LAST WEEK, my 12-year-old daughter and I were strolling down a street in Bali, looking for a child she had played with on her previous visit, four years earlier.
A passer-by scratched her head and pointed to a sports car parked nearby: “I haven’t seen Lakshmi today, but she must be around somewhere: that’s her car.”
“Her car? But Lakshmi’s a KID,” I said.
But I wasn’t really surprised. In many parts of Asia, children start driving scooters when they are barely out of primary school and graduate to cars as soon as they can reach the accelerator.
A recent survey in Bangladesh revealed that hundreds of drivers of three-wheeled taxis were underage, some as young as ten, the Daily Star reported. Rules about having licenses are disregarded since the children are too young to read.
And remember that recent YouTube clip which showed a four-year-old zooming down a highway in China at the wheel of a car, using boxes tied to the soles of her feet to reach the brakes?
At the risk of sounding like a conservative old fogey, let me ask: Do we really want infants driving cars in Asia?
The last time I was in northern Thailand, I was driven to the airport in a huge car driven by a small, nervous boy, apparently snatched from a nearby kindergarten.
He needed detailed directions from me all the way along the route: “Slow down! Big junction ahead, lots of BIG brrm-brrms crossing.”
At the very least, is it too much to ask that one’s taxi driver should be big enough to see over the dashboard?
THE AIRPORT in the US city of Chattanooga last week received a name from an image consultancy called Big Communications. They tabled a recommendation to call it “Chattanooga Airport” (and a large invoice). How can I get a job like this?
A WOMAN gave birth immediately after finishing a half-marathon last week, the press reported. Chicago resident Amber Miller, 27, played down the achievement, saying that she had run marathons while pregnant before.
Next time I want her to actually have the baby ON the run so I can watch it toddling across the finish line with her, still attached by the umbilical chord. Now THAT would impress me.
THE FAVORITE headline of reader Graham Lovell appeared over a report about a British footballer who attacked one of his own supporters: “The Twit Hits the Fan.”
READER WENDY Tong claims men hate shopping because they evolved that way. “For four million years, males were hunters while women were gatherers,” she wrote. “The only way to make men enjoy shopping is if they killed boutique managers with their bare hands before their women took their purchases home.” Actually, Wendy, I think they already do this in Mexico.
OFFICIALS IN Venezuela hired 120 mimes to help direct traffic. US funnyman Jimmy Fallon said: “It’s confusing. You can never tell if the mimes are telling you to stop, or if they’re just trapped in a box.”
READER Bianca Schlimm was amused by the non-protest in Singapore, and reckons people there may have something in common with Germans, as this pic suggests:
SEEN ON the door of a men’s toilet in Beijing: “Mole Restroom”.
Have a great weekend.
Mr Jam over and out.