Each of us has six doubles

A top police officer showed reporters a photo of a wanted criminal - without realizing that it looked exactly like him! Citizens of Kuala Lumpur were highly amused to see senior assistant commissioner Ku Chin Wah issuing a warning while holding up what seemed to be a "selfie". Theories are flying that the criminal and the embarrassed cop are twins separated at birth, said reader Wendy Tong who sent me the links.

Since there are seven billion people on earth, scientists say each of us has SIX exact doubles, she added. I'm tempted to find one of mine and move into his neighbourhood so I can blame him for the extremely large number of stupid or dangerous things I do (as a married men, I get regular reminders of these).

The Global Times reported that bus company employee Liu Yonggang of China was told that he had an exact double: same eyes, same hair, same number of eyes and ears, etc. He met the guy, Zeng Yong, and learned that they even shared the same birthday. "We're brothers," they realized, stunned. And then: "No. We're twins!"

Yes, I know what you're thinking. Add an orchestral soundtrack and this is word-for-word the screenplay of the Disney film "The Parent Trap". I hate the way real life keeps stealing stories from books and movies. Can we not take a class action lawsuit against Fate? Does Fate not respect copyright?

And of course there was that Canadian couple who noticed that their adopted Chinese daughter Lily looked exactly like their friend's adopted Chinese daughter Gillian. The Chinese authorities said they were not related. But it quickly became obvious that the girls were identical twins, taking their first steps on the same day. As they reached the age of six, one of the dads told an ABC reporter: "Both girls like clothes." Well, that clinched it for me.

In that instance, the Chinese authorities were wrong. The odd thing is that Beijing recently passed a "false rumors" law making it illegal to say anything untrue. Yet they do that every day! Here's an actual quote from Li Baodong, Chinese ambassador based in New York: "China has never restricted freedom of speech. There is no media censorship. We guarantee full religious freedom, and journalists, lawyers, human rights advocates have full freedom. The public can express their opinions freely and nobody will be punished or investigated for making opinions." No reporter was able to write this down as we were all rolling on the floor laughing.

Asian laws are strange. In India recently, a man was arrested for "drinking tea in a suspicious manner", the Times of India reported. The case made it all the way to a court in Mumbai, where the judge threw it out. Pity. I would have liked to have seen the arresting officer demonstrate how exactly one can drink tea in an arrestable way. It may be that most of us do this regularly without realizing it, dicing with danger.

If you do get arrested in India for drinking tea in a suspicious manner, I suggest you use this line: "It wasn't me: I have a twin I knew nothing about." And if they don't believe you, tell them to contact Kuala Lumpur's Ku Chin Wah.

(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send comments and ideas via www.mrjam.org)

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