THE NEW LEADER in Hong Kong has got off to a bad start—and he hasn’t even started yet. Leung Chun-ying starts work on July 1. But he is being heavily criticized for having illegal structures under his home.
To put this in context, the Hong Kong government is extremely strict about following building regulations and frequently makes life miserable for little people. But it seems that the rich and powerful can get away with it. That’s why people are cross.
I once got into trouble for having a flower pot outside my front door. True story.
BUDDHISTS WANTING TO gain good karma bought hundreds of live snakes and set them free. Neighbors were not impressed.
More than 200 snakes were let loose in China’s Hebei province by a group called Let Blessings and Wisdom Grow, whose members believe that releasing animals generates good fortune.
A passer-by alerted nearby villagers, who beat a few of the snakes to death, and narrowly resisted doing the same to the visitors.
Reading about the incident in the UK Daily Telegraph on-line gave me shivers, as it reminded me of the time I used to live around the corner from a live snake shop.
The shopkeeper had everything from keelbacks to banded kraits to cobras at about US$10 per kilo (same price whether you wanted to cook them or release them).
I lived in terror of a group of happy Buddhists turning up, buying the lot and releasing them on my front doorstep. Good karma for WHO, that’s my question? Not me.
I reckon that the real problem is that instead of classifying animals the proper scientific way as:
and so on, Asian systems divide animals into “evil” and “non-evil” categories.
Snakes are “maximum evil” and so generate maximum karma.
Last year, a Buddhist group in China released a large number of foxes (which are classified as “medium evil” along with weasels and government officials) next door to a chicken farm containing 20,000 birds.
The farmer failed to see the funny side. (As did the chickens, I imagine.)
TALKING OF POULTRY, chickens are being reverse-engineered into dinosaurs, BBC Science reported last week.
I am not making this up. DNA-doctoring has already created a chicken with a reptile-like snout (below) instead of a beak, and Harvard evolutionary biologist Arhat Abzhanov hopes to develop live “chicken-o-saurus” beasts.
You know who I feel sorry for? The foxes released by Buddhist groups such as the abovementioned Let Blessings and Idiocy Grow.
One day, a fox is going to break into a hen coop and find a MAJOR surprise waiting for him. “Oops. Sorry, ladies,” he’ll say, looking up and backing out as fast as he can.
On the upside, consumers will get extra choices at KFC.
BUYER: “Fried chicken leg please.”
STAFF: “Regular chicken leg or seventy kilo chicken-o-saurus claw?”
PRESIDENT OBAMA last week issued a surprise order allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the US. So, FINALLY he’s going to admit to being a Muslim from Kenya. (If Donald Trump is reading this, don’t get over-excited, it’s a joke.)
THERE IS NOW only 58 cm of road for each citizen of Shenzhen, officials told the Shenzhen Daily newspaper last week.
This 15-million-strong city in Southern China has grown faster than any other community in the world, with the possible exception of “people who don’t like Justin Bieber”.
If you’re planning a driving holiday in Shenzhen, don’t expect to spend happy hours motoring down the open road with the wind in your hair.
THE FREUDIAN SLIP, a belief that spoken errors reveal the issues which are really on our minds, really exists, scientists confirmed last week. Yes, when it comes to grabbing headlines, scientists know just the right bottoms to press. Er, buttons.
TO RETURN to someone we all love to tease, I note that twice recently Donald Trump has been called “a clown”. This is unfair to clowns. Their hair isn’t nearly so ridiculous.
IT’S MONDAY MORNING and a new week is beginning. Now this columnist works at a university and lectures are officially over for this semester. Time to start writing a new book. I thought I would try dictating it instead of writing it—will experiment with some systems and report back. Anyone out there successfully used a dictation system, and if so, which one?