A man was arrested in Zimbabwe a few
days ago for having impure thoughts about a woman at a bus stop.
"So that's illegal now?" I asked a woman named Wincey, who told me
Wincey handed me a recent news report downloaded from Bulowaya24,
a news website in Zimbabwe.
People waiting at a bus station noticed that Clifford Mavete, 27,
was "sweating and exhibiting an expression synonymous with that of
a person engaging in sex while his eyes were glued at the woman
who was standing in front of him," it said. In other words, his
face was remotely committing assault.
The tense scene involving two people not actually doing anything
to each other escalated dramatically when the woman complaned
The crowd took Mavete to the police station where officers charged
the man with 'mind crimes'. Luckily, this has been made a
recognized crime: mubobobo (magical remote assault).
Last month in Africa, a man was arrested for "tapping his foot on
the ground and facially expressing excitement".
I said: "If mind crimes are now illegal, you might as well lock up
every man on the planet right now." The women replied: "Good
This whole mind-reading thing is very distressing. The US Army
last week announced they had invented mind-reading binoculars.
When you clamp them on to your face, they start monitoring your
brain activity and learning what your mind thinks of as enemies.
This could be bad. A LOT of bosses could die.
The following day, I got a press announcement from Toyota of Japan
telling me they had unveiled a "mind-reading car" called the
Insect. It spots the owner approaching, unlocks itself, and then
guesses where you want to go. "Good morning, Mr Vittachi, we're
off to the Toyota showroom to buy expensive branded accessories
again, because I know that deep down that's where you'd like to
spend your day."
Why do scientists spend massive amounts of time and money
inventing stuff that's CLEARLY bad for society? Mubobobo
ordinances plus d mind-reading gear equals male misery for sure.
For a bit of sanity, I turned to the Asian newspapers. Sex crimes
are caused by chow mein, a politician in India warned last week.
Chemicals in Chinese fried noodles make men unable to control
their urges. "Chow mein leads to hormonal imbalance evoking an
urge to indulge in such acts," Jitender Chhatar of Chandigarh was
quoted as saying in the Times of India.
I love chow mein. Just execute me now.
A woman was murdered by her seafood appetizer, AFP reported. But
some thought the tale smelt fishy. Yoon, a 20-something South
Korean, was found asphyxiated near a plate of angry live octopuses
in sesame oil.
Whodunnit? Her boyfriend Kim pointed to the tentacle in her
throat. Her dinner dunnit.
Reporters became suspicious when her father said that she always
cut her food small, and was just not the sort of girl who tries to
swallow whole creatures alive (yeah, some girls are like that, go
After investigators found that her life had been insured shortly
before her death, courts decided Kim had suffocated her and framed
her dinner. The dinner declined to comment.
Now you see why there aren't many Asian crime novels? Who'd buy a
book called The Seafood Appetizer Murders?
Amazed scientists found a 500-million-year-old insect, and noticed
it had a complex brain, top science journal Nature reports this
month. This shows insects were once smart, but their brains shrank
to tiny little dots, like those of amoebas, ultra-nationalist
politicians and One Direction fans. I have enough trouble trying
to outfox bugs as they are: imagine the horror of BRAINY ones.
"This is your mosquito speaking. You cannot see me but I am
somewhere in your bedroom and plan to torment you all night. Mwa
ha ha ha ha."
A zoo boss in China found a way to make his peacock fan out his
magnificent tail feathers for cash. Staff at Beijing Wildlife Zoo
at Daixing collects a special fee from visitors and usher them
into a space in front of a curiously static peacock. A button is
pressed and the famous peacock tail rises behind the bird. Cameras
are banned, because staff photographers take pictures and sell
them to you. Park executive Liu Xin Cheng told the Chinese press
that he did not think putting an artificial tail on a real
peacock's butt was cruel. I can think of few more pleasant ways to
pass an hour than devising suitable punishments for this
gentleman, all involving uncomfortable apparatus on tender rear
Bus lanes should be cancelled because they slow down private cars,
campaigners in Delhi complained last week. "Car owners... get
exhausted sitting in their cars due to traffic jams," B.B. Sharan,
head of a motoring group, told the BBC. Poor little car owners!
Sitting behind your chauffeur sighing can be really tiring.
Besides, saving time is not important for lowly people. "How does
it matter if a peon reaches office five minutes before time?" Mr
I wouldn't like to be the peon who makes his tea. No, scrub that,
I WOULD like to be the guy who makes his tea. Another opportunity
Astronomers discovered a planet made of diamond, a science journal
reported last week. I already saw this. It's on the third finger
of Shilpa Shetty's left hand. If not, it soon will be.
An Indian politician who was asked for his ID card at a toll plaza
on the night of Oct 10 got out his gun and pointed it at staff.
Vitthal Radadiya: living proof that you shouldn't watch too many
Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveler. Send comments
and ideas via www.mrjam.org