Sunday, July 22, 2007

Superlative, record-breaking country

It all started when I teased my colleague about the trashing of Malaysia football team by China and Uzbekistan at the AFC Asian Cup. He started to complain that football here is too political, about being the best only at drinking teh tarik and watching TV, yada yada yada...

Then I realized that here people are, as they seem to me, so into record-breaking. There's barely a day without a record being broken - I'm exaggerating, but it surely feels that way.

Like the Petronas twin towers, which are now the tallest "twin towers" after they were surpassed by Taipei 101 as the tallest building. Hmm, right. If another twin towers come around, they will become the tallest with bridge between the building. And so on...

Don't get me wrong. I admire the twin towers. They're awesome and breathtaking structures. It's the claim that makes it funny.

There's also this Malaysia Book of Records, a book that "recognizes recordholders, recordbreakers and recordcreators in the country". The outstanding achievements include:
- The Highest Can Stacking Event with the record of 26 cans stacked in 10 minutes
- First Malaysian to sail solo around the world. Started from Pulau Langkawi on February 2, 1999
- The Biggest Dinner Gathering on July 16, 2001 at Dataran Ayer Keroh, Melaka. 25,000 people attended, launched by Prime Minister
- The World Longest Coin Line created by 524 volunteers from WWF Malaysia and Dumex Sdn Bhd. Using 2,367,234 pieces of 20 cents to construct the 55.63 km line
- The Longest Malaysian Flag Displayed on the Great Wall of China, by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia students on October 1, 2000
- The Most Number of Trees Planted in One Minute, 110,461 trees planted, involved 152 locations around Peninsular Malaysia on October 15, 2000
- The Biggest 'Teh Tarik' Event with a total of 314 participants. Organised by F&N Dairies Group, held at Central Market on August 27, 2000
- The First Malaysians to Walk the Last Degree to the North Pole. Began on April 12, reached at 7.27am on April 19, 1999

No doubt some these achievements are impressive. Some others are just ridiculous.

Most faces captured on a phonecam... the longest buffet line on the beach... the world's biggest lemang...

(Longest waiting time for banking service could be the next world record...)

Maybe this whole record-breaking is the right thing to do (we can argue that it can help improve confidence of the people, we can argue this will keep most people too busy to think about politics, or any other speculations). Perhaps it helps to get the world know the country.

One has to do what one has to do, right? Boleh lah...

Other articles about Malaysia and record-breaking:
The World Record-Breaking Capital
Malaysia's Record-Breaking Obsession