I've never met any of my best friends (The Funny Side)
By Nury Vittachi : A man with no internet connection secretly hooked up his computer into an unsecured Wi-Fi signal from elsewhere in his apartment block. He used it sparingly at first, then threw caution to the wind and started downloading what he described as "extremely large files", which I assume were life-sized photos of Kim Jung Un in Speedos or something similar.
But the neighbour noticed. He password-locked his hotspot and changed its name to "GET YOUR OWN INTERNET". The signal-stealer, having no choice, did. He called his own hotspot: "LOOK I DID". The neighbour then changed the name of his Wi-Fi signal to: "GOOD IM PROUD OF YOU". To this day, neither of the residents know who the other is.
This true story was forwarded from Gawker.com by reader Ricky Chou, who offered it as a follow-up to an item in this column about hotspot names which discourage neighbours from stealing your Wi-Fi capacity. "The most thief-proof name ever came from one guy who called his hotspot TROJAN32.EXE," he said. I agree. No computer user would ever click on the name of a virus so powerful that it wipes out your hard drive, empties your beer-cooler and sleeps with your spouse.
But the cruellest tale came from a mischievous man who found a neighbour's unlocked Wi-Fi signal and renamed it himself, calling it "LIVE STREAMING PORN". If that doesn't make you rush home and password-protect your hotspot, nothing will.
Yes, these days people interact with folk they've never met. I gave up lecturing my kids against talking to strangers when I realized that several of my best friends are people I've come to know ONLY through the web. I can talk to them every day, but never have to buy them birthday presents, eat their horrible cooking or pretend I like their vile children.
The recent diamond robbery in Belgium was described as "the biggest robbery ever pulled off at an airport". Rubbish. What about Ryanair charging me and a zillion other passengers US$100 to check in a bag?
When the home of a top Indian movie star was reported to have building violations, a team of hotshot inspectors raced around to investigate. But after they got there, servants told them Bollywood idol Shah Rukh Khan was at home and would meet them in person, the Mumbai Mirror reported. Thrilled staff phoned their colleagues, who raced to join them, the paper added.
After being photographed with Khan, the starry-eyed inspectors headed back to their desks. Which is when they realized that not one of them had actually done any sort of building inspection.
The moral of this story is: No one is above the law, except celebrities.
Yum Yum. The US food chain Pizza Hut has launched a new, er, "foodstuff" in China which consists of a large cheese pie circled with hot dogs and topped with king prawns, squid rings, fish cakes, pineapple chunks, wasabi mayonnaise and a whole wild boar (the last item is just a guess).
Not to be outdone, KFC in Japan has just launched the Asian version of the legendary Double Down, a double portion of batter-covered chicken breasts sandwiching a portion of rice. Newly launched in India is Dunkin' Donuts, a chain where the drinks alone, large Dunkaccinos, are 550 calories each, and come with a defibrillator (or should do).
"Asia is under attack. These actions should be classified as acts of war," said reader Natalie Poon, a professional conspiracy theorist. If she's right, Asia should fight back, but the only high-fat items I can think of to send to America are old-school Bollywood movie stars, and no one's going to want to eat one.
This thought for the day is dedicated to all India-based civil servants: "I pretend to work. They pretend to pay me."
Why all this puzzlement over the mystery meteorite that landed in Russia? What they SHOULD be looking for is a small rocket containing a baby wrapped in blue and red blankets from the Planet Krypton. Don't Russians read great literature?
Several people in India received one-month phone bills for the equivalent of US$20 million each last week, thanks to a computer error at the offices of MTNL Dolphin, I read on the NDTV website. The telecom company later sent out texts saying customers need not pay the mega-millions. The SMS added (I am not making this up): "If paid, please ignore." That must be for people who can hand over US$20m without really noticing and don't mind not getting it back.
Too lazy to get out of bed? Me too. For us, Japanese designers have invented the upside-down computer table. It's a sort of frame that holds your laptop roughly above your stomach as you lie in bed. This allows you to do normal computer activities (the most popular being Pretending To Work) without lifting your head from your pillow. I MUST HAVE ONE.
Talking of that wonderfully creative nation, one thing I always suspected has now been proved: The Japanese are the world's nicest human beings. A recent survey asked residents to identify their favourite phrases. The result was a list of terms so sweet that just reading them could give you Type Two Diabetes. Japan's favourite term was "thank you", and others on the list included "love", "being considerate", "peace", "striving" and "laughter".
A second survey asked Japanese people to list their favourite Western rock groups. No death-thrash-gangsta-rap-metal for them. They picked the Carpenters, the Beatles, Queen, Simon and Garfunkel, etc. THE CARPENTERS!
They're so winsome that 20 seconds of ANY of their songs makes me want to stomp on Hello Kitty.
Contrast mainland China. Caijing magazine reported last week that China now has an almost daily flow of TV movies depicting Japanese people as evil invaders, keeping the Chinese population in a state of perpetual rage. All this, while the REAL Japanese are skipping around with their Hello Kitty dolls singing "Close to You".
Frequent travellers were baffled to hear that a young American tourist in Sri Lanka was arrested recently for having a tattoo of the Buddha on her back. The news was in The Island newspaper. In other Buddhist countries, such as Thailand, Buddha tats are considered spiritually positive items to have on your body, as long as they are positioned above the waist. If it's below your waist the Thais reserve the right to shred you and mix you into pad thai noodles.
A robber pulled a knife with an eight-inch blade on an Indian shopkeeper at a corner store in the US state of Massachusetts last week. The cashier, Brian Patel, calmly pulled out a full-length SWORD. The bad guy fled, chased by the shopkeeper, reported Seven News, a TV station. You don't mess with Asians. In seconds we go from being sweet, mild-mannered math geeks to being Genghis Khan on a no-carbs diet.
(01.03.2013 - Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send ideas and comments via www.mrjam.org)