Of Crooked Bridges and Crooked Lawyers

on Monday, January 28, 2008

Recently, a friend, Tropic Temper, posted concerning a parody article about Malaysia which can be found here. I found the article quite funny although I suspect you have to have a good grasp of Malaysian culture, history and current affairs to really appreciate a lot of the "insider" jokes. Of course, it was also full of foul language and some jokes which were in bad taste, which often really detracts from the funny. However, as Tropic Temper pointed out, Malaysians and especially Malaysian Government officials have no sense of humor at all.

"...Uncyclopedia, a parody of online encyclopedia Wikipedia, has been labeled by the Malaysian government as dangerous. The Internal Security Department of Malaysia issued the warning today, saying that the site has "messages and information insulting Malaysia". (From Wikinews)

The same warning urged Malaysians not to distribute the contents of the site.

So as a good Malaysian, I have not distributed the content of the site. But then you already know where to go to read it for yourself. Ooops!

The Internal Security Department of Uncyclopedia responded by issuing a statement of their own which reads, "This article has been declared of PUBLIC CONCERN by the Malaysian Department of Homeland Security. This is because there is no word for "parody" in Malay." and went on to advise readers, "The Internal Security Department of the Uncyclomedia Foundation has identified Malaysia as a dangerous country which has messages and information containing insults, contempt and awareness of the content of Uncyclopedia. It warned its people not to use the country today."

The sad truth is that sometimes we Malaysians are so good at making ourselves look like fools that there is no need for parody at all. For example, we may be the only country (but I could be wrong), where a leader tried to exhort the country to spend billions to build a crooked bridge to replace an existing straight causeway, just to prove that we can do it and not listen to other countries that did not want a crooked bridge. Good argument. Please don't tell Malaysians it is stupid to build an escalator one mile high to nowhere which nobody wants cause then we will have to do it just to prove we can.

To the left: proposed discontinued straight causeway; to the right: proposed crooked
bridge to rejoin the Singapore side of the causeway.

In more current news, a Royal Commission is investigating the possibility of the high level fixing of appointment of judges and court cases. This is derived from a video taken using a cell phone that appears to show a prominent lawyer, Lingam who is on the phone. The audible conversation implies that he is offering someone to fix the selection of judges and the Chief Justice of the country. During the conversation he appears to refer to information that should only be known by just a handful of top personnel and should be considered as restricted information.

His defence may be summarized as " It looks like me and it sounds like me (in the video) but it isn't me. However, if it was me then it must be that I was drunk and if can be shown that I was not drunk then maybe I was just bragging to a potential client."

Honestly, I could live without such silliness. Here is an example of good parody and heck, I am even a fan of Shakira's but it is funny nonetheless. As all good parodies do, it invites us to laugh at the subject and then also at ourselves. My wish is that real life should be less of a joke.


11 comments:

Dave said...

MAD parodies ... My favorite. I used to watch them on SCTV and Saturday Night Live.

I can only imagin driving off the curve on that bridge and into the water if it were a Canadian winter there.

Baba Doodlius said...

Better a crokked bridge than a crooked President. With the bridge the worst you get is a traffic headache. With the President we get years of useless, stupid war.

leslie said...

The video was hilarious. I'm laughing here all by myself. And the crooked bridge seems a bit silly unless it has something to do with the land under the water.

Claire said...

The fake Malaysia article was very funny. I suspect there may be grains of truth hidden in it (racism?). Here in the good old USA we have similar stupid wasting of public funds. We call it pork. Heard of the "bridge to nowhere"? Yeah, we got one too!
The Shakira parody was hilarious, especially because that particular video was so ridiculous. I laughed when I first saw her writhing around in the mud. She just looked stupid doing that. LOL
Real life shouldn't be a joke, but honestly ya gotta laugh at dumbass people sometimes to keep from going nuts.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Dave,
In Malaysia, the curve of the bridge gives more prime spots for suicide attempts.

baba,
I know what you mean although the crooked bridge was a crooked idea from a crooked leader. Still, it did not get through in the end and did not cost lives, unlike the war.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

leslie,
The bridge was supposed to cover a distance of about 300m between Malaysia and Singapore. There already exists a causeway. Singapore saw no need for a new bridge and refuse to give permission for the new bridge, Malaysia then decided to build the bridge anyway but it now needed to rejoin the Singapore half of the causeway.

claire,
Unfortunately, there are grains of truth as you said. I enjoy Shakira's music but there is also the truth that she probably would not be as popular without the gyrations.

Marja said...

Oh I enjoyed the new zealand page of uncyclopedia. Haven't looked up the dutch one yet. I don't know about a malaysian sense or non sense of humor. I do know that The malaysian squirrel has a great sense of humour. The bridge is very crooked indeed.

meggie said...

Great post.
We all need to be able to laugh at ourselves. Pomposity is useless.

Jocelyn said...

I think I'm an honorary Malaysian, as I kind of like that bridge. The straightest line between two points is very often boring.

Good insights, as always.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

marja,
Glad you enjoyed Uncyclopedia. Malaysia is a country full of wonder as in "I wonder what they were thinking when they built that." Hence we have a big stormwater sewer that we call the "Smart tunnel" cause some smart-alek official decided it could double as a highway when it wasn't raining. Of course, every time it rains, it floods and it costs a bomb to clean it out to allow the cars to use it again.

meggie,
Pomposity is useless! I like that. Actually, letting the air out of pompous airbags is one of life's little joys.

jocelyn,
I dub you honorary Malaysian. I guess the crooked bridge is quite elegant in design but unfortunately it comes with a massive bill, is expected to make no difference to the traffic jam (as it's capacity is similar to existing causeway), will cost more to use (toll) and increase journey time, and will need the relocation of the customs and border offices etc. Perhaps we can interest you in some Malaysian real estate with similar features?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

marja,
Glad you enjoyed Uncyclopedia. Malaysia is a country full of wonder as in "I wonder what they were thinking when they built that." Hence we have a big stormwater sewer that we call the "Smart tunnel" cause some smart-alek official decided it could double as a highway when it wasn't raining. Of course, every time it rains, it floods and it costs a bomb to clean it out to allow the cars to use it again.

meggie,
Pomposity is useless! I like that. Actually, letting the air out of pompous airbags is one of life's little joys.

jocelyn,
I dub you honorary Malaysian. I guess the crooked bridge is quite elegant in design but unfortunately it comes with a massive bill, is expected to make no difference to the traffic jam (as it's capacity is similar to existing causeway), will cost more to use (toll) and increase journey time, and will need the relocation of the customs and border offices etc. Perhaps we can interest you in some Malaysian real estate with similar features?

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