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The Strongest Parts of Our Bodies

Last year when I only just started blogging I wrote this post about the offbeat news stories in Metro newspaper. Those included a story about the bull who got stuck in the river mud while trying to get to the herd of cows on the opposite bank, and tips for appeasing the over-amorous neighbours whose moans don’t let you have your own quality time.

Frankly, I don’t read Metro very often. I spend so much time reading both printed and digital texts that having something in front of my eyes on the train is too much. But now and again I flick through Metro’s pages, and it somehow happens that it is in the second half of the year that I get to read some really funny stories.

So today I read about a Malaysian man nicknamed “King Tooth” who beat his own record of train-pulling. He tugged the seven-coach 2.9tonnes train almost 3m along the tracks. Rathakrishnan Velu is a strict vegetarian, he gets up every morning at 4.30am to do at least 25km of running and to lift at least 250kg (and not just with his teeth). He is said to attribute much of his dental strength to daily meditations. Indeed, in some videos shown on the web he is seen entering the state of uttermost concentration before embarking on his record-breaking “trail”.

His management is reportedly “slightly disappointed” because the man was expected to tug the train 4m. The government, on the contrary, is elated. The Malaysian cabinet minister Dr Maximus Ongkili is quoted saying: ‘I don’t know what toothpaste he uses. But I’m sure a lot of companies will be looking to endorse their products from Rathakrishnan’.

I included a few images in this post from Metro, but I especially like the one on the left. I think this is the most natural image of profound contemplation since “The Thinker” by Rodin – and strikingly similar, too (see right).

It wouldn’t be Metro, however (or any other respectable newspaper), if it didn’t accompany the story with a selection of other world records in lifting and pulling. So, in the past we’ve had a Pakistani man lifting 51.7kg with his right ear. We’ve got a Briton lifting more than 11kg with his tongue. A Lithuanian lifted 59.18kg with his beard. An Australian pulled “a Boeing 747-400, weighing 187tonnes, a distance of 91m in 1min 27sec”. I suppose this one is not just about the weight or distance, but primarily about the time.

Last but not least, at a strongman contest in Jakarta (Indonesia) in June a man “proved how hard he was by pulling an 8.9tonne bus 50m using his penis“. I won’t contemplate his methods of training, but really, isn’t this the ultimate proof of manhood?

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