Thursday, April 06, 2006

No More Silly Records Breaking Please!

Diluting The Malaysia Boleh Mantra

If you live in Malaysia, you would have been inundated with inane records being broken of insignificant tasks. As a matter of fact, so many record breakers' applications from Malaysia were rejected by Guinness that the authorities decided to set up their own Malaysia Book Of Records. Let me just say a few things about what is wrong with all that:

1) Makes everyone else cringe (except the participants themselves) - Its not "shame" we are feeling, its more like seeing your parents doing something embarressing in public, its icky and the only response is eyes rolling to the top. Malaysians or associations who think it is fun to do certain record breaking events, must first have the sense of breaking a record of some merit. Things like largest ever ice-cream cake or largest tea bags, are very close to inane stuff.

2) Reflection - What we do in public, and what we claim to be able to do under the banner of Malaysia Boleh REFLECTS squarely back at us. We yell the mantra like kids who had too much sugar, and then proceed to attempt weak record breaking attempts of inane stuff. For those who can, go and break records that are "widely accepted" by the world as records worth mentioning. Do not go and start a new record book so that you can go on recording silly attempts at insignificant stuff. Its a reflection of shallow thinking, naive thinking, katak bawah tempurung, jaguh kampung mentality of the people and authorities responsible. Does it mean that, if we cannot score high enough to get into Mensa Society, that you go and set up a Maesa Society (with easier entry levels of course) - its that kind of second class mentality which will paralyse a large part of our society.

3) Fund raising - Some will question that I am too harsh on these silly events as most are fund raisers. There are 1,001 ways to raise funds. You don't have to go breaking silly records to do that. To use charity as an excuse to do exasperating events is juvenile, infantile, puerile, unsophisticated... and ... (I am running out of harsh words to say here...).

4) Pride or false pride - Many of us will cringe everytime pictures and articles are splashed (even across front pages) in papers. Is that real pride being show by the record breakers, or are we so limited to be able to only show the mediocre things we could do? Do we inadvertently cultivate the thinking that it is OK to be so-so? Why do we need to do a biggest teh tarik cup ever made, or tallest chapati,... cause you can never run out of local food items or local objects, can you?? That is why its inane. I can already think of 100 inane things to set records for: most roti bakar with kaya consumed in 1 minute; the highest kuih talam structure of Twin Towers constructed; biggest sarong; largest low sang; biggest kebaya; longest row of orchids; the biggest popiah constructed; etc...

5) Attempt records of significance - Just follow the Guinness rule book. If they deem it OK to be registered, it should be MORE acceptable since they have been doing it for decades. Some record breakers do have legitimate claims to real records such as Jayabarathy Letchumy's car drag with her hair. Some silly ideas actually turned out to be interesting records by Malaysians, such as the world's longest pencil.

I hope the "record breaking targets" is not part of the 9th Malaysia Plan. For everyone's sake, association leaders, government department heads, hotel marketing managers, junior journalists..... please, enough is enough, have a better screening process before supporting any record breaking attempt. Do not dilute the Malaysia Boleh mantra. As my hero Stephen Chow would say, "Only dim witted leaders can trip me up, ... you useless piece of log, don't walk back home, just roll on home, you useless piece of log!"

I do have one record event which I hope someone will try to break: "The most number of customers served by a government department in an hour".

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