Asia’s most sinful cities

Seven deadly sins — seven lively Asian cities. We all stray off the path of righteousness from time to time.
So if you’re going to end up in hell due to a temptation to eat more than your fair share of stinky tofu, take a detour to Taipei first. Or if pride’s your vice, take a turn toward Manila.
These Asian cities take a sin and turn it into a raison d’être.

1. Gluttony: Taipei, Taiwan

taipei food market
Two men, four chopsticks, myriad good reasons to eat out again.

Cheap eats, everywhere, day or night.
Taipei sports 18 streets dedicated to nothing other than food. Where you might usually expect a bus shelter, instead you’ll find a barbecue. Sidewalks become snack stalls. The pungent smell of stinky tofu fills the air.
Night markets in Taipei have become famous for their snack selections, or xiaochi, literally meaning “small eats.”
The dishes may be little, but so are the prices, running around US$1-2 dollars. A fat gut never came so easily.

2. Sloth: Seoul, South Korea

The digital “activity” of Seoul’s gamer havens.
When South Koreans are not racking up overtime, they’re collecting bandwidth fees.
Seoul’s Internet has been honed, sculpted, streamlined and sped up to such a degree that no one really needs to move, at all, ever, except maybe when the orc hordes descend in “World of Warcraft” and some rapid double-clicking is required.
South Korea has been ranked the 15th laziest country in the world (and the first in Asia) by The Daily Beast. And there’s every reason to assume they’ll get even lazier.
A recently proposed government policy seeks to advance digital technology in the capital, partly influenced by demand for online gaming and streaming video, and will take Internet speeds to 1,000 Mbps by 2012.
So if some of the 39 million connected South Koreans wanted to emulate their favourite national soccer heroes, they may as well just do it via “FIFA Manager.”

3. Pride: Manila, Philippines

Filipino guys
The only men in the world who call out their own name in bed.
Much is made about the loveliness of the Filipino female. But you wouldn’t know it by talking to the Filipino men — they’re too busy gazing lustfully into the mirror.
According to a study from Synovate, Filipino men are the most narcissistic in Asia. A whopping 48 percent consider themselves sexually attractive.
And if the ladies reading this think the guys’ encounters with the brow tweazers are for your benefit, sorry — nine out of 10 Filipino men polled said they liked to look good for themselves, not anyone else.
By way of comparison, just 25 percent of men in Singapore considered themselves sexually attractive, 17 percent in China and Taiwan and a measly 12 percent of Hong Kong guys think the same.

4. Greed: Shenzhen, China

shenzhen industry
Bigger, faster, stronger, richer.
The financial crisis is for suckers.
When everyone else was tightening the belts, Shenzhen carried on regardless, pumping out billions of dollars worth of high-tech products.
Shenzhen is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, with a provincial GDP of US$42 billion — that’s more than some countries such as Guatemala and Lebanon, and four times more than Iceland.
Meanwhile, China’s millionaires keep millionairing — it won’t be long before there are 1 million U.S. dollar millionaires in the country, guided by Shenzhen’s philosophy: if you can’t make a million, make a billion.

5. Lust: Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo sex industry
Whatever tickles your fancy, Tokyo delivers.
Japan’s sex industry is worth an estimated ¥2.5 trillion (US$30 billion), second only to the country’s automobile industry. Is there any competition?
According to “Pink Box” author Joan Sinclair, “Japan offers absolutely everything imaginable.”
From gratuitous puke porn (and worse) to the barely titillating maid cafes, Tokyo is like a dirty old man in a teenager’s body. But one who celebrates his lewd desires with the gusto of an exhibitionist poodle on heat.
Head here to indulge your fetishes or simply to have yourself bathed by a pretty young thing in a uniform.

6. Envy: New Delhi, India

new delhi airport
Leaving on a jet plane, don’t want to come back again.
More Indians emigrated in 2010 than any other nationality in the world except for Mexicans, according to the World Bank’s Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011.
Some 11.4 million Indians headed elsewhere to find a better life, drawn by the lure of things done properly.
India, and its capital New Delhi, has the world’s worst case of grass-is-greener syndrome.

7. Wrath: Pyongyang, North Korea

kim jong il laughing
So much fun to be had as the scourge of all peace-loving nations.

Pugnacious, belligerent, quarrelsome … the North Korean capital is the moody adolescent of the continent. But unlike most spotty delinquents who express their angry insecurities by piercing body parts or coloring their hair, this one sinks ships and shells islands.
North Korea’s national sport is Taekwondo. If there’s a food shortage, the military get served first. Propaganda films talk of the “invincible power” of the North Korean army and posters in the capital state, “The way to peace is on the point of a bayonet.”
Its army comprises nearly 1 million troops, out of a nation of 24 million.
Still, the Dear Leader Kim Jong Il does claim to have made the world’s best ever golf score — an astonishing 38 under par on a regulation 18-hole course incuding five holes-in-one. And that on his first ever attempt, too.
Perhaps he’s not so bad.
What do you think? Who would you nominate? Put your comments below.
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