By Mariam Mokhtar
In the last week of October, a Sarawak firm was thrilled to cook the largest bowl of Sarawak laksa. The organisers used around 100kg of Sarawak laksa paste, 225kg of rice noodles, 90kg of prawns, 1008 eggs, 90kg of bean sprouts and 80kg of chicken.
Ironically, the organisers probably achieved a record for the most insults on social media for their futile publicity-seeking-record-chasing exercise. After all the effort at a local Kuching shopping mall, which involved celebrity chef Wan, the super-sized dish, which would have amounted to around 1500 servings, had to be ditched.
The odour from the dish was making people retch and there was a chance that people who ate the food would get food poisoning. So much for publicising Sarawak laksa. Food poisoning is the last thing that Sarawakians want to be associated with their famous dish.
In September, Malaysia's longest sofa was put on display, for a few days, at the Aeon Klebang shopping complex, for Ipohites to admire and try.
At 52.5 metres long, the sofa was registered as the longest sofa in Malaysia, and it successfully entered the Malaysian Book of Records. It had taken six months to complete and after being displayed for a few days in Ipoh, was taken on a tour of Malaysia.
The report said that the denim used to cover the sofa had been donated by 1000 people, who took part in the programme.
According to the Malaysia Creative Sewing Art Association (PSJK) coordinator, Asmassura Tokiman, 40 inmates of the Seberang Perai prison also had a hand in creating the sofa. The programme was called "Be Part of the Breakthrough and Make Someone's Dreams Come True”. The project was a joint effort with the Epal Handicraft Training Centre.
Asmassura said, "Among those who joined the initiative included civil servants, NGO members, as well as schoolchildren. They also donated their pre-loved jeans to make the longest sofa, which can seat up to 140 adults.”
Their objective was to create more opportunities for the public to donate items, including used objects.
Some Ipohites have voiced their criticism. One graduate, who has just returned from overseas said, "I cannot understand the Malaysian penchant for the greatest this, the heaviest that, the longest whatever and the smallest heaven-knows-what! What is the purpose of the exercise? After the longest sofa, or biggest Sarawak laksa, is made, then what?
"Do we wait for the next pointless record breaking feat? When I was studying, I used to work as a volunteer at a charity shop. People would donate their still good, but unwanted items for the shop to sell to the public.
"Apart from the manager who is a salaried worker, the shop is manned by volunteers. The proceeds can then be donated to a deserving charity."
Another person said, "Instead of this gimmicky stunt, why not get people to donate their time, to help at a used clothes collection centre. People leave their clothes for distribution to the needy, an orphanage, or to a flood relief centre.
"Volunteers help to sort out the usable clothes from the damaged ones. Naturally, someone, or some organisation would have to create a collection centre."
One housewife was opposed to the idea of donating clothes and said, "The last time I collected unused second-hand clothes, for a jumble sale, people gave their torn, smelly and dirty clothing.
"The used clothing was not fit for sale or to be given away. I think these people were too lazy to get rid of their worn clothes, and just dumped them with me.
"I would rather people donated their time, to visit prisons, or an old folks home where they could comfort the elderly, many of whom have been abandoned. Alternatively, they can help at an orphanage. "I would not want to be known as a pointless, record-breaking, publicity seeker."