Can you spot the girl?

Male Or Female

Look at the pics above. Which is male and which is female?

The answer may surprise you.

Scroll down to see it.



MOST PEOPLE THINK the face on the left is female, and the face on the right is male. Is that what you thought?

In fact, they are the same picture of the same person. The only difference is that the one on the left has higher contrast than the one on the right. Women are perceived as attractive humans whose lips and eyes are distinct. Men are bland people whose features are less distinct. Guys, we got to hit the eyeshadow, lip-liner, etc.


AN ACQUAINTANCE showed me her baby wrapped in a white shawl. Aiyaah. This should be illegal.

If the blanket isn’t pink or blue, you can’t tell what sex the infant is, and you end up saying:

“What a cute little, er, offspring, he/ she / it looks just like his/ her/ its father/ mother.” All very awkward.

Perhaps she was trying to bring up a gender-neutral baby? A couple in the UK revealed last month that they have been raising a gender-neutral child for five years.

Beck Laxton and Keiran Cooper’s baby, known at home as The Infant, wears trousers or dresses, and plays with toy cars or dolls, as he/ she chooses.

Registered as Sasha, a unisex name, the sex of the child has been a secret for five years.

But now that Sasha is five and has to go into one or other changing room/ toilet, the parents have revealed that their child is physically a “he”.

Why do I have a feeling that this is the second coming of Michael Jackson?


Everyone who emailed me about this issue hated the idea. The report described that infant as “the first gender-neutral child” but that’s not true.

Pretty much ALL parents try to raise their kids that way, offering dolls to boys and toy cars to girls.

I know I did. But you soon give up.


You only need a short conversation with a child dressed in gender-free clothes to know what sex it is.

YOU: “Hi, sweetheart, have you given your Barbie doll a name?”

GENDER NEUTRAL CHILD: “Yeah. Killer Zombie Flesheater Poop Monster.”

YOU: “You’re a boy.”

MOTHER: “Gasp! How did you know?”


The full answer to that question is: I’m a parent.

My daughter came out of the womb mumbling: “Disney princess…. Disney princess” and my son was born looking for disgusting-looking bugs to scare his sister with.


Whatever. Sexual confusion seems to be in the zeitgeist at the moment—the theme is even appearing in foodie books.

A reader sent me a review of a new book called Gay Men Don’t Get Fat. Author Simon Doonan divides food into two groups, “straight” food and “gay” food.


This is one of those ideas that sounds irritatingly ridiculous when you first hear it, and then, after a moment’s thought, re-establishes itself as an obvious and self-evident truth.

Burgers, pizzas and sausages are straight foods.

Tomatoes, yogurt and salad are gay foods. Of course.

How could they be otherwise?

But no need to worry that this new truth will limit your diet. Doonan reckons everyone needs both food groups to have a balanced personality.


Will eating too much salad turn straight people gay? Who knows? I have in my files a claim by scientists in Malaysia that eating okra (also known as ladyfingers or gumbo) has that effect.

But I never saw any follow-up, and assume it was somehow related to attempts to stir up trouble for Anwar Ibrahim. Maybe government agents saw him eating okra.


Heechul as girl

(Korean male pop singer)



While I was writing this, a reader sent me a report that the Girl Guides of Canada just decided to allow a transgender member to join.

The new member is a boy who feels he’s a girl inside.

This is one of those news items that is totally believable in the wild and decadent West, but is utterly impossible to imagine happening in Asia.

“Hello, my nickname is Big Boy, but I’ve been feeling a bit transgender lately so I’d like to join this all-girl organization. Can you point me and my camera-phone in the direction of the communal showers?”


No, here in Asia, women are women and men aren’t. Even if both groups do collect Hello Kitty dolls with equal enthusiasm.

Now pass me a sausage. I need to reinforce my masculinity.



A MAN WAS charged with trespassing—in his own jail cell. Martin Kambate, 44, was due to leave a lock-up in the US state of Arizona, according to a report sent in by an alert reader for my dumb criminals file.

The man refused to move, so cops charged him with trespass. His punishment was to be jailed—or, to be more precise, to be allowed to remain where he was.

Is this a “dumb criminal” tale or a “very clever criminal” tale?


WHATEVER, it reminds me of a case I covered about a guy from Mainland China who sneaked into Hong Kong, and discovered that he hated the place.

He was on a smuggler’s boat trying to get home when marine police caught him and jailed him.

A police officer lamented: “We don’t want him here, he doesn’t want to be here, but the law requires that we keep him here at taxpayers’ expense.”


ASIAN TAXPAYERS must be the most ill-used people in the world. An Indian government body last week issued an official circular announcing that taxpayers’ money would be used to buy a free iPad3 for every legislator, I hear from a reader named Ishaan. You see the problem? Yes: there’s no such thing as an iPad3.

The Times of India worked out that lawmakers in Karnataka noticed that some officials had been given iPad2s and so demanded iPad3s for themselves.

No one checked whether such a thing existed. I bet taxpayers were impressed.




MY NEIGHBOR’S Japanese car has this thing which goes beep beep beep beep if it gets too near a wall.

Why didn’t they have one of those on the Costa Concordia cruise ship?


THE GOVERNMENT of China issued a statement saying that its campaign to eradicate “excessive entertainment” on TV had been successful.

Having watched bits of Chinese TV over the decades, questions spring to mind.

When did this campaign start? Was it when TV first came to China, perhaps? Or earlier, when it was just a twinkle in John Logie Baird’s eye?


RIGHT-WING politician Newt Gingrich said last week that if he was elected US President, he would send a manned spaceship to Mars.

Everyone who would like to see Mr. Gingrich sent to Mars, please raise your hands.


INCIDENTALLY, I’m glad Rick Perry dropped out of the race mentioned above.

Speaking on behalf of the entire human race (as I like to do), I offer this comment: Should the world’s top job be given to a trigger-happy Texan who has trouble communicating?

Nope. Been there, done that. Once was enough.


cnn london mistake

THANKS TO readers who sent me this pic from CNN, which shows that London has moved from the south of England up to the bit that sticks on the right, East Anglia.


THANKS EVEN MORE FOR the emails on the piracy issue, discussed in the previous post.

It seems to me that there is a huge groundswell of opinion on the internet saying that robbing the creators of intellectual property is OK, and people will provide long, convoluted, self-serving justifications.

But if you actually talk to the same people face to face on the subject, they all say the opposite!

Funny old world.