Now children being banned from economy class too (The Funny Side)

Families watch out. The no-kids campaign is spreading to the economy class on planes. From now on, no babies or children are allowed between rows seven and 14 (now renamed ‘The Quiet Zone’) in economy cabins on AirAsia X routes. Adults who want a seat in that block have to pay an extra US$11.

Regular readers may recall that Malaysia Airlines banned infants from the entire first class section last year. As these policies spread, we unfortunates in other parts of the economy cabin will of course get vastly more than our fair share of crying babies and sticky, whining children.

Or at least YOU will. I’m going to pay the extra fee and move to The Quiet Zone, leaving the rest of you to enjoy my three kids. Mwah ha ha ha ha.

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There are pitched battles in Hong Kong over a shortage of baby milk powder. This is shocking. Mothers may have to look for drastic wacko hippie alternatives such as breastfeeding their babies. Quelle horreur.

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A million people attended the Rural Olympics in India recently to watch games such as Being Run Over By a Tractor. I am not making this up. Other games in the 80-year-old sports festival in the Punjab area included Carrying Bicycles With Teeth and Pulling Trucks With Hair. For people who like more conventional sports, there’s a 100-metre run – for contestants aged over 80. I imagine that one takes a while. Meanwhile, on the western side of this planet, Lance Armstrong is looking for a new sport. I know there’d be massive support if HE signed up for Being Run Over By a Tractor.

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The all-singing ‘Les Miserables’ movie, a surprise hit in Asia, should really be labeled ‘not suitable for children or men’. It’s filled with scenes of full-frontal emotion, leaving audiences weeping. Although I did get a laugh from the fact that even when the heroes are hiding from the bad guys, they sing at the tops of their voices (I paraphrase): ‘We are HIDING! I hope they don’t HEAR US. WE MUST KEEP TOTALLY SILENT! LA LA LA LA.’ Now I know what ‘suspension of disbelief’ means.

I had this musical about a criminal in my mind when a reader sent a link to a recent news item from a reader. An armed masked man broke into a house in Lake City, Florida, and confronted 14 women. But being extremely religious, the ladies were entirely fearless. ‘In the name of Jesus, get out of my home,’ homeowner Jacquie Hagler barked. He put the gun barrel to one woman’s head, but she was unafraid. Shocked, Derek Lee, 24, turned and fled. Police caught him quickly, but news reports said the women had already forgiven him and wanted to help him.

This is of course pretty much the opening scene of ‘Les Miserables’, or would be if the Florida villain had fallen to his knees and started expressing his remorse in an operatic tenor. Maybe he did.

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Here’s some wisdom-you-can-use from a young gentleman called Sixth Form Poet: ‘Honesty is the best policy. Unless you want people to actually like you.’

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The epidemic of extreme politeness in Japan is spreading. Armed robbers are now acting super-nice, to the detriment of their professional standards. Consider two recent cases, forwarded to me by a reader called Hiroto.

A man with a knife walked into a bank in Fukuoka Prefecture, and gently asked the teller to hand over all the money. ‘Certainly, sir,’ the teller replied. ‘Please take a seat.’ The villain sat politely with his knife for ten minutes until police arrived and carted him off. I’m sure all stages of the raid and arrest happened quietly, with voices not rising above a murmur, and everyone bowing to each other the whole time and saying things like: ‘Our bank is honored to be the site of your esteemed robbery attempt.’

In the town of Noto, a woman walked into a store with a bread knife and asked the cashier to hand over the cash. The cashier politely declined. The woman then put the knife away and told the cashier that the police should now be summoned. They waited quietly together until cops arrived, Rocketnews24 reported.

The growing level of politeness in Japan is a problem for officers as well as robbers. When villains don’t threaten staff or take anything, no one knows what to charge them with. ‘Being a total wacko’ is not a crime, as Michael Jackson proved.

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A man was escorted to his wedding by police officers recently, and returned to his cell after the ceremony. Newly arrested fraud suspect Mohit Jain of Mumbai told cops he couldn’t cancel his wedding because he’d invited 2,000 guests, newspapers reported. I’m guessing the priest had to adjust the normal wording, at least to the bride: ‘Do you take this jailbird to be your lawfully wedding jailbird, to have and to hold, assuming you get him back one day?’

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I was on the phone trying to direct someone to my office last week when a news item popped up which said that scientists had learned that dung beetles find their way around by USING THE MILKY WAY. Yet I know humans who get lost on the way to the toilet IN THEIR OWN OFFICES. Another screw-up by evolution.

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Two men have enrolled on a training course to become hangmen in Colombo, I hear from a reader there. He wondered what they actually studied. Knots, like boy scouts, one supposes. For some reason I imagine them practising spelling games.

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Why smart people hate autocorrect: You always end up posting sum thong you didn’t Nintendo.

(15.02.2013 – Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send him ideas and comments via www.mrjam.org)

IANS