North Korea’s government banned sarcastic comments against it (they actually did, this is not a joke); so I sent them an email: “Great idea, you bunch of geniuses.” They’re sure to thank me.
The world’s gone mad. A reader sent me a news story about police checking so-called “sacks of rice” which drivers were delivering across a border and discovering that the bundles were really — (creepy music) — dead bodies. No, wait. I just read the item again. What it actually says is that the driver told police he was moving dead bodies but shocked officers discovered that the bundles were really bags of rice. This took place recently in Nigeria, where tax is payable on imported foods but not on corpses. “Nothing to see here, officer, just dead people.” “You sure it’s not grocery items?”
It reminded me of a time a few years ago when a friend was at the security gate at Phnom Penh airport. He put his bag through the x-ray machine, and the guy next to him put his AK-47 machine gun through the machine. “What were the guards looking for inside the machine gun?” he pondered. “Men’s cosmetics?”
Humanity is now officially insane. More proof: a top drug watchdog in the United States recently revealed that after Wall Street took over pharmaceutical firms, ordinary prescription pain pills cost six times as much as illegal drugs from your local pusher. Both make you feel better, but the cheaper one comes with a trip around Jupiter on a pink space elephant.
A colleague who covers fashion said that her world had always been mad, but the insanity level had risen alarmingly. Her evidence: Top fashion company Golden Goose just launched cheap fabric shoes that look old, shabby, broken and held together by duct tape. “Distressed Superstar Sneakers” look exactly like the ancient things you find in the bottom of your teenagers’ cupboard — but are hot fashion items costing $585 a pair.
Why can’t buyers just look in the bottoms of their own teenagers’ cupboards and get the exact same thing with the added realism of that stinky feet smell?
More backwards logic came from a drought-ridden part of the US. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power banned people from using sprinklers on their lawns — and then were exposed using sprinklers to water their own grass. Officials pointed out that their lawn was not grass, but plastic turf, which benefited from regular cleaning.
I did find one example of modern reverse-logic that was actually positive. On a visit to Kampala, I saw posters advertising “ladies’ shape” pills: “Bottom not big enough? Now you can increase its size easily and quickly,” they said. My host assured me the product was completely serious, despite the fact that I did not see anyone who needed it, as bottoms in my field of view (not that I am an expert on this subject) ranged from “immense” to “Rock of Gibraltar” to “Himalayan”.
Okay, I just noticed that my shoes are ancient, falling apart, and have a hole in the left sole. If you’ll excuse me, I need to nip over to New York to score a big sale. Fashionistas gonna love them.
(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send ideas and comments on his Facebook page)