Super-smelly cinema is here, and I’m off (The Funny Side)

Extreme smelliness is the next big thing in movies. Modules containing 1,000 smells are being bolted to the backs of cinema chairs. Computerized smell-releasers recreate the aromatic pongs of whatever you see on the screen, as tiny motors shake your chair and tiny sprays spurt liquid in your face.

You pay extra for this.

This type of movie cinema, called 4DX, was invented in South Korea, and is now spreading like wildfire, I hear from reader Moon Jae-wook. South Korean 4DX theatres have now opened in China, Thailand and Japan, and negotiations are taking place in India.

I was in a completely normal cinema last week when I received a powerful range of odors from small children nearby, plus some splashes of mystery liquid. This DID NOT enhance my cinema-visiting experience.

Movies I would DEFINITELY NOT like to see in 4DX: Any Sylvester Stallone, Tom Cruise and especially Bruce Willis pics. These guys always end up as sweaty, blood-spattered messes.

A movie I WOULD like to see in 4DX: The new Hunger Gamesmovie: I bet the delectable Jennifer Lawrence smells of peaches.


Mainland Chinese internet censorship firm Anquan advertised last week for a Chief Pornography Identifier with an annual package of 200,000 renminbi (US$32,300). Do they pay you or do you pay them?


Live hobbits have been spotted in Indonesia, park rangers say. No, it’s not actor Danny Devito on holiday, I checked. The tiny people have been identified as living examples of homo floresiensis, a primitive human dubbed “the hobbit” by scientists.

Forest rangers say they twice saw 15 mini-people walking through a swamp at the Kambas National Park in Lampung in March, the Jakarta Post reported. “The rangers monitored their presence for around 15 minutes from a distance of around 35 metres. When the rangers were about to approach them, they immediately hid behind trees and vanished. They ran very fast,” said park spokesman Sukatmoko, who uses only one name.

Indonesian environmentalist Mukri Friatna told the paper that small humans were well known in his country’s forests: “In Kerinci Seblat, they are known as the orang pendek, in Flores as homo floresiensis, and in Bone as members of the Oni tribe.” (Orang pendak means “little people”).

Some observers described them as “pygmies”, so I phoned an expert to ask. He said pygmy was a Western term for populations whose adult males were 5 ft (1.55m) tall or less. “Some anthropologists refer to people slightly over 5 ft as ‘pygmoid’,” he added.

This is ridiculous. That means many Asians are pygmies or pygmoids. In Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Vietnam, the average man is 5 ft 2 ins to 5 ft 5 ins while the average woman is 4 ft 10 ins to 5 ft). Mahatma Gandhi was 5 ft 3 ins.

Surely it’s equally valid to think of Asians as being “proper” human-size while Westerners are grotesque giants? The tallest country in the world is Holland, where pretty much everyone is 6 ft tall, including kindergarten children. I went to Holland once. It was like being in the Land of Knees. You know those YouTube videos which were squeezed into the wrong format causing everyone to look like lampposts? In Holland, that’s real life.


Civil servants should be slapped regularly, an Indian politician said last week. Goan Minister Dayanand Mandrekar was defending former tourism minister Mickky Pacheco, who was arrested for thumping government staff. “Sometimes officials do not do any work properly and do not listen, too,” Mandrekar said, according to the Times of India. “Then, like he said, they should be slapped.” If I was Mr Mandrekar I would be VERY NERVOUS about eating anything from a government canteen from now on.


I saw a dead bird the other day. I was sorely tempted to pick it up and place it in a crowded place so that people would think “bird flu” and run away screaming. The powerful desire to cause disruption for no reason is a powerful genetic impulse which seems to be limited largely to children and “adult” males, if that’s not tautology. Wonder what the evolutionary purpose is?


A tiger has turned pacifist. Provided with a live goat for his dinner, he befriended it instead. Tiger and goat played in the enclosure’s pool together. Zookeepers decided to starve the tiger to give him no choice but to chow down on his new buddy, but the new two friends chose to fast together instead.

After two days, staff rescued the goat and provided the tiger with a portion of raw beef instead, said the report in the Times of India.

The zookeepers at the Bor wildlife sanctuary in Maharashtra, India, insisted they were not being horrible, but were doing a scientific experiment to see whether the tiger was ready to be released back into the wild.

I think the goat should have been given some sort of medal for its ordeal, spending a long time trapped in a small space with a hungry tiger. (This could make a good book or a film: wonder if anyone has thought of it yet?)

It strikes me that the same “I-lived-with-a-dangerous-animal” award should go to anyone who has ever shared a home with Charlie Sheen, Britney Spears, Ike Turner, my children, etc.

The goat’s miraculous story of survival could have made the zoo world famous. So what did the idiotic staff do? They threw the goat into a nearby cage occupied by the tiger’s two sisters, who immediately ate it.

Zookeepers appeared surprised that the female of the species was tougher and more ruthless than the male. These monstrous people seem to know nothing at all about basic biology. Do they not have wives or girlfriends?


Junior despot Kim Jong Un issued his women soldiers with sexy high-heeled platform shoes as part of their official uniform, it was revealed last week. They certainly look good, but I worry about their efficacy on the battlefield. One of my colleagues wears them and gets stuck to manhole covers and escalators several times a day. If this is the cute army with which he is going to launch world war three, I say: Bring it on.


Chinese TV is now so bad that producers have to pay audience members to laugh or cry. The going rate is 100 to 300 renminbi (US$16 to US$48) per day. If you can make yourself weep uncontrollably or roar with hysterically laughter, you can get your fee banged up to 700 renminbi.

The system was exposed by the Yancheng Evening News, whose reporters found job adverts offering people cash to be TV audiences. Among the shows which pay for fake emotion, the report said, was a Hunan TV series about singers called “I Am A Singer”. The creativity level of the title says it all.

To be frank, watching five minutes of ANY mainland China TV channel, especially the news ones, makes me want to cry, fall wailing to the floor or throw myself out of the hotel window.

(19.04.2013 – Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send ideas or comments via

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