Asian investors worried about buying homes with ghosts (The Funny Side)

Asian investors are outraged after a US court last week said home-sellers no longer have to reveal that their houses were the locations of “shocking or terrible deeds”, which one presumes means murders, suicides, massacres, people watching Glee, people eating bacon ice cream sundaes, etc.

As a result, people from India may end up buying US homes cursed with bad feng shui, awful karma, ghosts, etc., without realizing it.

“The only option is for the Asian buyer to try to re-sell the house by turning the ghastly deed into a selling point,” said a reader named Tiny, who follows investment property in the US.

In celebrity-obsessed America, this may actually work. After getting Tiny’s email, I googled the famous haunted house in Amityville, Long Island, and found it was last listed for US$1.15 million – while the very similar UNhaunted home used for The Amityville Horror movie was ten percent cheaper. I can visualize the ad now: “Be a part of history. Buy a house where mass murderers did their thing! AND they probably ate bacon ice cream sundaes.”

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Staff at McDonald’s restaurants in Taiwan dressed up as French maids and addressed customers as “master” last month. I KNOW this is a cynical trick to lure fast-food-hating males like me to visit. How despicable! So, when are they doing it again? Just asking.

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In his latest bizarre act, Kim Jong-Un sent one kilo of candy to every child in North Korea. How did he avoid raising expectations? Was it tree bark flavour?

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Male officials drafted a law forcing women to sit “side-saddle” in a city in Indonesia last week. Since no one rides horses any more, the law will apply to women on scooters and motorcycles in Lhokseumawe, a city on Sumatra island. Curious how parts of Asia are becoming like the West in the Victorian era, but without the cool bits, like explorers in pith helmets, Abraham Lincoln hunting vampires, etc.

Officials explained that they had seen women sitting behind men and felt this resembled an indecent act. These officials need sex education urgently.

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A young woman in Sanya, China, recently posted a message on the internet saying: “My cop boyfriend is using his police car to take me out to dinner and hot springs, how cool is that?” It came complete with pictures of herself in the squad car. The media said the post had “got the cop into massive trouble” but with a girlfriend that stupid, I’m telling you he was already in massive trouble.

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Watchdogs are setting up cameras in civil service offices in Kolkata, India, to “ensure staff reach their offices by 10:30 a.m.”, I hear from a reader in that city. By 10:30 a.m. I’ve been at my desk for three and a half hours! There’s something terribly wrong with the work ethic there. I wonder if there are any vacancies?

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Lunar New Year approaches. People all over Asia are disposing of the top traditional Christmas items: saxophones, KFC cartons, balls of cheese, etc. What? Yes, I love to see the look of surprise on the faces of Western visitors when they realize that Christmas (or Bada Din in Hindi, Sing Daan Jit in Chinese) is very different in Asia.

During Christmas in the Philippines, people eat vast amounts of a foodstuff called queso de bola. This means “ball of cheese” and is a name which neatly sums up both the food item AND the appearance of any person who eats it regularly.

In parts of India, “Christmas Baba” often arrives in a horse and cart. In China, Christmas is associated with saxophones, stemming from the ubiquity of a jazz-playing animatronic Santa doll mass-produced a few years ago.

In Japan, people believe that the traditional way to celebrate Christmas is to queue up for a bucket of KFC chicken. Why? In the 1970s, lonely Westerners unable to find turkey settled for the only poultry they could find: KFC chicken. The fast food chain exploited this through a massive advertising campaign, and now people take it for granted that Mary and Joseph celebrated the birth of the Christ child at the end of year one BC with a bucket of the Colonel’s Original Flavor, double fries and Pepsi.

Just imagine if the Angel Gabriel told Mary what was actually going to happen in the future. GABRIEL: “And two thousand years from now, people in Asia, the most populous part of the world, will commemorate your baby’s birth by eating fried chicken and gazing at animatronic dolls of fat men in red velvet suits playing saxophones.” MARY: “Yeah, right.”

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Nine jailbirds escaped from prison transport in Malaysia last week by throwing powder from instant noodle sachets into the eyes of guards, a Kuala Lumpur reader named Amy Chew told me. So, MSG is bad for you.

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A huge aquarium burst in a Shanghai shopping mall, showering passers-by with live sharks, recently. This is the sort of thing that gives women a bad name. HUSBAND: “How come your expensive new designer outfit is damaged?” WIFE: “I was in a shopping mall today when these SHARKS flew out of nowhere….”

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Young women will be “issued overcoats” to stop them driving innocent men mad with lust, Indian regional education minister T. Thiagarajan said last week. I’m tempted to joke that he could lower the number of sexual offences further by exiling all females to the moon, but he’d take it seriously.

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An elevator in a Malaysian hotel has a sign in it saying that it can only transport foods which are “halal” (a term which usually refers to animals ritually slaughtered by having their throats cut), I hear from Amy in Kuala Lumpur. The sign threateningly adds: “This elevator is under CCTV surveillance” just in case a packet of non-halal chicken legs tries to tiptoe into the lift when no-one’s looking. The rule must be annoying if you are carrying heavy items. Mind you, I cut my neck while shaving this morning, so my whole body might be halal just now.

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Candidate for Dumb Criminal of the month is Terry Davis, 25, of the US state of Kentucky. Police said he stole a textbook called Resolving Ethical Issues from one book store and tried to sell it to another. I’m guessing he didn’t read it.

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Live In China? Are you a peasant who can’t afford Apple products? Now you can just pay a small fee via the popular Taobao website and they will add “sent from my iPhone” to any texts you send, whether you are using your ancient Nokia, or by dictation using a cup and string or whatever. I miss morality.

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A bungling thief used a stolen credit card number to buy loads of cool stuff – but forgot to change the delivery address. All the luxury goods were sent to his victim. I love this story. Under current credit card policy, the victim, Chris Linford of Anchorage, Alaska, doesn’t have to pay the companies back: he gets to keep the lot.

Why has this never happened to me? Can someone kindly steal my credit card and order some basic household essentials for me, such as a yacht and a Ferrari Spider? If you are a law enforcement agent, please forget you read this. Thank you.

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The kilogram is getting heavier every year as dust settles on the original weight, which is kept in a building in Paris, scientists said last week. Hah! I KNEW I wasn’t as fat as the weighing machine said.

(18.01.2013 – Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveler. Send ideas and comments via www.mrjam.org)

IANS