Executives at China Merchants Bank created a genius programme that automatically transfers the husband’s earnings to the wife’s account. Every time the guy’s account balance reads more than US$160, the extra cash automatically moves into the woman’s account.
Not only will their system enable couples to save up for a house, the bank said, but it should be good for relationships between men and women.
There was a huge outcry over this idea, including 170,000 complaints on Weibo, China’s copy of Twitter. The bank will probably have to withdraw it.
Shame, because it’s actually a brilliant idea. They should have replaced “husband” and “wife” with other terms, for example, “the sensible spouse” and “the other one”.
The idea certainly makes sense to older folk in many parts of Asia, including India and Sri Lanka. Traditionally in this region, it is women who are in charge of family finances. Men are allowed to retain a small amount of their earnings to buy beer, arrack, beer, newspapers, beer, cigarettes, and did I mention beer?
Photographers from Kompas magazine snapped politicians puffing at cigarettes under a no smoking sign at the Makassar Parliament Office in Indonesia last week. This is typical Asian leader philosophy: WE make laws. YOU obey them.
Bosses at McDonalds in Japan sent a stern memo to all staff banning them from discussing their work with outsiders, but they did offer one “recommended remark” that staff were allowed to use: “This chicken tatsuta is delicious!”
Staff decided to express their dismay by obeying the command all too enthusiastically. Chat-rooms and the Twittersphere in Japan are now full of that phrase.
It’s only a matter of time before someone tries to rob a McDonald’s in Japan and this happens. ROBBER: Hand over the money. STAFF: The chicken tatsuta is delicious! ROBBER: This gun is loaded! STAFF: The chicken tatsuta is delicious! ROBBER: What’s the code or password for the safe? STAFF: The chicken tatsuta is delicious! [Robber runs away screaming.]
A wacko guy who stands up and flaps his arms while driving his motorbike at speed around Dhaka, Bangladesh, has become a YouTube star. The world has gone crazy. In the past, when people in South Asia acted utterly deranged, we didn’t make them stars. We dubbed them sadhus (prophets) and worshiped them. Wait. Maybe it’s the same thing.
A designer has created drone-proof clothes. The garment hides the “heat signature” that drones (remote-controlled fighter-bombers) use to locate targets, according to a feature on Adam Harvey in Rhizome magazine. I can’t see a big market for this. Are fugitive Taliban terrorists from the mountains north of Pakistan really going to trek to New York fashion houses to buy these? And the trendy young people in New York who normally buy designer clothes-who’s going to send heat-seeking missiles after them? Unless they book a table at Torrisi and fail to show, in which case the maitre d’ might.
A health group in the US last week criticised a restaurant called The Cheesecake Factory for serving 3,000-calorie meals. This is like going to a sauna and complaining that it’s hot. Of course it’s hot. It’s a sauna.
The cheating husband app is coming. But for now, you can only get phones with that function in secondhand stores in Japan. I heard this from a gentleman whom I shall call Phil Anderer (not his real name) who is on his third wife but still has mistresses, due to a tragic medical condition (shriveled conscience).
“There are 200,000 apps in the world but NOT ONE can do what a 2002 Fujitsu flip-phone can do,” he enthused. Cheaters (who prefer to refer to themselves as “players”) do NOT need a high level of security. They need a high level of sneakiness. So he sneers at Smartphone apps which offer password-protected files for secrets. That’s stupid, Phil says. “It’s like a 1000-watt beacon saying: There are things I’m not telling you.”
In contrast, when a Fujitsu flip-phone owner gets a call, text or email from anyone on his list of mistresses, no record appears on the recent calls list, nor on the missed calls list, nor in the contacts list. His wife can spend as much time as she likes scrolling through his phone. She finds nothing.
That’s because the indicators are very subtle, such as a small change in the shape of the battery or antenna icon.
App developers are expected to copy the sneaky Fujitsu system for modern smart-phones this year. But it may be too late for Phil, who is rapidly losing the ability to remember passwords, written or visual. He was looking a bit crushed the last time I saw him. He said: “These says, when I give my 1,000 megawatt smile to young women, they assume I must be one of their fathers’ friends.”
Four signs you are old, from readers: 1) The numbers in your bank account won’t go up and the numbers on your weighing scale won’t go down. 2) Your favorite rock songs are now playing in elevators. 3) It’s Saturday night, you have no-one to see and nowhere to go, and you think: Yippee! 4) “Putting on your best clothes” no longer means choosing between four pairs of jeans.
Actress Jodie Foster got onto a stage in front of the world’s television cameras last week and made a speech in front of 20 million people about how much she valued privacy. Oookaaay.
A bungling drug-smuggler triggered suspicions when he fixed himself a NINE-MINUTE sightseeing holiday. He flew into a Massachusetts airport ready to hand over a tiny package and immediately board a plane heading back, according to a link forwarded reader Rajiv Das. No city in the world is so ugly that it deserves only a nine-minute visit. Except for Xian. And Ulaanbaatar. And Detroit. And Seoul. And Warsaw. And Luanda. And Moscow. And Naypyidaw. And Riyadh. And Maputo. I’ll finish the list when I have a couple of days to spare.
A doctor in Germany is being sued after leaving 16 items in a patient after surgery. I think the doctor probably realized he’d screwed up afterwards, when he couldn’t find his lunchbox.
So, druggie sports star Lance Armstrong is apologising to everyone he lied to. By my calculations, that’s seven billion people. Is he going to do us all personally? I want him on his knees licking the carpet. Tell him to call my secretary.
There’s an outcry just now over a US guy called Bob who secretly outsourced his job to Asia. This is shocking. If everyone in the world’s biggest economy did that, jobs and money would eventually be evenly spread and Planet Earth would become a happy, healthy, united place. We can’t have that.
(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveler. Send ideas and comments via www.mrjam.org)