Strange cults are back in the news (The Funny Side)

July 13th, 2012 - 12:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Tom Cruise Every few weeks, one needs to step aside from the chaotic hurly burly of modern life, quieten one’s heart, and focus on deep matters of the spirit or, as we scientific types like to say, “evil wacko cults”.

As you know, brave Katie Holmes rescued her innocent little girl from Tom Cruise’s weirdo cult and retreated back to the modelling community, a nice, safe world where women with severe eating disorders earn fortunes by striding down catwalks with pineapples on their heads. Wait. Mr Cruise’s weird cult sounds way more sane.

A reader whom I shall not name tells me he was tempted to join Scientology after seeing Mr. Cruise walk up the outside of the Burj Dubai skyscraper in the recent “Mission Impossible” movie. I informed him that if he actually believes what he sees in the movies, he’ll be a very happy Scientologist.

But I also urged him to consider Asia’s equivalent to Scientology, a religion called Happy Science, which sends me press releases. Happy Science promotes itself by making astonishingly bad movies, and is about to launch two new ones this summer. “Final Judgment” is an action movie in which China invades Japan but rescue comes when a New Savior is born. The second is a feature-length anime cartoon in which Japan is attacked but salvation comes when a New Savior is born. If you asked these guys to make a TV ad for soap powder, it would say: “Buy this soap powder! And by the way, let’s watch together as a New Savior is born!”

Happy Science started in 1986 when banker Ryuho Okawa (the new savior) told the people of Japan that he was the reincarnation of the Buddha and his wife the reincarnation of Aphrodite. People just laughed and told them to lay off the sake for a while. Of course they didn’t. This is Asia. Thousands of people signed up from across the region.

The cult went through a bad patch last year when the Buddha and Aphrodite had a big fight and got divorced. But Mr Okawa seems to have got his groove back, according to his latest press releases.

The Happy Science founder is currently wowing people by revealing the addresses of celebrities AFTER THEY HAVE DIED. “Currently Beethoven lives in the lower area of the Bodhisattva Realm of the 7th dimension in the Spirit world,” he says. Charles Darwin is in “Abysmal Hell”, which is pretty bad, but not quite as bad as “Deepest Hell”, the present address of Frederick Nietzsche.

At first, I wondered why a philosopher should be in the bottom part of hell. But then I remembered what Nietzsche once said: “God is dead.” Mr. Okawa took that as a personal insult.


Vandals recently smashed down an ancient door in the African city of Timbuktu which was supposed to have been left closed, according to ancient writings, until “the End of the World”. Gee, THANKS, guys. Did you have to do this in 2012?


A poll by National Geographic revealed that 65 percent of Americans said President Obama would handle an invasion by space aliens better than Mitt Romney. Let’s all rejoice that US voters are focussing on really important issues and are not sidetracked by trivialities such as the collapsing global economy.


A tiny brain-eating fly has been discovered in Thailand. The bugs, each the size of a speck of pepper, are believed to enter the heads of ants and eat their brains. The ant then “wanders around aimlessly for two weeks” before forming a political party. (Okay, the bit about starting a political party is just a guess.)

There are as yet no records of the bug entering a human brain, but as soon as I read about this in LiveScience, I knew that it answered a host of questions about Thai politics. It’s only a matter of time before an exchange such as the following appears in news reports from that country. Q: What inspired you to go into politics? A: Not sure: I got the idea after wandering around aimlessly for two weeks.


Japanese scientists created a robot that can play the “stone, paper, scissors” game and win every round, the press reported last week. What’s the point of this? If I wanted to create games that I could be beaten at on every occasion, I would ask the British for advice. Aren’t they the masters at this?


Real men, stand up. Motorcyclists are claiming that the right to be macho is part of the human rights of every male. A fight started when US authorities recently banned a gathering at which bikers lock their brakes and rev their engines to see how big a cloud of dust and smoke they can generate. Angry bikers took out a lawsuit saying that men’s right to “express their manliness” was “protected by the First Amendment”.

What a wonderfully broad excuse for doing stupid, pointless things. I plan to use it frequently. “I’m sorry I ate your dinner/ seduced your wife/ falsified the interbank lending rate. I was merely exercising my right to express my manliness.”

I was forwarded the story above by a reader who did not wish his name to be printed as he had been “chicked” (which means beaten by a female at a sport). “Everywhere, the male sex is in crisis,” he said. He’s right. “Maschismo On Wane” said a Wall St Journal headline a few days ago. In India, sales of motorbikes (male vehicles) are way down while scooters (female vehicles) are soaring.


A man “attacked a woman with a sword and a peanut butter sandwich” recently, according to newspapers in Florida, US. The global spate of food-assisted assaults continues. No doubt he was thinking: “Hmm, this sword may not be enough, lucky I also have this peanut butter sandwich.”


A suicidal individual tried to kill himself by swallowing pesticide. But instead of dying, he just felt mildly bilious, as if he had eaten fast food. Furious, the man asked police in Shenzhen, China, to investigate. They said the product may have been fake, or it may just have been out of date, since it expired in 2008. This must be the first time something good has come out of a defective China-made product.


How wonderful that scientists in Geneva have finally found the Higgs boson, a tiny particle smaller than a Myanmar general’s heart. My advice: tape it to a larger object, or you’ll lose it again.

(13.07.2012 - Nury Vittachi is a columnist who spends his time travelling around Asia. Send ideas and comments via

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