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Evil becoming well mannered

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By Nury Vittachi

Here’s an idea for thoughtful people. Always carry around a large number of prosthetic limbs, so if you’re assassinated the guy who does the chalk outline will be able to create a fascinating piece of conceptual art. Of course, it’s obviously better if one doesn’t get knocked off, but it’s important to be considerate, right?

The fact is a steady growth of civility and politeness is seeping into the whole evil-doer/law-enforcer paradigm. I started thinking about this when a reader sent me a news cutting about cops raiding a suspected drug house in the US state of Illinois. During the 90-minute search for evidence, a regular stream of drug-buyers turned up at the front door with cash, and police had to post officers there to politely deflect them.

The actual conversations (repeated at least 10 times) were not recorded but must have gone something like this. “Here for illegal drugs?” “Yes, please!” “Terribly sorry, but we’re doing a major police raid here. Would you mind coming back later? Have a nice day.”

The report reminded me of a robbery in Malaysia some years ago. Armed villains took over a 7-Eleven store to steal stuff from the stock room. To buy themselves time, some gang members put on staff coats and served customers who came in. Afterwards, witnesses told investigators that the only suspicious thing was that shop staff were more courteous and attentive than normal.

That tale in turn reminded one of my colleagues about a thief who went into a McDonald’s in Sydney and demanded cash from the till. The quick-thinking manager said: “Sorry, we can’t open the till unless you buy something.” The robber checked his pockets to see if he had enough cash to buy the cheapest thing on the menu. He didn’t. Again the exact words of the exchange were not recorded, but must have been on these lines: “Sorry, bit short of cash today, I’ll come back another time.” “Sure, don’t be a stranger.”

Now of course committing robberies is still illegal whether you’re polite or not, right? Maybe not. Your columnist asked a lawyer who said that a bank robber in the US last summer tried to use his civility as a legal defense. He argued that since he had waited in line, asked for the cash politely, and used the terms “please” and “I would appreciate it” on the note he handed over, the demand should be seen as a friendly request and the money handed over seen as a gift. The defense failed, but I do think he should have won some sort of award for Largest Public Display of Chutzpah.

The same goes for the prisoner from the famous lock-up at Guantanamo Bay who posted his profile on a big dating websites, describing himself as “detained but ready to mingle”. He had been locked away for eight years, so “ready” was probably a bit of an understatement. But then “half-crazed with desperation” might have come across as needy.

Always better to play it cool. Unless you work at a certain 7-Eleven, where it might make folk suspicious.

(IANS)(image-ci.rockford.il.us)

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Fill This Form To Be Reincarnated In China (The Funny Side)

Fill up a form for reincarnation in China

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The flag of China.
China launches new communication satellite. Pixabay

A woman in China said recently that her dead husband had returned to their home reincarnated as a young cow. It behaves just like him, said Khim Hang, 74, from the Kratie province of Cambodia, without going into detail.

Sounds legit. Since cows divide their time between eating, pooping and sleeping, you can totally see they can remind people of married men.

“The young cow was born in March and has attracted a strong following on social media,” Reuters reported. How depressing it is to read that even farm animals have better web skills than this columnist and his peers.

the image of Reincarnation
FILE IMAGE – Reincarnation

Reincarnation was on my mind after several recent references to it in the media. For example, one news story was headlined: “Pig in Australia steals 18 beers, gets drunk and fights cow”. Reader Mark Agee wrote: “I never believed in reincarnation before but… Dad?”

Then a reader sent me a photo of a sign affixed to the tiger sanctuary in a zoo somewhere in India: “Only those who strongly believe in rebirth should risk going near.”

On the Western side of the planet, newspapers reported the sad news that the delightful Carey Williams, author of books on reincarnation, “passed away” in the first week of March. Surely “took a break” would make more sense? Indeed, I’ve heard it said that tombstones of people who believe in reincarnation should not say “RIP” (Rest In Peace) but “BRB” (Be Right Back).

One of my male friends says that the existence of feminism is proof of rebirth: “Feminists are when guys get reincarnated as women.” I don’t know about his next life but I suspect his current one may be rather on the short side.

Also Read: Kim Jong Un Reportedly on Visit to China

Now here’s the curious thing. Birth rates in the West and the Far East have plummeted while they are rising in South Asia and Africa. So if a Westerner, say Donald Trump, gets reincarnated, there’s a 75 per cent chance he’ll be Asian or African. Hope he’s cool with that. The food in Mumbai’s better than Western “food”, anyway.

In China, the law says that tulkus (Buddhist teachers who have lived at least one past life) must have filled in a Reincarnation Application Form and had it approved in their previous life. I am not making this up. Look up China’s State Religious Affairs Bureau Order No.5 if you don’t believe me.

This writer struggles to believe in reincarnation, but has lots of friends who do.

“Dying people see a light at the end of the tunnel — that’s you being born into your next life,” explained the friend mentioned above.

Wish to travel to China after reading the story?
A woman travelling to China. Pixabay

I told him that was even more depressing! After years of toil on earth, surely you deserve at least a couple of weeks’ holiday somewhere (say the heavenly version of an Ibiza nightclub) before rebirth? Life is exhausting.

Unless of course you’re a pet cow, and only having to divide your time between sleeping, pooping and eating. Maybe Khim Hang’s husband has got the right idea.

If one gets to choose, I would be reborn as a potato. My wife could put me on the sofa, and voila: Everything back to just how it was.

(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send ideas and comments via his Facebook page)  IANS