Estimates of the size and composition of Indonesia's booming population may remain just that despite an ongoing census, if the "discovery" of a 157-year-old woman is anything to go by.
Census officials have said they believe the woman's claims to have been born in 1853, when Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata debuted in Venice, the Crimean War erupted and San Francisco got its first street signs at intersections.
"There's no authentic data to prove her age but judging from her statements and the age of her adopted daughter, who's now 108 years old, it's difficult to doubt it," statistics bureau official Jhonny Sardjono said.
The only person verified to have lived past 120 years of age was Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122.
South Sumatran villager Turinah would be fully 25 years older than Calment when she died, according to officials.
Even more incredible, she still works around the house and has smoked clove cigarettes all her life, Mr Sardjono said.
"Despite her age she still has an incredible memory, clear sight and has no hearing problems. She speaks Dutch quite fluently," he added. Indonesia was a Dutch colony for hundreds of years until 1945.
He said Turinah burnt all her identification documents to avoid being linked to an alleged communist coup in 1965.
Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous country with a population of about 240 million people.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Indonesian census discovers 157-year-old woman.