Syria’s Sexy Side

Bras with flashing lights, transparent g-strings, underwear that is made from little more than fake butterflies and plastic flower petals. No, it is not the dressing room of a Las Vegas gentleman’s club, it’s a shop in a Damascus souk. BBC correspondent Martin Asser recently uncovered some unexpected retail spaces in the Syrian capital. It turns out that, despite the penchant for non-form-flattering outdoor apparel, there is a market in this Levantine country for so called “indoor apparel.”

According to one of the country’s most successful undergarment tailors, religion and sex are not at all at odds, as long as marriage is also involved:

“Our work is all about igniting the desires of a husband for his wife, so he doesn’t go looking elsewhere. It’s a good thing and there’s nothing wrong it.”

Asser also mentions that sexual dissatisfaction is a legit reason for divorce in the Islamic faith.

See the related video here. There is even a book featuring some of the more outlandish designs found in Syrian souks (pictured above).

[via BBC]

Weather and bad behavior cause rides to stop at Hong Kong Disney

According to the operations manager of Hong Kong’s Disneyland, the leading cause of ride stoppages is weather. Nearly seventy percent of all prematurely stopped rides are due to high winds, lightning, or rainfall. But that does not mean that there are not other reasons for cutting the fun short. One of the largest reasons, besides weather, is bad behavior.

According to the park: “The human causes include standing up during rides to take photographs, striking backdrops with umbrellas, or noticeably terrified children being forced onto rides by parents.” So, think twice before dragging Junior on to the super-coaster.

The safety-first rules occasionally cause confrontations between park staff and unruly guests. Staff have recently received training in dealing with guests who don’t know or care about the rules.

The park’s most time consuming task is not enforcing its safety code or watching the skies. It is the nightly inspection of rides, bolt by bolt, that eats away most of the Mouse’s security budget.

The land of badly behaving Buddhists

Cambodia’s dictator for life prime minister, Hun Sen, recently appealed to the country’s Buddhist clergy, telling them to clean up their act. The PM told a convention of top religious leaders that the actions and poor judgment of individual monks has given the whole religion a black eye.

He cited several situations including monks accepting roles as dancers in a music video and an abbot using offerings of money to buy himself a new car. Also, disputes between monks and laypeople are on the rise, according to an independent social analyst.

Hun Sen concluded his address to the holy people by saying “These are individual monks making problems. Citizens should not consider it an issue of the whole religion, but equally, we must not be careless about this issue.”

Buddhist monks have long been revered in Cambodia. Many have become involved in various forms of social work. However, it seems that the recent economic development has affected the religious world as much as the general public.

[via Phnom Penh Post]

Went to Beijing without your condoms? Buy a bus card

Safe sex is going high-tech in Beijing. The old, bright yellow coin-operated condom dispensers were finally ditched by the city’s authorities. They will be replaced by state of the art vending machines that look more like touch screen ATMs than the final stop for those who are about to get their naughty on. The government has installed 411 of the machines already. thousand’s more will be popping up over the coming months. They will be located near bars, nightclubs, in hotels, and adjacent to construction sites.

The Beijing AIDS Prevention Committee has made a deal with the city’s public transportation arm. All you have to do is swipe your OneCard (used for bus and subway fares) and out comes your prophylactic (which costs 5 yuan). And it talks too. (No, not the rubber, the machine). The brightly lit LCD screens will broadcast safe sex and anti-AIDS messages throughout the day.

[via Danwei]

Can new leader save Thailand?

The King of Thailand, who somehow manages to stay above the country’s constant political woes, has official accepted former opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva as the new prime minister. He is the 3rd man to hold the post in the past 12 weeks.

Abhisit was formerly the opposition leader in parliament. He brings youth (he’s only 44) and a reputation for honesty to the country’s top job. Like the Illinois governor’s office, corruption is almost expected from Thailand’s leadership. Abhisit’s perceived incorruptibility might be just what the country needs to start trusting its governing body again.

What does this new political era mean for Thailand’s massive tourism industry? Nothing yet. Until the rift between rival political parties and their supporters is mended, more events like the occupation of Suvarnabhumi Airport are entirely possible. The infrastructure is still in place, but until the unpredictable political climate calms down, it would be hard to expect tourists to flock back to Thailand’s beaches and shopping venues.

[via BBC]