Of Crooked Bridges and Crooked Lawyers

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.


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