If you live in a relatively progressive nation, you’d probably take for granted many of these things (be it food, electronics and even love) made freely available to you. Some nations have decided to take on the path less travelled by bucking popular culture. Here is a list of absurd prohibitions that exists in some of these countries around the globe.
After watching The Time Traveler’s wife, we heave a sigh of relief knowing that we’ll never encounter the fates of Clare and Henry in this lifetime. However, it seems that the Chinese are thinking otherwise. Any form of research or speculation on the time-travel subject is banned, in fear that people would attempt to change the course of history. The Chinese officials are either being overly cautious or suffering bouts of paranoia (we’d like to think it’s the latter). Maybe someone should educate them regarding the inexistence of any physical law that would make time-travel possible. Or would that be too much for them to comprehend?
Students in France are denied the luxury of enjoying the mother of all condiments – the tomato ketchup. Yup, that is right. The French has decided to place ketchup on the guillotine for reasons we consider strange. Apparently, ketchup has the power to turn the French against their own – causing them to embrace Americanism. In an attempt to preserve the French food culture, the semi-ban was designed. But here’s the good news – kids are allowed to consume French fries once a week. While they’re at it, they can indulge in their weekly dose of delicious sweetness in the form of glorious red gloop.
#3 Weird Baby Names
Country: New Zealand
Can you imagine growing up with the name ‘Anal’ or ‘4Real’? We definitely can’t, but apparently, parents nowadays find some of these outlandish names appealing (for reasons we absolutely cannot fathom). Well, good thing the government of New Zealand had enough common sense to stop the shenanigans by banning some of the strangest (or “creative” to some) baby names ever thought off, which includes – ‘Lucifer’, ‘Rogue’, ‘Christ’, ‘Knight’, ‘Messiah’, ‘Juztice’ and ‘Queen Victoria’.
The infamous Fidel Castro (Cuba’s ex-president) had the most absurd ban implemented in his country back in the day – the cellphone. Fidel defended the restriction by saying they were very necessary sacrifices in the “battle of ideas” against enemy numero uno – US of the A. But I guess the heavens showed mercy to the Cubans by replacing the dictator with his sane younger brother Raul Castro, who lifted the ban upon taking over the ruling-throne.
#5 Google Street View
Google Street View, the next generation of maps received flak in Greece due to its fear of becoming a ‘Big Brother’ society. Apparently snapshots of individuals urinating in public and exiting strip clubs went viral (sure sucks to be the person photographed). Hence, in response to public protests, Greece implemented a ban – no deploying its street level cameras as a pushback against Google’s spying eyes.
Ronald McDonald was sent packing when Bolivia closed all 8 of its Maccers outlets back in 2002. It was only a matter of time before the McLovin’ had to come to an end, seeing how they weren’t making much profit. The Bolivians hold steadfast to their mantra – “for a good meal, food has to be prepared with love, dedication, certain hygiene standards and proper cooking time.” (everything McDonald’s lacks). Very clearly, the empanadas trumped the Big Macs.
#7 Chewing Gums
Chewing gums were prohibited in the island of Singapore back in 1992 because gums stuck on subway doors disrupted public transport services. If you try to import the chewy candy, you’d risk getting caught – pay a hefty $5,500 fine or sit in jail for a year (whichever suits your fancy?). Well, at least you’ll be keeping your jaw free from any form of excessive exercise.
#8 Baby Walkers
Chubby toddlers seen in baby walkers are the cutest things ever, but do not be deceived. Apparently, the device delays motor and mental development and is responsible for much of baby injuries – which led to the banning of walkers in Canada. Possession of a baby walker can cost you a whopping $100,000. Time to steer clear of those walkers, mommies.
#9 Valentines Day
Country: Saudi Arabia
Romance and any form of public display of affection are considered taboo in Saudi Arabia. So, it probably wouldn’t come as a surprise that Valentines Day is banned in the region. The religious po-pos deem the day of love as an un-Islamic celebration that encourages relationships among the unmarried. Anything red and heart-shaped are also banned from being sold.
#10 “Western” Hairstyles
The Iranian government has an aversion to the idea of the impending spread of decadent Western culture. What better way to stop the madness than to ban all American-and-European-influenced-hairstyles right? All barbers are permitted to give only government-approved haircuts to their customers, failing to do so – will have their joints shut down and penalized. As for those sporting trendy-western-hairdos, be prepared to pay a fine and have your tresses chopped.
Did we miss out on anything else, Nomads?
Main photo credit: 1.