At last, a tool to help men who hate shopping (The Funny Side - IANS introduces a new weekly column by Hong Kong-based humour writer Nury Vittachi)

June 2nd, 2012 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Facebook REAL MEN DON’T SHOP. We make incursions into enemy territory. 1) Locate supermarket. 2) Access aisles. 3) Liberate beer. 4) Return to base. 5) Mission accomplished. Cheers!

During the mission, our main interest is keeping collateral damage to innocent parties, i.e., the banknotes in our wallets, within an acceptable range.

It’s totally different for the women in my family. Incredible but true, they ENJOY spending money. To me, bidding farewell to even the smallest banknote is like losing a family member. When asked for cash at shop counters, I frequently feel the urge to say: “Can you just take one of my uncles instead?”

Now, here’s some astonishing news. Boffins are working on technology to help men shop. A new service allows a man to go to the supermarket and be guided directly to the product he wants by a Sat-Nav (satellite-navigation) voice coming out of his phone.

SAT NAV: “In five metres turn left. Nearly there. Turn left NOW. On the second shelf on your right you’ll find the can of beer you wanted. Enjoy it, you pathetic drunk.”

ME: “What did you just call me?”

SAT NAV: “Nothing.”

The system was set up last year at a branch of Tesco Supermarkets in the UK for trials, but the store has not released results. It is very suspicious. Rumour has it that executives want to destroy the technology after they noticed that people who use the system spent less money.

I believe the rumour. Shops don’t want you to just get what you want. They want you to get 17 other things that you don’t want as well. I mean, look at the way that department store staircases or escalators never match up with each other. You go up one level and then the next staircase or escalator is miles away, often hidden in a separate wing of the building or in the toilet corridor so that you have to pass every product on every shelf before you find it.

I once was trapped on the fourth level of a department store in Tokyo and there didn’t seem to be any downward escalators at all. Many of the customers were elderly, and I began to suspect that they had arrived as young people 40 years earlier, probably at the store’s opening party. Had I not found a cargo lift in the staff corridor, I would still be there today.


A reader who lives in Sri Lanka told me: “My internet connection is so slow it would probably be faster to fly to the Google headquarters and ask them stuff in person.”


Residents of Delhi are paying $200 a month each to have trained langur monkeys pee around their homes. The reason is that the langur-pee is so smelly that it scares off other monkeys, villains, etc, the New York Times India correspondent reported recently. So that time I lived near a bar and guys would visit my front yard on the way home, I should have paid them?


Latest stats suggest that half a billion Asians are overweight. Of course, those are just round figures. (Get it?)


The man who invented the TV remote just passed away at the age of 96. I wonder if anyone tried taking his remote, putting new batteries in it, pointing it at him and holding down the red button for three seconds? Worth a try.


Public toilets in China’s capital can have “a maximum of two flies”, according to new rules, the Beijing Post reported last week. If three or more flies are found, an unspecified punishment will be administered. From past experience, I reckon the janitor will lose his karaoke club card for a month while the third fly will get the death penalty. Or the other way round. In China you never can tell.

But how do the authorities expect to get information about the “strictly two flies only” policy out to the 14-gazillion-strong fly population of Beijing? The only way I can think of is to equip each toilet with a little fly apartment containing two tiny chairs, two monogrammed mugs, two little sets of slippers, etc.


A shark named Florence in a UK aquarium has turned vegetarian. Florence now avoids meat and eats only broccoli, lettuce and celery, the media reported last week. Yeah, right. I can just picture the scene. Trainer standing on the side, thinking: “Shall I get in?” Florence, licking her lips, keeping her face straight, thinking: “Get in. GET IN.”


Don’t you just hate aircraft passengers who stand up and open the overhead luggage bins the moment the plane touches the ground?

If I was a pilot I would always taxi along the runway for a hundred metres and then slam my foot down on the accelerator so the plane does a wheelie. (When I was a kid, I could do a wheelie on any type of bike, and a plane is just like a big winged tricycle, right?) That would teach those misbehaving louts a lesson.

But their crimes are nothing compared to the antics of one Kamal Basha Ahmed, 23, an engineer. As soon as his plane landed at Chennai airport in India last week, he whipped off his seatbelt, leapt from seat 28D and raced to get off. He overpowered a flight attendant, opened the plane door and stepped out. But the plane was still moving and the steps were not in place, the Deccan Herald reported. He could have fallen to his death - but luckily the emergency chute inflated itself and he slid down to the ground level safely, the Times of India added.

Mr Ahmed clearly wanted to be first in the passport queue, but alas for him, airline officials exacted a terrifying revenge by having him locked up for days.

That’s another thing. People are always criticising the authorities in China, North Korea, etc., for making up laws whenever they feel like. These maligned officials can simply get jobs in airports, where they can make up instant laws to their hearts’ content, arresting people for opening doors, making jokes, walking funny, and so on. Indeed, I’d be delighted if aviation people made opening the luggage bins while the plane is moving a death penalty offence.


There’s a debate raging about whether bankers were right to value Facebook as being worth more than Coca Cola, Disney, McDonalds, etc. I back the bankers. Facebook makes a hugely important contribution to humanity. Without it, how would I know what some repulsive dorky friend of a friend had for lunch the previous day? The public has a right to know. Yes, I am being ironic.

(02.06.2012 - Nury Vittachi is a humorist travelling around Asia. Send ideas and comments via

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |