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Love marriages a shame, and mobiles the culprit

Friday October 26, 2012 11:35:33 AM, Nury Vittachi, IANS

Adults have banned love. Any young person who marries someone they love (as opposed to the official partner chosen by adults) will be exiled, said the town council of Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh. "Love marriages are a shame for society," council member Sattar Ahmed told the Daily Mail. I'd love to see him and his wife on a romantic night out. I can imagine them passing the time stabbing voodoo effigies of the opposite sex.

But how do you ban love? Anti-love campaigners are targeting mobile phones as the main tools young people these days use to "grow" love. No girls should be allowed to have mobile phones, member of parliament Rajpal Singh Saini told a gathering of men last week, according to the Times of India. If your female children have phones, "take them away," he was quoted as saying.

I was reading the news articles above when I realized that if a fiction-writer wrote about a crew of ranting villains banning love, it would be considered scarcely believable. The world's writers of trashy novel and B-movies really need to give these gentlemen an award, or at least a thank-you letter.

Going back to mobile phones, here's a related joke: The Indian government digs 1,000 metres down and finds traces of copper wire. "This proves we had a phone network 5,000 years ago," they announce. The Chinese government digs 1,000 metres down and finds nothing. "This proves we had a wireless network 5,000 years ago," they announce.

A woman faked a kidnapping so that she could get a day off work last week. Sheila Bailey Eubank, 48, spent the day away from her office in California, US, and then tied herself up with rope and told police she had been kidnapped. But videos from shops she'd entered revealed she was lying.

The odd thing is that this tale reminded me a similar case in Japan: except that focussed on a man who loved his work too much. A 29-year-old businessman, he overslept, missing an 8 a.m. meeting. Burning with humiliation, he kidnapped himself, drove himself out of town, beat himself up and dumped himself in the middle of nowhere. Then he called his colleagues. "So sorry to miss the meeting, I got kidnapped, you know how it is."

The mystery of the red-bearded prisoner has been solved. People were puzzled that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has been appearing in court with a bright ginger-auburn beard, yet Guantanamo Bay prison is not exactly known for haute couture hairdressing salons. Jailers last week revealed he "used crushed berries from his breakfast" to make his own hair dye.

Crushed berries from his breakfast? I always stop my kids buying that cereal with dried strawberry chunks because it's so expensive. To improve my living standards, I need to move the whole family to Guantanamo Bay prison.

Did you read about that German guy who went out for a few drinks and afterwards couldn't find his car? The Bavarian man, 31, went home in a taxi. The next day he went back and STILL couldn't find his car. Well, he finally found it recently - TWO YEARS after he had lost it.

I know a guy who had a few beers in Frankfurt and lost his hotel. He eventually flew back to Asia and told his wife that he had no suitcase of dirty laundry because it had been stolen. Ancient legends talk of "the waters of Lethe", a potion that wipes out memories. I think it's Heineken or Carlsberg.

The phone rings. You work at the customer service department of Bouygues Telecom. The caller says that her phone bill is too high. You politely tell her that she has to pay it. She says a mistake has been made. You say the computer cannot be wrong. She says the bill is for 11,000 trillion euros. You tell her it can't be changed. She tells you that no one in the world can pay that much money. You tell her she can pay in installments.

A French news source named Sud Ouest reported that a woman, Solenne San Jose of Bordeaux, took more than 45 minutes to convince staff her bill was wrong, despite the sum being literally ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD.

If I ever run a big corporation, these are the customer service officers I want manning the phones. Total impenetrability.

Zheng Zhenyong is truly dense. He has applied to be listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the owner of the world's thickest skull. "I train by headbutting concrete pillars," the man from Shenzhen, China, told Econews, a Chinese website. I would hate to live in an apartment block with this guy running around whacking the foundations with his head.

The latest news reports are saying former top cyclist Lance Armstrong ran "the biggest and most sophisticated doping program in sports history". I can almost hear the outraged reaction in Beijing. "Hey, what about us?"

Armstong said he "didn't have the energy" to fight back. Hey, Lance, don't you usually have a little something in your pocket that solves your energy problems?

A seafood worker fell into a giant steamer and was cooked to death, police in California reported the other day. Poor guy. Mind you, had this happened to a food worker in Shanghai, where thousands of crabs are steamed alive every week, I would have no sympathy.

Did you read that the new president of France is trying to win the youth vote by promising to abolish homework? For the first time in history, a world leader and a kid at my children's school are running on the same platform.

Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveler. Send ideas and comments via





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