Textbooks reveal communities' true feelings (The Funny Side)

Syndicated from IANS | Published on Fri, Nov 30 2012 11:33 IST | 5 Views | Add comment

People who are not vegetarians "easily cheat, tell lies, they forget promises, they are dishonest and tell bad words, steal, fight and turn to violence and commit sex crimes", according to a new school textbook. This is a LIE. We do not commit sex crimes. New Healthway, a book given to schoolchildren in India, also explains that non-veg people are "lazy, sluggish and short-lived". So how do we get the time and energy to steal, fight, commit sex crimes, etc?

I met with a veggie friend for lunch to discuss this and she said the textbook allegations were "plainly true", pointing out that the majority of murderers were meat-eaters. "Your sort commit a type of murder every time you have a meal," she said, pointing to my sausage, as if I had hunted it down in cold blood and tortured it to death. She was so annoying I wanted to stab her with my steak knife. Maybe the textbook IS right.

School textbooks in Asia often bluntly reveal what communities really think of each other. A sample sentence in my first Chinese language textbook, printed in Hong Kong, said: "Foreign children fight in the playground but Chinese children do not fight in the playground." I thought about filing a complaint but I was too busy fighting in the playground.

The night before writing this, I was sitting in a room with people of two other cultures (there was a European, a Chinese person and me, a South Asian) when a TV trailer came on to the screen and loudly told us about the launch of "Asia's Next Top Model", an Eastern version of a hit Western TV show which follows around a catty group of wannabee fashion models.

All three of us immediately shook our heads. "It'll never work in Asia," I said. The European agreed: "Definitely not. Asians just aren't bitchy enough."

Maybe if we all become meat-eaters...?

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From reader Sarah Hymas: "After almost 25 years of marriage I have discovered the secret of how to communicate with my husband. I update my status on Facebook, it pings on his iPhone and he then stops reading the newspaper to see what the text is about."

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Scientists have invented a television you can turn off with your tongue. You just stick your tongue out of your mouth and a sensor detects it, said boffins from Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore earlier this week. The device was designed for disabled people but it's clearly perfect for viewers' instinctive response when politicians appear on screen. On the downside, guys should remember not to drool when Bollywood starlets dance in rain, otherwise.... Click!

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Scientists mixed aromas together to create a non-smell they dubbed "the smell of whiteness", according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday. This discovery has many important uses, such as, er, um, ah, ooh, well, nothing at all. If scientists really can't think of worthwhile projects, why don't they create potions that rid the world of a) cancer, b) male baldness, and c) boy bands?

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It has become so common for Thai women to cut off their husband's genitalia and throw them into the yard that the country has developed a popular saying, the UK Guardian newspaper reported earlier this week: "I better get home or the ducks will have something to eat."

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From this week, a space for your car (US$1,100 a sq ft) costs more than a space for your family (US$1,000 a sq ft) in Hong Kong. It's only a matter of time before Hong Kongers will be herding their families into tents on basement parking lots and winching their cars up to the 31st floor apartment. Added bonus: cars don't use do karaoke or take hot baths so electricity bills will fall.

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Japan has more old people, proportionally, than any other country. So there's a soaring demand in the adult video industry for old actresses. "Now young girls are the ones stubbornly refusing to give their real ages," a producer told News Post Seven, a Japanese website. "Sometimes a 25-year-old tries to convince us she's 40." Tip: spend an evening drinking shochu at the Albatross rooftop bar in Tokyo and you'll wake up feeling/ looking 140.

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Professional sick people are hiring themselves out to medical colleges to be ill on demand. For the equivalent of US$9, an individual will suffer the ailment of the doctor's choice, the press in India reported. The pretend patient service sprang into being in Karnataka after the Medical Council of India started regularly inspecting private medical colleges. Thinks: Most students I know do very lifelike impersonations of people suffering from terminal laziness. Can they get paid for it?

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China's top newspaper, the People's Daily, this week published a 55-page online picture spread of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after mistakenly taking seriously an Onion comedy report saying he had been named "the sexiest man alive". Yes, this is the same Chinese newspaper that recently said the New York Times was a pile of crap.

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An epidemic of dull rationalism was taking the magic out of life, Masaki Azuma realised. So he set up a school in Japan to teach actors how to properly represent Santa Claus, Reuters reported. Azuma says Asian children wonder how the Christmas saint can get into their chimney-less homes, so should be told that all security systems are programmed to recognize him. "Even as times change, Santa Claus is a figure that needs to live in the hearts of everyone," Azuma said. Yes, people desperately need to believe in mythical figures, such as elves, the tooth fairy and functioning Japanese prime ministers.

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A Belgian man wants to have his marriage annulled after discovering that the Indonesian spouse to whom he has been married for 19 years was actually a man. "I never noticed anything," he told the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper a few days ago. Women always claim men are unobservant: here's proof at last.

(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveler. Send ideas and comments via www.mrjam.org)

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