When it’s time for another New Year’s Eve, the public plaza outside the Centralworld Mall is one of the only places in Bangkok to see an eye-catching fireworks display that attracted thousands of people. Over the past two years, though, I’ve watched the spectacle from the safety of my condominium’s 38th floor, which offers a panoramic view of the city and its many celebrations. The roof was crowded both times but all were masked and stood two meters away from each other.
The Centralworld itself was empty and desolate, like a clown whose mother has passed away. I can guarantee, sight unseen, that you must have seen the same eerie landscapes elsewhere that are usually crowded – Times Square in New York, Oxford Street in London, the Taj Mahal, St. Peter’s Square in Rome.
At the peak of the pandemic, I walked the empty streets of Bangkok, passing some lonely tourists, sex workers and beggars with amputated limbs, and wondered what this world would look like after the end of the world: foggy, barren, haunted, memories only Where there used to be happy people.
Most of the people you know have seen and felt like this in the last two years. Until recently there was no word to describe it but now there is- Kenopsia. It refers to the atmosphere of the place which is usually full of people but is now deserted and quiet. We have been living in Kenopsian cities for two years.
Those who argued against vaccines and one day found themselves in an ICU with a ventilator, must have felt a different and bitter feeling, énoument – has arrived in a future you never expected and wished. You could go back and contemplate your past. ,
All this brings me to John Koenig, about whom not much has been written. He lives in Minnesota with his wife and daughter and describes himself as a graphic designer, although he is also an editor, voice actor, and writer with “a ferocious curiosity about the art and science of being human”. Also known as. He looks like a decent form of Matt Damon and enjoys cycling along the Mississippi.
He also likes to make up words that don’t exist for feelings. We already know those feelings that we can’t even describe ourselves, let alone friends and strangers—the moment you start introducing someone and realize you’ve forgotten their name ; Repetitive fatigue of dealing with the same boring, boring, painful issues over and over; Loneliness of knowing something important but unable to tell anyone about it.
In 2009, Koenig started a blog called The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a home for strange words, either long dead and dug up, or borrowed from other languages or simply created by John Koenig, who studied etymology in college. The blog evolved into a website and was recently published as a book by Simon & Schuster with over 300 words that don’t exist but should be.
Is it a good thing to create new words?
One day, Koenig coined a new word, sonder. It describes the realization that everyone around you is as complex as you are – like an anthill, apparently simple outside but full of complex tunnels and activity within. The term caught on and went viral, appearing online and in the real world, in art galleries and in symphonies, T-shirts and tattoos. Sonder seemed to have filled a hole in the English language and was eagerly welcomed.
Here’s another word that defies explanation, perhaps the most understated English word—okay. back there all right? I once thought it came from reversing kayo (or keo, a boxing abbreviation for ‘knockout’). Google credits this to Orl Korrect, a light-hearted take on ‘all correct’.
But it probably doesn’t matter where OK came from. It meets a unique need and is perfectly fit for the purpose. It fills a hole in the language.
The most useful word I’ve learned from this little glossary came from its title. You might ask, “Why ‘vague suffering’?” And that would be a good question. What’s so sad about 300 New Words?
Well, thanks to Koenig, I now know that sadness is not what one thought, nor a state of sadness and gloom. Suffering comes to us from the Latin word sati, which is also the root of satisfied and satisfied. Originally sadness meant a feeling of fullness that comes from an experience of extreme intensity. It was a rich and complex state of mind, joy and sorrow, excitement and eccentricity, awareness and apathy all mixed together. True sadness was encouraging and satisfying, not depressing.
The day after this pandemic is over, I hope to experience real, exhilarating sadness.
Looked here and there. CY Gopinath, in Bangkok, casts unparalleled light and shadow on Mumbai, the city he grew up in. You can contact him at email@example.com
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The views expressed in this column are those of the individual and do not represent the views of the paper