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,"
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
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 www.mrjam.org