A man’s skin turned green after he ate river snails. “I looked like the Incredible Hulk,” He Yong of Guizhou province in China told the Guiyang Evening News. Even his eyes turned green.
Readers with a pathetic juvenile streak will surely have the same reaction as I did: Cool, how can I do this to myself?
The answer is: not easily, since eating river snails can kill you. But anyway, guys, the truth is that girls are never as turned on by this sort of thing as guys think they will be. The one female I showed this story to had a very negative reaction: “Eating snails to give yourself green skin is weird and bizarre and disgusting,” she said. I replied: “And your point is?” Females often talk as if being gross was a bad thing, being unable to see that such acts have enormous intrinsic entertainment value in themselves.
Happily for guys, tales of bizarre interactions between humanity and the animal kingdom are common, and quickly became the theme of the week.
No sooner had I finished checking sources to make sure the green-skinned man story was true (it was) than a reader sent me a recent report about a pet in Uttar Pradesh. A man got angry when his neighbour’s dog pooped on his doorstep. The resulting armed fight ended up with four dead and four on the critical list. Some would describe this as an “over-reaction”. Maybe. But it’s a good thing it didn’t happen in the US, where it would surely have led to a US invasion of a Middle Eastern country.
The following morning, another animal-related news link was sent in by a reader: “Pilot Lands Plane On Cow”. A Lion Air flight was approaching Gorontalo City airport in Indonesia when three cows wandered into the middle of the runway. Splat! There was instant steak tartar all over the runway. Nobody was hurt, the press said, which I assume means that no one asked the cows how they felt. Important tip for travellers: I would SERIOUSLY avoid choosing beef airline meals on Asian budget flights for a while.
But for the worst human-animal story of recent days, or perhaps since the beginning of time, we return to China. Reader Brian Chin sent me the nightmarish true story of a man named Wang Pengsheng in Dafeng, Jiangsu province, who decided to breed one million cockroaches for use in Chinese medicine. (Remind me never to complain about Western medicine again.) There was a security malfunction on his cockroach farm recently and the whole lot escaped, the Modern Express reported.
I don’t know about you, but the image of a one-million strong wave of cockroaches surging across China gives me instant palpitations. If that country had a functional media, there would no doubt be a 1.3 billion strong wave of humans surging away from Mr. Wang’s farm. (Prediction: Mr. Wang will not win the “Neighbour of the Year” award this year.)
That news report alone is almost reason enough to make me want to leave Asia for good. (I think I can actually hear the wave of cockroaches approaching my office.) But if I did that, I would never be able to enjoy a meal of snails that would turn my skin green. Why is life so full of hard decisions?
(The writer is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send comments and ideas via www.mrjam.org)