Reporting on The Asian Reporter

My guess is that those who read the Vanguard on a daily basis either work for the paper, know someone who does, go to PSU or you are just fans of small circulation papers. In any case, I think all of you will enjoy a few highlights from another local paper, The Asian Reporter.

This little rag has one section that never ceases to amuse my sadistic appetite for humorous human suffering and foolishness. It’s called "Around Asia & The Pacific." Within the few blurbs faithfully offered each week there can be found some of the funniest, oddest tales of human experience. So thinking of you always, I hopped on line and now offer you some highlights from the past few weeks. Oh, and I think it’s OK to laugh (or at least mutter "what the fuck" under your breath).

March 1, 2005

Malaysian state offers "Happy Toilets"
KUALA LUMPUR. Malaysia (AP) – A Malaysian state will soon build public toilets equipped with piped music and newspapers for people to enjoy while using the loo. Officials in the northeastern state of Kelantan announced that "Happy and Healthy Toilets" would be built in popular spots, with facilities "guaranteed to make users happy," Malaysia’s national news agency Bernama reported. State public administration official Takiyuddin Hassan said the toilets, to be completed within three months, would have newspapers so that "users could keep up with current issues while performing their business, while being entertained by music."

Feb. 15, 2005

Man spears panther to death to save friend
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – A villager using a spear killed a panther after the animal attacked his friend in a remote Malaysian jungle. Malek Saina, 30, said he was searching for food when a panther attacked him in eastern Pahang state, the newspaper The Star Daily reported. "The panther managed to bite my thigh and I screamed in pain," Malek told the daily. He said he could not reach his spear, which he’d left near a tree. His screams alerted a passing friend who rushed over, grabbed the spear and stabbed the panther twice, killing the animal. Malek was hospitalized with thigh injuries, but was in stable condition.

Brothers live with skeletal remains of father for 20 years
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – Two brothers living in a dilapidated house in northern Malaysia had a skeleton under their bed: the remains of their father, hidden two decades ago because they couldn’t afford a funeral, news reports said. A police team responding to a tip-off found the skeletal remains of Lee Ying Fook, who died in his 60s about 20 years ago, under a mattress in a ramshackle wooden house in Perak state, the New Straits Times reported. Police ruled out foul play, The Star Daily quoted senior police official Che Sab Hanafiah as saying. The daily also quoted one of the brothers, Hai Poh, as saying he didn’t have enough money to give his father a funeral.

Jan. 11, 2005

Three Japanese die after choking on New Year’s mochi
TOKYO (AP) – Three Japanese died and 22 others were hospitalized in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures (states) after choking on sticky rice cakes traditionally eaten during the New Year’s holidays, officials said. Kihei Kurosawa, 80, choked to death on a mochi rice cake at his home in Saitama prefecture (state) north of Tokyo, said Honjo city fire department official Hidenobu Hayashi. Two other men in their 70s from Tokyo and neighboring Chiba prefecture also died over the weekend after choking on the traditional New Year’s dish, according to Chiba police and Tokyo fire officials. Twenty-two Tokyo and Chiba residents were also taken to the hospital during the holidays to dislodge masses of the sticky rice from their throats. Every year, some Japanese die from choking on mochi. Mochi, made of highly compressed sticky rice, is typically grilled and wrapped in dried seaweed, or served in a soup. Last year, three elderly people died after being unable to swallow or remove mochi from their throats. Officials issue annual warnings about the risks of eating mochi, urging people to take small bites, chew well and drink plenty of liquids.

Jan. 28, 2005

Man claims he was attacked for good looks
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – A Malaysian soldier is suing nine colleagues, claiming they were so envious of his good looks and boxing skills that they attacked him with metal rods, a news report said. In a suit filed with the High Court, Private Mohammad Suhaimi Abu Bakar, 22, claimed that the attack in the eastern state of Pahang two years ago left him in a coma for three months, disfigured and unable to undertake outdoor work, the New Straits Times reported. Mohammad said he was a boxing champion in the army when the nine soldiers attacked him in a toilet after a training bout. He said the soldiers told him that they were jealous of his good looks and his status as an army boxing champion, the Straits Times said.