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2005-04-15

[weekend edition] Ostracised Green 

Like every serious weblogger, I spend my days with exciting investigative journalism, aka typing important headlines of the day into the Google search field and then diving right into the middle of the action.

Today, the search for my thoughtful query 'ostracised Green' brought up the column "Adventures of the Green Man" by Vijay Verghese at Smart Travel Asia. Read the whole hilarious thing, which includes the following gems:
Later in Bangkok I deplaned to find myself in the churning vortex of the Terrified-Doctors-At-The-Airport Convention. They were a friendly bunch and were eager to learn everything about me. "Do you have a …a…?" one gentleman asked, pointing to his throat. Of course I have a throat. I nodded my head vigorously. Eager not to waste a free consultation or appear to be dismissive, I went on to narrate to him a string of perplexing ailments – a lower back problem, a bent clavicle, insomnia, migraine, an ingrown toe-nail, recurring nightmares and problems with my inner child. "Okay, okay," he said, "welcome to Bangkok."

But there was one more hurdle. My ear tingled. Nothing happened. Instead I was shown a white line on the floor. On one side was a potential 10-day quarantine with pretty nurses cooing "Khop khun kaa", and on the other, Thailand, with crazed whistle-blowing policemen, fearsome traffic, pollution and… I had to force myself to concentrate. Positioning my feet, I took a deep breath and, at the signal, shot out of the starting block. A thermal imaging camera whirred and my picture flashed on the TV screen. It was green. GREEN as the army’s underwear. And glowing. Suddenly it dawned on me why US immigration terms visitors "aliens". ...

And yet another news item. A couple in China blessed with a bonnie baby boy decided to immortalise two historic events of our time by naming their child Saddam Deng Sars. How this boy is ever going to get into the USA in order, over time, to acquire a deeper appreciation of Freedom Fries (as French fries are now called at Congress) and a respectable nickname like Bob, beats me.

He is not alone. Sars is a solid, hewn-from-oak Norwegian surname. People called Sars have for generations been building ships and arm-wrestling reindeer. Now they find themselves ostracised. Well, I can understand that. Reindeer can smell pretty awful. There is even a Sars Institute. Perhaps Saddam Sars will be accepted by a fine Oslo university after which he can return to his native land and stun his family with his newfound skills. I’ll bet they’ve never arm-wrestled a panda.


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