5 Unique Jobs From Across Asia

Irrespective of culture, way of living and upbringing, all humans share many of the same basic needs and desires. For this reason, occupations all over the globe tend to look alike in purpose and practice. Professions like doctors, pharmacists, nurses, bankers, police officers, traffic wardens are omnipresent in almost every developed and developing county of the world. Some jobs however, are an interesting twist on the traditional jobs or are wholly in their own league, reflecting the particular customs or geography of the regions that created them. Thanks to a Quora thread on this topic, I collected some of the most unusual jobs that typically exist in one country. 

1. Betel nut Girls -Taiwan

Betel nut beauties are a common sight along the roadsides in Taiwan. Young women sell betel nuts, cigarettes and drinks along city and country roadsides in Taiwan. They usually wear revealing outfits and their storefronts are typically brightly lit with neon colour to attract customers’ attention. The curiosity surrounding betel nut beauties is whether their dress marks them as victims of exploitation or whether it is a marketing technique to boost their economic situation.

2. Professional Cuddlers - Japan

These paid cuddlers in Japan offer lonely strangers an affectionate cuddle and the chance to fall asleep in their arms, only for the sake of companionship. Japan’s first ‘cuddle café’ opened in October 2012 and customers can cuddle with and sleep with a woman aged 18-30 for as little as 6,000 Yen per hour ($60 USD). This niche enterprise emerged in response to the crippling loneliness (’hikikomori’) that prevails in today’s Japanese society, as young people refrain from getting into relationships due to strict societal conventions that are imposed upon young people once they become married.

3. Paid Internet Commenters – China

In the advent of the 21st century, Chinese authorities realised that the Internet was increasingly gaining ground for political discussions made by grassroots. The Chinese government sought to influence public opinion online by paying Internet commenters to write positive posts in favour of the Communist party line on websites, bulletin board systems and chatrooms. These people pretended to be ordinary citizens and defending the government’s line of thinking. Each government commenter was reportedly paid 50 Chinese cents per post and that is why they are sometimes referred to as the ’50-Cent Party’.

4. Elephant Outfitter – Sri Lanka

Mr Kishinchand Chadiram Thadhani has been an official outfitter to elephants for 47 years. He creates costumes for elephants participating in one of Buddhism’s most important festivals, the Kandy Esala Perahera in Sri Lanka. The 74-year-old man has more than 2,500 elephant dresses and claims to be able to tell a pachyderm’s measurements just by looking at them. “I base my measurements for elephants on my experience with humans”, Thadhani says. He goes on to say that elephants “understand they are richly dressed, they move differently, only they can’t speak to tell you”.

5. Sugar Painters – China

Sugar painting is a traditional Chinese form of folk art using melted sugar to create two dimensional figures. Sugar painting is far different to traditional painting. Because the hot sugar cools down very quickly, the painter has to work swiftly, making sure he follows the correct order of strokes to get every shape just right. Practitioners of this craft use brown or white sugar as the main material, a bronze spoon and a small shovel as tools, and a slab of marble as the canvas. The sugar is melted over a fiery pot and spread over the canvas with the spoon. Once the shape is completed, the shovel is used to glue a wooden stick to the artwork and to separate it from the marble slab.

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