Chinese Man Builds 600,000-Cigarette-Pack Fort

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Wang Guanyi, a 46-year-old cigarette pack collector from Longnan, China, has recently built a fort model using 600,000 empty cigarette packs.

Wang is a famous person in his home city because he usually greets everyone with “hello, do you smoke? do you have cigarette packs?” He says he has been fascinated with cigarette packs ever since he was a little boy, and collected his first one off the street, when he was just seven years old. He was first attracted by the bright colors and nice images on the packs, and kept collecting them until he reached an impressive 600,000. As you can imagine, every corner of his house was filled with them, but just when he was running out of space, he saw a TV show about a man who had built a house out of wine bottles, and was inspired to do the same thing with his cigarette pack collection.

It took him about a month to finish his 30-foot fort-like building made with 600,000 colorful cigarette packs. It was 6.06m long, 4.68m wide and 1.68m wide, and won Wang Guanyi a certificate from the China Record Office for the world’s largest cigarette pack structure. Unfortunately, he had built his unique fort on rented space, and since the costs were apparently too high for him to handle, he was forced to tear it down as soon as his record was acknowledged.

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Chinese Craftsman Builds Functional Bicycle from over 10,000 Popsicle Sticks

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A craftsman from Kaiyuan, northeast China, has created a rideable bicycle using more than 10,000 wooden popsicle sticks.

It took him four long months to finish it, but 35-year-old Sun Chao doesn’t regret one second of the time he put into the world’s first popsicle stick bicycle. At 1.5m long, 0.55m wide, 0.95m high and 25 kg heavy, it’s smaller than the average bicycle, but works just as well. Sure, those wooden wheels don’t provide the comfort of air-inflated ones, but Sun Chao rode it for 20 minutes, when he unveiled it in the city square, on June 1, and he didn’t complain. It’s worth noting he is 90 kg heavy, but the popsicle stick bike easily handled the weight. The only metal parts used on this unusual bicycle were the chain and bearings.

Sun Chao says he first became interested in working with wooden popsicle sticks 12 years ago, after seeing a guy make a ship model from them and giving it to his girlfriend, on TV. He was so inspired he started making a small desk lamp from popsicle sticks. Since then he’s made all kinds of stuff from them, including photo frames, building models, tissue boxes, but nothing nearly as impressive as this working bicycle. Just in case you were wondering, he didn’t actually buy 10,000 ice-creams, only the sticks.

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Chinese Men Turn to Pole-Dancing to Tone Their Physique

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After noticing the positive effects pole-dancing has on the bodies of female practitioners, a growing number of Chinese men decided to get past their inhibitions and started practicing pole dancing as a way to strengthen their muscles.

China is the home country of popular martial arts like Kung Fu and Tai Chi, and engaging sports like dragon boat racing, but young Chinese men seem to prefer more modern activities that, until recently, have been considered a feminine activity. According to Yan Shaoxuan, a young instructor at a pole-dancing school in Beijing, pole-dancing is a really effective workout that strengthens the muscles and helps define men’s chest and abdomen.

Until recently, pole-dancing was a taboo topic in Chinese society, associated with sex and nightclubs, but as more and more men take up these classes, general perception is starting to change. Some gyms have even started offering pole-dancing classes to attract clients. All around the world, pole-dancing experts are trying to change people’s minds and get them to see their passion for what it really is – a sporting activity that requires great skill and years of practice to master.

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Chinese School for Gold Diggers Proves Big Hit

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Why bother building a successful career, when you can just marry yourself a rich guy that will pamper and take care of you, forever? A Chinese school, ironically named the Beijing Moral Education Center for Women, claims it can teach single ladies how to get their hands on a billionaire. I know, it sounds like new you’d expect to read on The Onion, but this one’s for real, folks.

According to a popular Chinese saying “Marriage is a career. A good marriage is the most successful career for a woman”. So, considering many Chinese women rate a marriage by how rich the husband is, it comes as no surprise that the courses offered by the Beijing Moral Education Center for Women have been pretty popular. Since the school first opened its gates, in August 2010, over 3,000 students, aged between 21 and 36 have attended its courses, hoping to find Mr Rich Right. Most of them are middle class women who can apparently afford to pay around 20,000 yuan ($3,100) for 10 to 30 husband-hunting classes.

But what does a gold-digger study at one of these schools, you ask? Well, instead of acquiring skills that would help them make a living, these young ladies study the art of being charming. Teachers at the Beijing Moral Education Center for Women are all top-class professionals in their fields; for example, one of them is a Beijing Radio host, and he teaches the girls how to speak with a soft and charming voice. Others teach the art of applying the perfect make-up, and tea-pouring techniques, in short everything a Chinese woman has to know in order to snag a rich husband.

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Indonesia’s Laughing Cock Craze Is No Laughing Matter

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Roosters being sold for hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars might sound like a joke to you, but in many parts of Indonesia it’s very serious business.

They look like ordinary cocks, but it’s only when they start crowing that people realize just how special they really are. Instead of the normal “cock-a-doodle-do”, these birds make a sound similar to human laughter, which earned them the name “laughing cocks“. Trained and raised to make this special sounds, laughing cocks are source of pride for their owners, who feed them only the best foods, and pamper them with large, ornate cages. This breed of chicken originated in South Sulawesi, where it was known as ayam raja (king chicken), because only Burgis kings were allowed to breed them.

Nowadays, anyone who can afford is allowed to breed laughing cocks, and while they are very valuable, they’re also extremely sensitive. They have to be fed properly and their big cages have to be cleaned twice a day, because these birds tend to become ill very easily. But the high maintenance cost is easily covered by the profit of selling laughing cocks or winning regional laughing contests. A day old chick sells for Rp 100,000 ($12), while a 3-month old bird goes for Rp 300,000 ($36) to Rp 500,000 ($59). But it’s the mature laughing roosters that bring the most profit, as the price of a 9-month bird ranges between Rp 3 million ($354) and Rp 5 million ($590).

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Japanese Clone Factory Makes Creepy Lookalike Dolls of Its Clients

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If you’ve always wanted to have yourself cloned, you’re probably going to have to wait a few more years, but in the meantime you can get a creepy doll that looks just like you, from the Clone Factory, in Japan.

Danny Choo, of Culture Japan visited the quirky Clone Factory, in Tokyo’s Akihabara district and decided to try out their services himself. Lucky for us, he also snapped some nice photos of the place and the making process of a miniature clone doll. The so-called cloning process begins with the subject sitting on a chair in a room surrounded by SLR cameras and lighting stands. After he/she has the proper pose, the cameras start triggering in a loop, taking photos from all possible angles. The photos are then transferred into a computer and a 3D model of the client’s head is rendered. Once that’s out of the way, it’s time for the actual doll-making.

This all happens in Japan, so, obviously, they have a high-tech printer that pretty much does all the work. All they have to do is connect it to the computer, insert a tray full of plaster powder and the printer creates the detailed model using layers of ink which harden in the plaster. When the tray comes out, it looks pretty much untouched, but once the excess plaster powder is removed, a creepy, smiling doll is revealed, and it looks so much like an actual person it’s not even funny.

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Sepak Takraw – A Combination of Football, Volleyball and Kung-Fu

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Invented around 500 years ago, in Malaysia, Sepak Takraw remains one of the most spectacular sports in the world. It combines elements from football, volleyball and martial arts, and is real fun to watch.

It is believed Sepak Trakaw is based on the Chinese game of “Cuju” (kick-ball), after it was introduced to Southeastern Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand, by early traders. By the early 1400s, the game had already become very popular and was played mainly by men and boys standing in a circle and kicking the ball back and forth. Earliest historical mentions date back to the 15th century, when, according to an important historical document, it was very popular at the court of the Malacca Sultanate. In Bangkok, murals at the Wat Phra Kaeo show Hanuman, the monkey king, playing Sepak Trakaw with a group of monkeys.

Sepak Takraw is played on a court similar to that of badminton, between two teams made up of three players, each. The ball used is bigger than a tennis ball, but smaller than a volleyball, and weighs between 170 and 180 grams. The goal of the game is to send the ball into the opponents’ half so that it touches the floor, while using only your legs and head. It’s kind of like volleyball, only no hands are allowed. A game of Sepak Takraw consists of two sets, each played until one team reaches 21 points (unless the other team has 20 points, in which case a two-point difference is required, to win). If each team wins a set, a tie-break round is played, until one team has 14 points.

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Dangerous Railway Therapy Practiced in Indonesia

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While it might look like they are protesting against something or staging a gruesome mass suicide, the people of Rawa Buaya are actually looking to cure their illnesses by laying on the train tracks.

In western countries, most people think high levels of electric energy cause cancer, but to the inhabitants of Rawa Buaya, in Indonesia’s West Java, electricity is the ultimate cure. From young children to old folk, they all lie on train tracks passing through their settlement, hoping the electric energy from them will cure their various sicknesses. Not even the potentially lethal trains passing on opposite tracks don’t seem to be scaring these Indonesians away.

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Man Drinks Gasoline for 42 Years, as Medicine

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For decades gasoline has been used to power vehicles and machinery, but 71-year-old Chen Dejun proves it works very well for humans, too.

Chen Jejun lives alone in a thatched cottage on a hill in China’s Shuijiang municipality. He’s known by the locals as a stone cutter and master bamboo weaver, but also for his unusual habit of drinking gasoline. The slender old man estimates he drinks around 3 to 3.5 liters of gasoline every month, to relieve any physical pain. He buys gasoline from a station at the bottom of the hill, and although it’s hard for him to calculate how much gasoline he has consumed throughout his life, judging by his daily habit, reporters of the Chongqing Evening News estimate he has drunk around 1.5 tons of fuel over the last 42 years.

He first started drinking gasoline in 1969, when he suddenly began coughing and felt a sharp pain in his chest. He tried some medicine, which didn’t seem to help him much, so after the elders of his village told him he might have tuberculosis and should try drinking some kerosene, he didn’t think twice about it. After drinking his first cup he felt sick to his stomach and decided to go to bed. One hour later he woke up feeling much better, so he continued drinking the stuff to ease the pain.

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Taiwan’s Funeral Strippers Dance for the Dead

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Ok, what’s the last thing you’d expect to see at a funeral? So maybe stripper isn’t the first thing that pops into your head, but you have to admit it’s pretty darn strange. Apparently, in Taiwan, bringing a stripper to the funeral is an important part of the grieving process.

Taiwan’s funeral strippers would have probably remained a mystery to the western world, if not for the efforts of anthropologist Mark L. Moskowitz, who wanted to show US audiences what real culture is. His 40-minute documentary, Dancing for the Dead: Funeral Strippers in Taiwan, sheds light on the bizarre practice through interviews with strippers, government officials and common folk.

Funeral strippers are apparently a pretty big part of Taiwanese culture, especially in rural areas. Up to the mid 1980s, this kind of raunchy performances took place all over the island, even in the capital city of Taipei, but after authorities passed laws against it, it disappeared from urban settlements and moved to the country. The laws aren’t as easy to enforce there and people seem to enjoy going to a funeral knowing they’ll get some adult entertainment. Strippers usually arrive on the back of diesel trucks known as Electric Flower Cars, and perform in front of the dead and his mourners. The scantly-dressed girls do pole dancing, sing, and some even come down  from their stage to interact with the audience (sit on their laps, give lap dances, shove their heads into their breasts, etc.).

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Artificially Dyed Frogs Are the New Craze in China

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Just like tattooed gold fish and live turtles sealed in keychains, artificially dyed frogs have been sold in China for a few years now, despite complaints from animal activists and warnings from animal welfare experts.

It seems regular frogs weren’t cheerful-looking enough for some people, so they decided to add a bit more color to mother nature’s design, through modern technology. Using various devices and techniques, including lasers and bombarding the poor amphibians with large amounts of industrial chemicals which are absorbed by their skin, they create what is known as colored frogs. The colors are vibrant and apparently last for up to 4-5 years.

For some reason, many Chinese seem to like these radioactive-looking frogs, and they are in very high demand at aquariums and ponds across the country. Some even buy them as pets for their children, and vendors say people “like the bright colors because they are so cheerful”. Unfortunately, few of them understand that the high doses of chemicals are lethal as indicated by signs like “Not for human consumption” on the side of their tanks. Experts say thousands of tropical frogs could die as a result of this colored frog trend.

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Matchmaking Event Held Only for China’s Rich Bachelors

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Chinese bachelors (with enough cash in their bank accounts) who wanted to find a nice hot girlfriend, had a chance to pick from 60 beautiful women parading in swimsuits, during a rich-only matchmaking event, in Wuhan.

Beautiful girls dressed in sexy swimsuits parading on a small stage set up on a beach – that sounds a lot like a beauty pageant or a fashion show, except for the audience made-up almost exclusively of men who couldn’t take their eyes off the beautiful contestants. It was actually a special matchmaking event addressed to China’s rich bachelors. The 60 girls who paraded in front of their potential boyfriends had qualified from a previous round, and tried their best to prove they made suitable arm-candy.

In order to gain admittance to the event, the men had to pay a 99,999 ($15,425) fee and provide proof they owned assets of over 30 million yuan ($4,627,000) or had an annual income of at least 1 million yuan ($154,237). So the next time you’re in China and you see a hot  chick, check your pockets before making your move, you may have to qualify for a date.

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Indians Swallow Raw Fish to Cure Asthma

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India is known for the wide variety of folk remedies for various ailments, and one of the most popular right now is the raw-fish-swallowing therapy practiced by the Goud family, in Hyderabad.

Asthma is one of the most serious respiratory conditions a person can have, and since conventional medicine doesn’t offer a permanent cure, many are willing to try any kinds of treatment, no matter how bizarre. One of these is the fish swallowing cure offered by the Goud family, for the last 166 years. Every year, during the month of June, hundreds of thousands of people flock to Hyderabad to try this unusual remedy, on the day of Mrigashira Karthi. Around 500 volunteers administer the miracle cure: live 2-inch to 3-inch long murrel fish which have been fed a drop of the secret herbal formula the Goud’s claim cures asthma within three years.

Ingredients for the medicine are collected two-three months before the big day, mixed the day before using water from the Goud family’s well, and administered to asthma sufferers free of charge. The patient is advised not to eat or drink anything four hours before swallowing the raw fish and two hours after. Also, he must be aware that he must come back for the cure three consecutive years, if he wants to get rid of the asthma permanently.

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India’s Ram Ram Bank Gives Whole New Meaning to Banking

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It has no guards, no locks, offers no interest or credit schemes, and doesn’t event deal in money. Still, India’s unusual Ram Ram Bank, in New Delhi, serves over 5,000 happy customers, with more signing up every day.

Ram Ram Bank was established 25 years ago, by Tewari, a retired school teacher from Sitapur, who quit his job in 1983, after his guru advised him to devote his life to Lord Ram. He got the idea of opening a bank where people could deposit their “Ram naam” (pieces of paper with the Lord’s name scribbled hundreds of times). He didn’t need any security, since the writings were of no use to mere mortals, and all he had to do was deposit them and ocasionally take them to be displayed at a temple in Ayodhya, the birthplace of Ram.

Scribbling Ram naam notes has always been very popular in India. Some people say it helps them connect with God, others say the faith helps them work harder to achieve their goals, but all of them claim that writing Ram’s name just makes them feel better. In the past, everyone who wrote these holy notes traveled to Ayodhya themselves and deposited them at the temple, but in this day and age fewer people find the time to do it anymore. That’s where the Ram Ram Bank comes into play. All a person has to do is write his Ram naams every day and send them straight to the bank, or hand them over to one of the many volunteers around the city, at their own convenience.The pieces of paper are deposited in a small room, and taken to Ayodhya every six months.

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This Is What I Call a Smoking Car

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In celebration of the World Anti-Tobacco Day, campaigners in Mumbai, India, have created an impressive life-size car model from 200,000 cigarettes. The smokable installation was placed on display in a Mumbai shopping mall, where it attracted the attention of everyone who passed by. But it was the message in the background that really caught my eye; apparently an average smoker will make short work of the 200,000 cigarettes in just a few years…

India is currently the second largest producer and consumer of tobacco, after China. At least one fifth of India’s population (roughly 241 million people) consume tobacco in some form.

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