I’ve been fortunate enough to get my grubby hands on a 2010 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. And boy has the book changed since I was a kid! Not just the obvious lack of the legendary Guinness logo – obviously falling foul of these politically “correct” times – but also its shift to being an illustrated product with lots of fancy pics from what I would call a text-oriented reference book of lore.
Anyway, while browsing through the book I noticed there were only two or three references to Indonesia - not many when you consider Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country. So with a bit of help from Google and from what I already know I’ve tried to put together a list of Indonesian world records. I guess this will be a sort of work in progress and I’ll keep adding to it as new stuff comes to light. Any suggestions, would, of course, be appreciated!
1. Loudest sound ever recorded. The eruption of Krakatau volcano in 1883 was so huge that the top of the volcano literally blew off, creating the loudest sound on human record. The sound of the eruption even reached as far as Australia, some 3,450 kilometers to the east! Huge tsunamis were also generated, with waves up to 30 meters tall. Less than 80 years ago, Anak Krakatau rose from where the crater of its parent, Krakatau, used to be.
2. Smallest seahorse. An adult pygmy seahorse is typically just 16mm long – smaller than an average human fingernail. It is the smallest seahorse on record and was discovered in 2003 in the delicate corals of the Flores Sea. Masters of disguise, the original specimens were discovered only after their host gorgonian had been collected and placed in an aquarium. The pygmy seahorse below was discovered at a depth of around 32 m near the Tulamben shipwreck in Bali. But can you see it?
4. Largest gold mine. The Grasberg mine is the largest gold mine and the third largest copper mine in the world. It is located in the province of Papua near Puncak Jaya, the highest mountain in Papua, and it has 19,500 employees. It is majority owned through a subsidiary by Freeport-McMoRan, based in the United States (67.3%), along with its wholly owned subsidiary, PT Indocopper Investama Corporation (9.3%), and the government of Indonesia (9.3%), and additionally, a production sharing joint venture with Rio Tinto Group (13%).
3. Longest lasting earthquake. The Sumatra earthquake in the Indian Ocean on 26 December 2004 was the longest lasting quake ever recorded. Its duration lasted between 500 and 600 seconds and measured from between 9.1 to 9.3 on the Richter scale.
5. Largest producer of instant noodles. Indofood Sukses Makmur is the world's largest producer of instant noodles with an installed annual production capacity of over 13 billion processed packs and 23 manufacturing plants across the archipelago. The company is indirectly owned by Sudono Salim - one of Indonesia’s wealthiest tycoons. Indofood is also the owner of Bogasari Flour Mills - the world’s largest flour mill company in the world!
6. Most number of endangered mammals – Indonesia has an estimated 667 mammal species – more than any other country – of which the UN says 146 are threatened. These include the binturong (Asian bearcat), the Javan rhino (nearly extinct, only 60 left) and, of course, the incredible orangutans of Borneo and Sumatra.
7. Country with the most Muslims. With an estimated 86% of its 228 million citizens being Muslim, Indonesia has more Muslims than any other country.
8. Largest flower. Rafflesia arnoldi – the rare blood-red Rafflesia arnoldi is the largest individual flower on earth and can grow up to 3 feet (90 centimeters) across and weigh up to 24 pounds (11 kilos). It is found growing on the jungle floor in Indonesia’s rainforests and unfortunately also smells a lot like shit.
9. Greatest lightning activity. In the Guinness Book of World Records, Cibinong in West Java is recognized as the place with the highest lightning activity in the world. In 1988, the local weather station recorded 322 days with lightning.
10. Largest mud lake. The huge mud lake in the Porong sub-district of East Java has been ongoing since May 2006 after a botched drilling attempt provided a way for the mud to spew out of the ground. Many villagers have not been compensated even though they lost their homes, but hey Indonesia now has the largest mud bath in the world, so why grumble?
11. Largest Buddhist temple complex. Borobodur, is a remarkable architectural achievement, and considered by many to be one of the seven wonders of the world. Its size: 60,000 m3.
12. Fastest growing plant. In the jungles of Indonesia you can find the world’s fastest growing plant. Called the krubi, it looks a bit like an overgrown tulip but with a long spike growing upward out of its center. And boy does it grow – taking only a few days to soar to heights of 10 feet before quickly dying.
13. Smallest Fish. The Paedocypris fish is the world’s smallest fish being only 7.9mm long. It is found in the swamps of Sumatra and lives in very acidic waters meaning it is very difficult to keep in captivity.
14. Suparwono, the world’s tallest man. Well not quite. But almost.
15. Garuda Wisnu Kencana – The World's Highest Statue (not yet).
16. The world’s largest nasi goring? Well certainly the largest I've ever seen!
17. Jakarta. We are not quite there yet, but according to Templeton Asset Management Ltd.’s legendary fund manager Mark Mobius, Indonesia's capital city Jakarta will be the largest city in the world within two decades.
18. Parung is home to the world’s Largest Quran.