By Nury Vittachi
Here's a little thank-you to readers.
From time to time I take the comments and emails received on this page and submit bits of them in place of the column that gets printed in newspapers in various countries.
And of course I use your names along with your comments, so that your wit is justly celebrated! So thank you from me, and thank you from hundreds of thousands of readers in many countries. The column that appears in the papers is below.
AND NOW THE good news: The secret of happiness has been discovered. This economic downturn has led many people to realize that satisfaction does not come from filthy lucre. Where is it found? I feel privileged to be able to share this letter from reader Dilys Mackenzie:
"Dear Nury, I am passing this on to you because it worked for me. I have found inner peace! The way to do this is to finish the things you start. I looked round my house today and saw the things I had started but not finished, so I finished them: the vodka, the Bailey's, some red wine, the ice cream and the valium. You have no idea how peaceful I feel now. I intend to continue to do this no matter how big the bottle or carton."
Thanks. So that's all you have to do: Finish everything you start. I wish you luck, Dilys, and promise to visit you on your deathbed in the obesity clinic.
Another secret-of-happiness letter came from reader Carly Wan, who said: "When I am depressed I use The Singapore Technique. I surround myself with bad news from other countries, but look only at good news about my hometown. It really cheers you up."
To start me off, Carly attached a link to a news clip about a January 6 incident in the US city of Ohio. A four-year-old boy took a gun from his parents' room and shot his babysitter. "Jackson County Sheriff John Shashteen said authorities are investigating the shooting," the report said. "The child has not been charged."
I see what she means. That IS an "only in America" type story. But having said that, in Asia toddlers can kill you without guns. They can shoot bird flu or SARS from their nostrils with cruise missile accuracy.
But going back to "finishing everything you start", this is not good advice for dieters. The best way to lose weight is to "get a skinny boyfriend or girlfriend" a reader named Farah said. "One of my friends tried it and she looks good now."
Tying a vow to a relationship really works, other readers agreed. Karuna Menon said he was advised to write down the date he would smoke his last cigarette and read it out loud to someone he loved. He wrote down a date one month ahead and read it to his true love. "I thought it was a joke, and smoked every day of the following month. But when I woke up on the date mentioned, I just stopped."
If that doesn't work for you, don't worry. Smoking comes with its own built-in stopping technique, known by the medical term "death".
A reader named Kanyu Wong shared a brilliant method that Asians can use to become instantly petite. "Just move to Australia," she said. Suddenly you're tiny.
This works well for Asian females, but it stinks for Asian guys. Whenever I buy stuff in Australia, I have to go to the children's department. This is SO not cool for adult males.
I dread the day when Aussie premier Kevin Rudd hosts the leaders of Asian nations at a summit. "Welcome, Premier of China. Come and sit next to me. We went to the mother and baby store and purchased a special high chair just for you."