December 23, 2007

Odd Stories from Asia

I picked up a copy of Asia Weekly yesterday; this is a small magazine published in Hong Kong, made up primarily of news stories about Asia from newspapers and magazines worldwide. In a recent issue (#40; December 10th-16th), there were a number of short but very odd stories that are worth sharing.

First, in the "Would You Believe It?" section, a couple of stories from China:

Health requirements are so strict for women hoping to enter the People's Liberation Army that some recruits try to make up for deficient oral health by replacing their rotten gnashers with dog teeth, reports China's Shenyang Evening News. According to an "unnamed military expert," one recruit from a recent class of 268 young women in Shenyang "failed her physical check last week because she had canine [dog's] teeth."

Doctors in China admit they are baffled after a man began to perspire green sweat. Cheng Shunguo, 52, of Wuhan, says his sweat turned green in the middle of November. "I noticed that my underwear and bed sheets were all green," he said, reports Ananova. Doctors carried out blood tests on Cheng, but found everything to be normal. "We cannot find the cause," admitted a spokesman for the hospital, which reported the case to media in the hope of finding a solution. In 2004, a similar case was reported in China's Guangdong province.

A migrant worker from Chengdu has suffered from a "strange affliction" since 1996, reports China Daily. When suddenly gripped by bouts of the unknown illness, the middle-aged woman is only able to walk backwards. Doctors have been unable to find the cause.

The next story comes from a two-page feature, "My Own Private Korea," which is a selection of excerpts from the writings of George Clayton Foulk, an American naval officer who was an intelligence officer attached to the US Embassy in Korea in the early 1880s (and who was fluent in Korean). The following excerpt comes from the forthcoming book, Inside the Hermit Kingdom: The 1884 Korea Travel Diary of George Clayton Foulk (which sounds fascinating):

A private encounter with two female entertainers:
At one place, two rather pretty girls came in. As usual at first, they were scared out of their wits at the sight of a man with short hair, and "red" (brown) at that. But after I had showed them a mirror, some photographs, &c., and had talked a while, they became quite at home. They sang for me, and told me stories. Suddenly one of them, the prettiest too, reached behind her and brought out a brass bowl, the Korean chamber pot, which girls of caste and officers always carry with them (by a servant) when they go away from home. Without moving an inch from her position, three feet from me, she put this under her clothes, and while she made the pot ring, went on with her conversation as if nothing at all unusual was going on! Great Caesar! I have been to strange lands, but I never experienced anything like this!

Finally, an obituary for a Malaysian policeman who had plenty of chances to die while on duty but finally passed away at home:

To most of his colleagues, as well as the criminals he was chasing, Kulasingam Sabaratnam, or "Kula," might have well been the toughest person they knew on the Royal Malaysian Police Force, says The New Straits Times. He was known for taking risks and surviving them. "Since you all have wives and families, let me go first," he usually told his officers before an action. "I'm not married." Kulasingam's fierce dedication to his work helped to bring about the demise of 25 secret societies and several of the most notorious criminals active in Malaysia during the 1970s, such as the "infamous" robber Botak Chin. In his 35 years on the fource, Kula was spashed with acid, shot, attacked by an axe-wielding psychopath and nearly crushed by a falling tree. In the end, he died after slipping in his bathroom and fracturing a hip. He was bedridden after hip-replacement surgery and died November 29 at the age of 77 after contracting pneumonia. Over 200 people paid their last respects to the former Johor Criminal Investigation Department chief at his funeral.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raje'un.


Rob Wagner said...


I've updated the MEMRI post with the articles you told me about.


JDsg said...

Thanks; yeah, I just visited your blog and saw that.