dates based on Christian religious traditions of yore, and - by the nature of western European languages - using possessive mode.  First of April, in the Year of the Lord Seventeen Hundred and Sixty-nine.
       
      In numbers,  1st of April, 1769 AD.  The revolutionary American governments wanted to break away from anything that was British, and switched the order around*.  July fourth, 1955.  The growing economic prowess and world leader ambitions would not allow the United States to give up its traditions, even when it meant falling behind Canada, Mexico and the rest of the world.  Hence the US is the only major industrialized nation that has made no effort to subscribe to the SI (Systeme Internationale),  the modernized metric system, although it has been a legal measurement system there for over a century.  The US also starts the week with the weekend, and the first hour of the day is 12, after midnight, instead of zero hour.  You go figure!
       
      Hong Kong is still plugging the British system, but slowly the ISO 8601 system and SI are seeping in.  The cars are still driven on the left side of the highways, the flats are still sold by area of square feet.  Hong Kong has about 45 years to join the standards set by the Mainland Chinese.  However, economic considerations will force Hong Kong and Macao to modernize much sooner than that.

      *A similar madness is what the Taiwan government is cooking up by developing a system for Romanization of Chinese characters, one that is different from the decades-old Pin-yin Chinese system.  Their reason for being different: to spite Beijing. It is a blatant politicizing of a scientific issue.  Never mind the difficulties of those who are trying to tackle the Mandarin language and now have to learn two different methods of reading Chinese characters printed in western letters.

      BUDAI  A. E.  —  Xinzhu City  Taiwan    email: bandi@...
       

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