SUMC moments: Dutch treat

A complex follow-up to my 6/27/23 posting “SUMC moments: the apple juice”, where I wrote:

At one point in my most recent SUMC stay we had gotten to the place where I was about to be taken off NPO (see my previous posting “SUMC moments: NPO”) and given some modest real food, but the orders to do this had not yet been issued. The head nurse (about whom more in another posting [this very posting], which will take us to India and the northeast corner of South America) took pity on me and extracted — oh great pleasure! — a tiny box of apple juice for me [from the wonderfully named apple juice company Apple & Eve].

Meanwhile I stared at Sha’s name tag, which said her name was:

Shakoentala Jagroep

I stared, baffled, by the name, with its puzzling OE spellings, until I recognized her first name in this strange spelling. Why, I asked, was Shakuntala — a name of great weight in India — spelled in this fashion? She was startled and impressed by my pronunciation, which I pronounced in Sanskrit fashion, notably with the T and L quite different from an English rendition of the name. “You said it right!”, she exclaimed. And added, cryptically, “The Dutch Empire”, but was then called away on other duties.

Later, I got to ask her what part of the Dutch Empire, guessing Indonesia, surely the biggest piece. But no: little Suriname, in the northeast corner of South America.

I will track through this history below, but first a digressive note about one of the evils of the Dutch in Indonesia.

Geography days in Indonesia. For some years during the Dutch occupation of Indonesia, every schoolchild was meticulously drilled in geography. Not the geography of the vast sprawl of Indonesia, but the geography of the tiny Netherlands — the true home country. I have always been appalled by this cultural theft from the Indonesians.

On to Suriname. From Wikipedia:

Suriname, officially the Republic of Suriname, is a country in northern South America. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west, and Brazil to the south. At just under 165,000 square kilometers (64,000 square miles), it is the smallest sovereign state in South America.

It has a population of approximately 612,985, dominated by descendants from the slaves and labourers brought in from Africa and Asia by the Dutch Empire and Republic. Most of the people live by the country’s (north) coast, in and around its capital and largest city, Paramaribo. It is also one of the least densely populated countries on Earth. Situated slightly north of the equator, Suriname is a tropical country covered in rainforests.

… Europeans arrived in the 16th century, with the Dutch establishing control over much of the country’s current territory by the late 17th century. During the Dutch colonial period, Suriname was a lucrative source of sugar, its plantation economy driven by African slave labour, and after abolition of slavery in 1863, by indentured servants from Asia, predominantly from British India, as well as the Dutch East Indies. In 1954, Suriname became one of the constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 25 November 1975, it left the Kingdom to become an independent state.

The Google map:

(#1) Tucked in between Guyana and French Guiana, just north of Brazil

On to Shakuntala. From Wikipedia:

Shakuntala (Sanskrit: Śakuntalā) is the wife of Dushyanta and the mother of Emperor Bharata. Her story is told in the Adi Parva, the first of eighteen parts of the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata, and dramatized by many writers, the most famous adaptation being Kalidasa’s play Abhijñānaśākuntala (The Sign of Shakuntala)

In a painting:

(#2) “Shakuntala looking back to glimpse Dushyanta”, painting by Raja Ravi Varma (from Wikipedia)

More about Sha. Sha has quite a presence on social media, where you can find a photo  of her looking both regal and warm in a sari. And where you can discover that she has worked at the North Shore-LIJ (Long Island Jewish Medical Center) Health System from 2004 on. Presumably she’s on temporary loan to SUMC, but I had no time to inquire about that.

On my title. From NOAD on the nominal Dutch treat:

an outing, meal, or other special occasion at which each participant pays for their share of the expenses. [with the English contemptuous adjective Dutch / dutch in the sense, roughly, ‘false, feigned’; a Dutch treat is no treat at all, since each person pays for themselves]


4 Responses to “SUMC moments: Dutch treat”

  1. Wilson Says:

    “dangerous symptoms of my advanced kidney disease.”
    I, too, have advanced kidney disease. I asked my nephrologist, “When does it start to hurt?” He replied, “Oh, it doesn’t hurt. You just die.” How does that jibe with your experience?

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      It fits my experience entirely.

    • Robert Coren Says:

      Yes, I remember that when my father experienced increasing kidney failure toward the end of his life (he lived to be 94), he found it reassuring when he learned that death by kidney failure was painless and relatively peaceful. (In the end, congestive heart failure got him first.)

  2. Robert Coren Says:

    As it happens, I have a friend of clearly South Asian ancestry (both by appearance and surname) who is originally from Suriname.

    I vaguely recall from my sixth-grade(!) study of Colonial America that Suriname (which at that time was alternately called Surinam or Dutch Guiana) had been a British possession in the early part of the 17th century, and was handed over to the Netherlands in more or less forced exchange for New Amsterdam (which, of course, thereupon became New York) in the 1650s.

    When I saw the spelling of the nurse’s first name paired with the Dutch-looking surname, and in the same eyeful your more traditional spelling of the given name, I immediately recognized the oe as being the normal Dutch representation of /u/.

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