In Thailand, a “Like” on Facebook Can Get You 15 Years in Jail

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In older times, it was “off with your head” if you spoke ill of the King. Now, you go to jail for posting your feelings on Facebook about the Thai monarchy, which many of the Thai folk actively do. In fact, over 10,000 pages of material was found on the social networking, containing images or text that is offensive to the royal family.

The Information Minister of Thailand, Anudith Nakornthap, warned the people of Thailand that if users on Facebook so much as even like or share any kind of information insulting the monarchy, the consequences would be severe. Such a person could be charged with violation of the lese majeste laws of the country, and could serve up to 15 years in prison. He also advised people to ‘unlike’ any pages and remove any comments made on similar lines. In a world where democracy and freedom of speech are taken for granted in most countries, this news might come across as quite surprising. I mean, we’ve lost count of the number of jokes made online at the expense of Bush, Palin and the likes. Thailand however, has always been strict in enforcing laws that protect the dignity of the sovereign.

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China’s Richest Village Is a Tribute to Knockoffs

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China is the most populated country in the world, probably the most hard working country in the world and well on its way toward becoming the richest one as well. Considering how they’ve managed to achieve such a feat is considerably less fun than making snide remarks at their legendary knockoff business.

Millions of brands around the world saw their products replicated cheaply and brands like Mike, Abidas, iFone appeared from nowhere. Though still considerably involved in the replica production China has since come a long way. Just about every manufacturer on Earth has plants there and, more importantly, most of their products are being sold there as well. You’d imagine that once the Asian country got a real taste of proper products, started making some real money and was looking for what to spend it on, they’d forget about the cheap fakes right?Well, sort of, rather unusually, the Chinese have now acquired a taste for expensive fakes. A prime example would be the country’s richest village.

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School Tests Held Outside to Prevent Cheating

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Cheating had become a real issue at a middle school in Whuhan, China’s Hubei Province, so the teachers came up with th idea of having kids take tests outdoors, on the school playground.

In most Western countries, children and their parents would have surely shouted “violation of human rights” if forced to attend classes outside, but at one Chinese learning institution this is seen as an effective way to thwart cheating attempts. Apparently, teachers at the Sihuang Middle School, in Wuhan, had become so desperate to effectively crack down on organized cheating rings, they finally decided the best thing to do was to have students take tests on the school’s playground, meters apart from their colleagues, and under the vigilant eye of supervisors.

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7-Year-Old Girl Forced Dance in Inappropriate Attire to Support Her Family

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During the day, Huang Doudou looks like a normal 7-year-old girl, but seeing her perform at her night job, wearing excessive makeup and dressed inappropriately, you’d think she was twice her age.

Huang Doudou, a primary school student from Urumqi, China, has recently caused controversy in Chinese media, after her shocking story became viral. The 7-year-old lives with her parents in a room just 12-square-meters in size. Her mother has a crippled left leg and tries to support the family by peddling in the streets and babysitting, while her father, who suffers from a serious stomach condition, can only do light jobs. They barely managed to make ends meet every month, so young Huang Doudou stepped in and decided to use her dance skills to contribute to the family budget and pay for her dancing tuition.

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Japan’s Ear-Cleaning Parlors Bring Back Childhood Memories

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Japanese associate ear-cleaning with their childhood and many of them are willing to pay to return to those carefree days if only for just a few minutes. That’s what makes ear-cleaning salons one of the most popular businesses in Japan, right now.

Ever since Japan authorities decided to deregulate ear-cleaning as a medical profession, making it available without a medical license, hundreds of salons offering the service started popping up all over the country. The vast majority of clients are men looking to relax their minds after a stressful day, and travel back to the days when they used to rest their heads on their mothers’ laps for the occasional ear cleaning session. Three out of four clients claim it’s so relaxing they actually fall asleep while the kimono-wearing cleaners excavate the wax out of their ears. Some say their wives clean their ears at home, but it’s just not the same without the traditional Japanese style room and the tatami mats.

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Japan’s Anti-Groping Women-Only Train Cars

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Groping on public transportation is an international problem, but Japanese railway companies have found an effective way to stop it by introducing women-only train and subway cars.

It’s a known fact that Tokyo is overcrowded and that is most obvious during rush hour, when professional pushers shove people into train cars so the doors can close properly. Unfortunately this is the kind of environment where perverts thrive. Usually most people mind their own business, reading a magazine, checking their email or talking on the phone, but some men prefer to talk dirty to the women next to them and groping them. This kind of molestation or “chikan” as the Japanese call it, happens every day in Japanese major cities, and lost of women choose to be quiet and bear it, because of the way male-dominated Japanese society functions. But ever since Japanese railway stations introduced the women-only train cars, they don’t have to, anymore.

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Young Vietnamese Woman Mysteriously Ages Overnight

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Nguyen Thi Phuong is only 26, but judging by her wrinkled and saggy skin, you could easily mistake her for a 70-year-old.

The young woman from Vietnam suffered an allergic reaction in 2008, and after taking some prescribed medication  the skin her face, hands and body started to wrinkle and become saggy, giving her the appearance of an old lady. It all started after Thi Phuong ate some seafood. It gave her such a bad rash that she used to scratch even in her sleep, so to alleviate the symptoms, her husband, Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, bought her some medication. It didn’t work, so she visited a local doctor who prescribed pills for dermatitis, which only made things worse, causing her face to swell up and hives to erupt all over her skin. She stopped taking them after a week and put her hopes in some Chinese practitioners in her town, in the Giong Trom district of Vietnam’s Ben Tre province. They cured her itching and hives, but her skin was becoming saggy.

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Bian Lian – The Ancient Chinese Art of Face Changing

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Bian Lian, or Face Changing, as it’s known in the western world, in an old dramatic art associated with Chinese opera from the Sichuan Province. It is considered a part of China’s cultural heritage and is the only art form to be ranked as a level two national secret.

The skill and speed with which Chinese artists change their beautifully-painted masks has captured audiences’ imagination for centuries. Performers gracefully raise their hands, turn their heads and swing their arms, each time boasting a new mask. The secret of how they manage to change from three to twenty masks during a single performance without anyone realizing the trick has fascinated people since it started being practiced, during the Qing dynasty, around 300 years ago. It is said Bian Lian actually started out as a survival technique. People painted all kinds of designs on their faces to frighten wild animals, but as time went by it became a dramatic art performed on stage. Another legend tells of a people’s hero, a Chinese version of Robin Hood who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, who whenever cornered by guards would change his appearance to confuse them and escape.

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Nothing Says “I Love You” Like a Creepy 3D Mask of Your Face

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Just in case you’ve always wanted a gift that would creep the heck out of your family and friends, but you never really found it, I’m here to tell you your wish has come true. A Japanese company is making incredibly detailed 3D replicas of human faces and selling them as gifts.

REAL-f is a unique company that specializes in 3 Dimensions Photo Forms, which in colloquial terms translates as 3D masks and busts of anyone willing to pay for them. That doesn’t sound weird or impressive at all, but the guys at REAL-f claim their proprietary technology allows them to replicate every detail of the human face, including skin pores, blood vessels and the iris. The Japanese startup first takes photos of the subject from multiple angles, generates a 3D image on the computer and imprints it on vinyl chloride resin stretched over a mold. The result is as impressive as it is unsettling, and words simply don’t do these things justice, just take a look at the photos below…

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Vietnamese Man Still Sleeps with His Dead Wife

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Le Van, the man who made headlines two years ago after it was discovered he had been sleeping with his dead wife for five years, has confirmed he is still sleeping with his beloved, and authorities can’t do anything to stop him.

The story about Le Van’s bizarre sleeping habit broke out at the end of 2009. Vietnamese papers posted photos of a man sleeping with a human-shaped gypsum statue that contained the body of his dead wife. we covered the story and you can read about it here, but long story short, the man couldn’t cope with the loss of his soul mate so he dug up her remains, put them inside the statue and continued sharing a bed with her. It was one of the strangest news of 2009, but I was sure that once word got out, local authorities would somehow convince Le Van to bury the remains of his beloved wife. I was wrong.

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Superman Fan Undergoes Plastic Surgery to Look Like His Favorite Superhero

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Herbert Chavez, a Superman fan from the Philippines, is so obsessed with the Man of Steel that he underwent several plastic surgery procedures just to look like his favorite superhero.

According to a video report by Bandila News’ Marie Lozano, 35-year-old Herbert Chavez has dramatically altered his appearance to look more like Superman. Unfortunately, the report is in Filipino and I’m not very good at that, but the guys at Real Self Blog translated some of it and managed to uncover that Chavez first went under the knife in 1995 and he’s had several other procedures since then. He had a chin augmentation to get Superman’s cleft, rhinoplasty to get Christopher Reeves nose, silicone injections for more plump lips and even thigh implants for a more muscular look. Examining the before and after photos, they speculate he may also have had eye surgery, cheek augmentation and jaw augmentation.

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Japanese Restaurant Serves World’s Largest Sushi Portions

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A restaurant in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture has become famous for serving arguably the world’s largest sushi dishes, up to 20 cm in diameter and nearly 6-kg-heavy.

The Umewaka Restaurant in Anjo City, Japan is unlike any other sushi restaurant in the world. Here the world-renown Japanese delicacy doesn’t come in bite-size servings, unless your name is Francisco Domingo Joaquim and you have the world’s largest mouth. At Umewaka, everything from the futomaki roll to the nigri zushi comes in super-sized servings no one man could hope to finish in one sitting.

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The Tipat War of Bali Is What I Call a Real Food Fight

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Every year the men of Kapal Village, in Bali, celebrate the rice harvest by throwing rice cakes at each other in one of the largest traditional food fights in the world.

Also known as the Aci Rah Pengangon ritual, the Tipat War is preceded by a collective prayer in the inner court of Kapal Village’s Pura Desa (the village temple). Here local men give thanks for the bountiful rice harvest and relax before the upcoming food massacre. After praying, dozens of bare-chested men start the first rice cake fight right in the middle of the temple courtyard. They are divided into two groups and throw tipat (cooked rice wrapped in a square shaped woven coconut leaf) at each other. This fight lasts for only five minutes and is a preliminary event to the full-scale war that is about to take place in the village street outside the temple.

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Breast Slapping – A Thai Beautician’s Alternative to Plastic Surgery

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If you’re serious about making some changes to your appearance but are to afraid to go under the knife, you might want to book a flight to Thailand and give Khemmikka Na Songkhla’s government-approved slapping techniques a try.

I know what you’re thinking – yet another breast-enlargement scam, I was inclined to think that as well, but after doing some research on Khemmikka Na Songkhla’s slapping treatments I found the Thai Health Ministry conducted a six-month study on them and acknowledged her technique as a viable alternative to plastic surgery. The 44 -year-old Bangkok beautician is the only person in the world who knows the secrets of breast, face and buttock slapping, which she inherited from her grandmother. Now, she’s selected planning to select 10 people to pass on her knowledge to, but not for free. Khemmikka is charging 10 million baht ($330,000) for the body-sculpting course, 8 million baht ($260,000) for the breast slapping course, and 5 million baht ($165,000) for the face slapping course. Four people have applied for her courses, so far.

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Chinese Pharmaceutical Factory Looks More Like the Palace of Versailles

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This is what you’d expect to see in the lavish Palace of Versailles built by Louis the XIVth, but it’s actually the inside of a pharmaceutical company in Harbin, northeast China.

Citizens of Harbin were outraged to see what the state-controlled Harbin Pharmaceutical Group spent their funding on rather than solving more pressing issues, like the factory’s sewage problems, but representatives of the company said the recently emerged photos are part of a smear campaign. They claim the photos show the museum, which takes up three floors in the same building as the factory, where the company showcases local art. Now I’m not an expert on Chinese art, but those gold-tinted walls and lavish chandeliers look pretty European, and some of those rooms look an awful lot like conference halls…In fact, photos of the museum on the company’s website showed white-painted walls, brown wooden floors and none of the opulence in the photos.

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