A room to let notice that banned Indians, Pakistanis and Africans from responding has provoked outrage in England.
The handwritten advertisement appeared in the window of the Mitcham News newsagent in Upper Green East, Mitcham, south west London last Monday, August 20, and was also spotted in Bineet newsagent in London Road on Tuesday, August 28.
Iyabode Animashaun, 64, who lives in Armfield Crescent, Mitcham, said: “It’s appalling. I find it offensive.”
Recalling riots in the Westbourne Park area of London in the 1950s, in which signs were posted stating “No blacks, no dogs, no Irish”, the 64-year-old former council road sweeper said: “You can’t permeate that mentality. That mentality has to stop. We’re living in a multi-cultural society and it is a really bad attitude to have.”
An employee of the Asian-owned Mitcham News was unperturbed by the advert and declined to comment. But he did confirm the window advertisements earn the shop £1 for a one week display.
Police confirmed such an advertisement could fall foul of legislation under the Public Order Act if its content causes harassment, alarm or distress and said they would follow-up on the report.
When contacted, the author of the advertisement laughed when it was put to him that language he used in the posting could be offensive to ethnic minorities.
He said: “It is not racist. We want to live with other eastern European people and I don’t want to waste anybody’s time. If you don’t like it, don’t call me, it’s simple. I’ve seen many other ads like this so it’s normal.”
Canny Li Ch’in, has earned a fortune providing mourners to cry at the graves of the dearly departed for people too busy to visit their loved ones’ tombs in person.
Li, 36, – from Tianjin city, northern China – has a cast of more than 30 out of work actors and hires them out for funerals and special events like this month’s tomb sweeping festival, where people are supposed to visit their family graves.
“Sadly these days people work too hard to be able to keep up the traditions, but don’t want to lose face in the community or insult their ancestors, so my mourners will go for them,” explained Li.
The basic package of four mourners costs £300 for a one-hour service – that also includes burning joss sticks, placing a ritual food offering at the grave, reading a eulogy and crying loudly in front of the tomb.
“I charge by the 10 minutes for the crying – that’s the most expensive bit. My staff are very skilled wailers. I teach them all how to cry, wail, and sob at the drop of a hat so they sound very mournful,” he added.
Li explained: “Official mourners go back to the old emperors of China. Now our people are all equal, we can all have our own mourners.”
If you live in Switzerland and own two guinea pigs, and one dies, you will be falling foul of the law.
Swiss law was recently tightened and now it is illegal to keep a single guinea pig. So what to do if one dies?
Don’t worry about it, just call Priska Küng, who runs a ‘rent-a-guinea pig’ service to provide companionship for grieving, lonely animals in the twilight of their years.
She lives with around 80 of the furry, squeaky little creatures, in addition to six cats, a number of rabbits, hamsters and mice in the village of Hadlikon, some 30 kilometers from Zürich.
Küng, 41, rents out her guinea pigs, a service that has been in high demand in the Alpine nation ever since animal welfare rules were tightened up a few years ago. Switzerland has forbidden people from keeping lone guinea pigs because the animals are sociable and need each other’s company.
As a result, the sudden death of a guinea pig, shocking enough in itself, can also place the hapless owners outside the law if they only had two of the pets.
That is where Küng comes in.
“Because they hardly ever die at the same time, even if they are exactly the same age, people who don’t want a new guinea pig and lose one of their two animals need an interim solution,” she says.
Without her rent-a-guinea pig service, the owner would have to purchase a new, probably younger guinea pig as a companion to the ageing survivor, whose eventual death would force the purchase of yet another guinea pig, locking the owner into an endless cycle of guinea pig purchases in order to adhere to Swiss law – even though he or she may only ever have wanted one guinea pig in the first place.
She charges 50 Swiss francs (€41) for a castrated male and 60 francs for a female, “as a deposit,” Küng explains.
In effect, she sells the animals but pays back half the purchase price when they are returned. The job of the leased rodents is to cheer up companions in their twilight years.
Some return after just a few poignant weeks, others after months, but some stay away for years.
“Sometimes people realize that they still get so much enjoyment from the guinea pigs that they want to go on keeping them and come back for another one once their supposed last pet has died,” says Küng.
Sometimes she rents out a young guinea pig, sometimes an old one. She gets two to three enquiries per week.
“It’s important that none of the rental guinea pigs just keep getting passed on,” says Küng.
“If an animal has been hired out once, it either stays with me for the rest of its life or it moves somewhere else for good.”
I am sure he wasn’t meaning that HIS rent was too high….
Beso Mchedlishvili discovered an untapped niche in the Georgian market – single women who need a male to help around the house.
Women can hire a ‘husband’ by the hour to tackle tough household tasks like fixing leaking taps, unclogging a drain etc.
However he has discovered that Georgian women were hoping for a little something more.
After being in business for only two months, the number of calls from women seeking something more intimate has far exceeded the calls for actual housework.
“So we have to explain to them that our guys are not male prostitutes,” Mchedlishvili said.
“They can help with repairing a leaking tap, but their job description says nothing about providing affection.”