Okay, so gender issues can be confusing (The Funny Side)
I was so outraged when an American friend said that Asian males were kind of "girly" that I almost hit him with my shoulder bag. But instead I just gave him a cold stare and turned back to my Hello Kitty collection.
Westerners have bizarre ideas about gender. A recent book said that the original British plan to get rid of Hitler was to turn him into a woman. Spymasters tried to get estrogen slipped into Adolf's meals to make him "pliable and easy to handle", according to a report sent to me. Pliable and easy to handle? Had these British guys ever met a woman? Lucky they failed, or World War II could have turned seriously unpleasant.
Gender issues are on my mind because a reader sent me details of a daring recent criminal operation. A gang of villains got hold of 70 sheep penises and sewed them between the legs of 70 female sheep (the technical terms being "ewes", "girl sheep" or "sheepesses"). The gang then tried to smuggle the sheepesses out of Sudan, which only allows the export of male sheep (technically known as "rams", "boy sheep" or "sheepmen").
Border guards were about to let them through when Dripleg the Ewe, standing at the back of the flock, decided that she really, really "needed to go".
The reader told me: "She did not go to the toilet like a male, but like a female," which presumably means that she didn't stand at the far end of a wall with her eyes fixed pointedly downwards, but got together a group of girlfriends who disappeared with their handbags for 20 minutes.
The border guards were shocked. "These are girl sheep wearing sewn-on male genitalia" they exclaimed, and impounded the lot. The ewe-smugglers were incensed, which is hardly surprising. If you spent your whole weekend sewing genitalia on to live animals, you'd expect a pay off, right? (Important note: I have not actually done this.)
But you know what? Disguising "Animal A" as "Animal B" is more common than you think. Never trust zookeepers! Last year, a zoo in the People's Park of Luohe, in the central Chinese province of Henan, displayed a suspiciously compact creature in the enclosure labelled "African Lion". When visitors approached, it started barking - it was a disguised dog. The zoo's leopard was a fox. Its wolf was a mongrel. At the Marah Land Zoo in Gaza City, the zebras were a pair of white donkeys painted with black stripes. After these cases were publicised by the crusading media, I suspect many small zoos around the world responded quickly to avoid liability - by re-labeling all their exhibits "Animal".
An Australian friend reading over my shoulder has just told me that a politician in her country had a six-pack surgically added to his torso. Ewww. I didn't know that was even possible. I told her to make sure he doesn't get any ideas from Sudanese sheepesse exporters carrying sewing kits. I don't even want to think about that, so I am going back to discussing matters of great importance with the rest of the guys in my favourite chat room. Guys: did you know that Hello Kitty collectible earrings are now USD 3,000 a pair?
(25-07-2014- Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send ideas and comments via www.mrjam.org)
(Posted on 25-07-2014)