Citizen Nades - Just for the record

MORE than 10 years ago, a group of college students bought several bales of white cloth, sewed them together and painted on them.

They then dubbed it as the "longest banner in Malaysia".

When I read the press release, I told one of the reporters: "Ask them where they are going to hang the banner." A few minutes later, the reporter came back with this line.

"They don't intend to hang it. They just want to get into the book of records."

Malaysians' fascination with records has been recorded in the media. At the drop of a hat, they want to do something just for the record, pardon the pun.

Last week, there were red faces when a Kuching shopping mall's attempt to "set a record" for the largest bowl of Sarawak laksa backfired spectacularly in front of VIPs including state Minister of Local Government Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian as well as Datuk Redzuawan Ismail, or Chef Wan.

The contents of the specially made "bowl" measuring 1.3-metre deep and 3.1-metre wide – including 100kg of Sarawak laksa paste, 225kg of beehoon (rice noodles), 90kg of prawns, 1,008 eggs, 90kg of bean sprouts, and 80kg of chicken – were binned for health purposes.

Much earlier, there was a competition to decide the "longest golf drive on an airport runway" for purposes of getting into the book.

When laughed at, the organisers said that in other countries, professional golfers had been invited to hit from one roof-top to a make-shift green on another.

But everyone knows that when the ball lands on a hard surface such as asphalt on a runway, the ball is likely to run almost twice the distance! By the way, the recognised world record in a competition is 515 yards (471m) by 64-year-old Mike Austin in 1974 at the US Senior National Open Qualifier.

But there are so many other unrecognised "records" in this country which have not got into the books.

For example, there are 1.2 million unlicensed motorists and motorcyclists in Malaysia. These individuals have committed 231,788 traffic offences. Wouldn't that be a record?

Don't we already have the dubious honour of letting free an adult rapist of a 14-year-old after he agreed to marry her?

Ahmad Syukri Yusuf, 28, faced two counts of statutory rape at a court in Kuching – an offence which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail and whipping.

Shouldn't this go into the book too? The girl was 14 when the alleged offences were committed.

Judge Afidah Abdul Rahman discharged the case after she was presented their marriage certificate in court. (The appellate court has since reinstated the case.)

Didn't the government ban the use of yellow apparel and become the laughing stock of the world? It became the first democracy to dictate the colour of clothes its citizens could wear.

Fortunately, the judiciary ruled that it was illegal and hence, businessmen who had stocks of yellow cloth did not file for bankruptcy.

So, to those obsessed with records, getting into the book and five minutes of fame, here are some wayward suggestions:

The first man to take a goat up to the viewing bridge in the Petronas Twin Towers. Nobody has achieved this feat and it is not difficult to beat! Provided the management gives you permission.

What about preparing a bowl of porridge with the biggest variety of fish? It's not that difficult – go to the market and buy one each of the different types of fish and stew them for the record.

Ditto for vegetables – to create the largest mixed vegetable dish.

There are so many veggies available and for a change, you don't have to pour it down the drain because of health reasons. You could call the entire neighbourhood and tah pau for them.

Become the first to be accused of demeaning a religion by referring to the sausages you sell as "hot dogs".

Your actions will be construed as "confusing the congregation" and it may cause street protests.

Yes, more free publicity for the anjing panas!

The Kuching Laksa episode itself for having cooked the meal and later discarding it. It could be cited as the "Biggest publicity provided for the largest wastage of food". Two records with one stone!

If the authorities do act, Malaysia may have the distinction of having the most number of fake holders of PhDs. That will be a record too.

Despite all the gloom, let us look at the brighter side. In April, the Sikh community "set a record" for making 5,138 capati in three hours in conjunction with Vaisakhi festival.

More than 100 men and women toiled in the kitchen for the massive cook-up and the capati was then served with side dishes to guests.

There were no "health issues" and the organisers also sent 1,000 capati to the less privileged in the city so that they have a hearty meal. This is in stark contrast to the debacle in Kuching.

R. Nadeswaran wants to set the record straight – he has no objection to record-breaking feats but don't make fools of yourselves. Comments: