Monday, April 12, 2010

Being too Defensive...

I was talking to this pakcik when I was in a cab the other day (I was in JB so I did not have my car) and we ended up talking about cars... Of which I brought up Top Gear. Well, I consider Top Gear to be the very best car show currently available and I really enjoy the topsy-turvy no holds barred comedic atmosphere of the show.

However, at the mention of Top Gear, this pakcik's eyes darkened and started ranting about the evilness of western television etc. etc. and that they are out to get the ordinary Malaysians by parodying our cars. I was quite surprised actually - what in the world could this man be so angry with Top Gear?

So I went back home and looked it up on the Internet - and I found this...

It seems that this pakcik has not gotten over the above video, where Jeremy Clarkson destroyed a Kelisa. It was picked up by people in parliament in KL (both opposition members and government backbenchers) - and the house broke out in indignant anger at this slight in Malaysian pride - and created a furious firestorm in Malaysian media. And this furore has propagated to this day (4 years later).

I am actually aghast at this misplaced 'national' pride. Are Malaysians that un-self confident that a small parody on the (2nd) national car can cause such anger? Are we that blinded by the fact that Clarkson may be correct on a few counts that it is not that great a car? The fact of the matter is that Clarkson have blown up many cars before and since (including local British cars) and will continue to do so for its entertainment value. Why must we Malaysians have such a low esteem that we rise up in anger over it? Isn't this a serious case of 'Telinga Ringan'? And why must politicians on both sides rile up the situation so much so that some ordinary Malaysians still harbour ill will to a TV show produced half a world away?

I would want the politicians we elect to focus on our own important local issues than to meddle in the entertainment industry - and as a result made Malaysians the laughing stock of the world (some blogs even started to paint our reaction in a similar vein as Kazakhstan vs Borat). In the end it is a comedy. Period. Our politicians should rather focus in ensuring ordinary Malaysian's ability to continue to afford our Kelisas, our Mamak Food and our livelihood.

It may have been four years since that uproar - and Malaysia has since moved forward in our automotive industry. We now have our own (Britain based) F1 team and I seriously hope that we have matured as well - so much so that Malaysian pride is not so thin a veil that it is so easily injured and torn apart.

I am proud of my country - and no amount of parody can injure it - even though I am not blind to its faults and I am Malaysian - more Malaysian than Mr. "Shit 3 times". And to set the record straight about Top Gear, I look further back and found this...

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