Many people noticed that the
international media was shockingly selective in its news coverage
this month. This columnist knows the mindset of foreign
correspondents intimately, so here's an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW on the
subject that just took place in a dark corner of my imagination.
Q: Hundreds of people were killed recently in tragic bombings and
earthquakes, particularly in Asia. Why did the global media focus
on the tiniest of these events, just three dead in Boston?
A: Because Boston is in the United States, which covers most of
the world's surface. Asia is a tiny place on the dark side of the
earth, far away from where most people live.
Q: Actually, I think you'll find the majority of the world's
population lives in Asia.
A: No way! We've seen pictures on holiday booking websites. Asia
is mostly empty beaches.
Q: Last week you printed an article about space voyages to Mars.
That's further away than Asia.
A: That's total bull. Mars is in America. It's a reddish dot in
the US night sky.
Q: Anyway, doesn't the international media claim to deliver world
news, not just Western news?
A: We do! But you people die in war zones every day. The
difference is that Boston was a peaceful town hit by sudden
Q: The hundreds who died in China and Pakistan the same week were
in peaceful towns hit by sudden tragedy.
A: Look, it's a technical, journalistic thing. Boston had more
"news value" than the other stories.
Q: You mean the secret rule that one white person is equivalent to
A: That is not true at all! It's at least 50 non-whites. Anyway,
I'm going to have to end this and get back to work. There's a MEGA
international news story breaking.
Q: Right, the earthquake that just hit Southeast Asian waters.
A: No, I said MEGA. A group of celebrities have just hit a
California beach in bikinis to show they have regained their
Q: Wow! I'll clear the front page.
North Korean officials said they will shortly launch a campaign to
bring the US economy to a catastrophic halt. Too late, lads. Some
guy called Bush did it five years ago.
A delivery firm launched ads featuring tall, handsome hunks,
leaving normal staff feeling horribly inadequate, it was revealed
last week. Customers now expect all workers from Sagawa Express in
Japan to be male models.
Women even put on make-up when packages are due to be delivered, a
sad staffer told News Post Seven, a Japanese website. As soon as
the women open the door, their shocked faces reveal their
thoughts. "Eww! You're a hideous-looking short, fat, bald guy,
i.e., an average man," their eyes, and sometimes their lips, say.
But the company is not planning to change its campaign, since it's
too profitable. A staff member who does look like the guys in the
ads said women who liked looking at him "called for package
pick-up every day".
I used to know an Australian tennis coach who offered lessons to
bored housewives. He mostly just visited and drank tea with them,
taking off his shirt if it was warm. "I was really being paid to
be a decorative object," he told me. What more evidence is needed
that being too good-looking should be classified as a crime?
Ever felt sorry for the victims in James Bond movies, who were
often eaten by piranhas? Now you can take revenge on their behalf.
Nara Kenko Land, a restaurant in Nara, Japan, is encouraging
diners to chow down on piranhas, sharp-toothed fish which can
strip a human to a skeleton in seconds. I would love to invite
short-tempered TV chef Gordon Ramsay to this eatery. "Where the
#$%^ are the fish ordered by table nine? Don't bother, I'll get
them myself." (Reaches into live fish tank.) "Arrrrrgh."
Scientists have created a water bottle that takes the colour out
of Coca-Cola. All you do is pour the fizzy dark liquid into the
OKO plastic bottle, made in Japan, and it comes out clear. A
super-powerful filter in the lid removes the colour, so the drink
emerges as scary, chemical-spiked sugar water. So, no change
A woman carrying a bag of durians was stopped at the boarding gate
to an aircraft last week. Staff explained that the famously stinky
fruit was strictly banned from aircraft.
The pleading woman argued that she'd spent a fortune and the fruit
was not available where she was going. Staff refused to make an
So she sat down and started eating it. She munched through three
kilos of the ultra-smelly fruit, stinking out the whole departure
lounge at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, according to a
report in RocketNews24.
As a frequent traveler, I can testify that every day in major
airports you see angry people moving their purchases from their
luggage to their stomachs. At some airports, caviar, honey, peanut
butter and those soft cheeses that move by themselves are
classified as "illegal liquids".
Airport security departments should really supply tables, chairs
and cutlery at security gates for this purpose. It would fix their
One security guard took stuff off a guy saying "it could be melted
down into a liquid". That's ridiculous. Metal can be melted into a
liquid, which means that it is now illegal to take a plane into
A reader saw an Australian traveller stopped for carrying a bottle
of spirits. He simply opened it and drank the lot. Technically, he
should then have been detained for trying to board a plane in a
drunken state. But no one wanted to go near him.
Did you hear about that housewife from Mumbai, India, who had to
be operated on after she had failed to go to the toilet for 45
days? The Times of India said that when doctors at the Nova
Specialty Surgery Centre asked her when she had last used the
bathroom, she said: "Towards the end of February." I am going to
show this to my daughters who spend many hours a day in the
smallest room. Once a month should be plenty.
Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon, arrested in her car last week,
said to cops: "Do you know who I am?" Why do they always say that?
If they know she's a Hollywood brat, doesn't that make it MORE
likely she's crazy drunk?
The guy who did Gangnam Style has just released a new song. Would
the South Korean authorities please note, if you want sympathy
from the rest of the world, this is SERIOUSLY not the way to go
Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller.
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