The biggest, the best, the first… Malaysia seems to have a mania for breaking world records. Not satisfied with the saner records we hold, such as the world’s tallest twin towers or the world’s largest flower, our attempts to break new ones range from so random to all out bizarre.
When you’ve got neighbours who’ve achieved the world’s longest kiss (Thailand), the longest marathon drumming (Indonesia), and the most vinyl records smashed in 30 seconds (Singapore), whaddyagonnado? Outdo those flers of course!
So when our ke-kiasuan kicks in, this is what we do – break Guinness World Records. Here are 13:
1. The quickest costume changers
Malaysia just broke another new record on 28th September 2016. You know one of those quick change tricks, where a gorgeous lady wearing a stunning costume is hidden behind a kain, then when the kain is dropped, she’s wearing a completely different costume? Well, Avery Chin and Sylvia Lim completed 18 changes of 19 costumes in 60 seconds!
They broke the Guinness World Records title for the ‘Most costume change illusions in one minute by an individual’, beating the previous record by two outfits (also by fellow Malaysian magicians Vivas Magic at Sunway Pyramid just a few weeks ago). Here’s a video their performance in China:
People always complain that women take forever to get dressed, but we bet Sylvia’s partner never has that problem 😛
To know how quick change performers do this, you can watch this video. But to summarise, the outfits cannot change. They only change in variation and style because they have to fit together in layers. From there, it’s just pulling strings so the dresses fall off.
2. The Badass Best Man
Aren’t weddings beautiful? One guy from Sibu, Sarawak probably thinks so – he’s been best man 1,395 times! Cementing his position in the Guinness Book of World Records on March 2006, Ting Ming Siong’s best man hobby started back in 1975.
But Ming Siong’s not ‘always the best man, never the groom’… he tied the knot in 1978. And no, he didn’t act as his own best man. A friend stood in for him. Taking his duties very seriously, he said, “I study the programme and even memorise license plates of cars used by the bride and groom, to make sure everything goes smoothly.” Now that’s dedikasi!
By night, Ming Siong is just a regular noodle stall operator…
After 1,395 times, you can count on him to be so pro, he’s not gonna fail like this dude.
3. The Peculiar Plane Puller
Letchemanah Ramasamy, affectionately known to Malaysians as Mighty Man, pulled off an incredible feat involving his hair and a 32.5 tonne Boeing 737. In 1990, at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah airport, Subang, Letchemanah pulled the aircraft a distance of 16.85 metres. His feat earned him a Guinness World Record. Nine years down the road, Mighty Man wowed audiences again when he towed a double-decker bus over a distance of 30 metres in Leicestershire, the UK.
He attributed the Herculean strength of his locks to Sunsilk martial arts and kundalini yoga, always observing a strict vegetarian diet before major pulls. “I feel as if I am very big and absolutely invincible. I feel no pain,” he’s said.
Strong as he was, Letchemanah sadly passed away. He died of heart complications on October 2005, at age 55. RIP, Mighty Man!
4. The Stupendous Scorpion Queen
While most of us would rather not be than be within a 10-metre radius with a scorpion, Nur Malena Hassan lived 32 days in a glass box with 6,069 of the arthropods, suffering seven stings in the process! Nicknamed Scorpion Queen (no relation to Mathayus, ‘The Scorpion King’. Or the real Scorpion King), Nur Malena passed her time in the box, reading, watching TV and waving to fascinated onlookers.
Apparently it wasn’t her first time performing such a stunt. She had achieved a world record after living with 2,700 of the poisonous scorpions for 30 days, back in 2001. But a year later, her title was taken over by Thailand’s Kanchana Ketkeaw (spent 31 days in a box with 3,400 scorpions), USA Today reported. Oh yeah, Thailand? The Scorpion Queen then hit back with THIS new record, more than doubling her previous number of scorpions. Does that sting, Thailand? 😛
5. The Phenomenal World’s First Limb Transplant
This next feat is a story so uplifting it makes Malaysians proud. The world’s first arm and hand transplant was performed on one month-old baby girl, Chong Lih Ying at the Selayang Hospital on 18 May 2000. Born with a severely deformed left arm, a team of physicians, led by Dr. V. Pathmanathan, performed the 15-hour surgery to give baby Lih Ying a new lease on life. Her donor was her identical twin sister who had died at birth.
Within this medical achievement, which went down in 2001’s Guinness Book of Records, were two more notable accomplishments – Lih Ying is the youngest patient to undergo transplant surgery and is the only patient who did not require anti-rejection drugs.
Dr. Pathmanathan went on to become is now a Consultant Hand & Microsurgeon at Tropicana Medical Centre.
6. The Kooky Coconut Piercer
Sifu Ho Eng Hui is one uncle with a heckuva bizarre skill. He can wachaaa-chaa-poke into coconuts with a finger. In 2009, he created a new world record after piercing through four coconuts in 12.15 seconds with one finger.
“This finger of mine actually helps me raise my family,” he told The Star. He was referring to his bi-weekly street gigs at Jonker Street, Melaka, which incidentally is a Lonely Planet recommendation too. Here’s a video of his performance to win the Guinness World Record:
Before coconuts, Uncle Ho used to practise poking banana tree trunks in his village rubber estate in Johor.
“I did it every time I passed a banana tree. People said I was mad.” – Uncle Ho
Looks like Tom Hanks could have used lessons from Uncle Ho.
7. The Toothy Train Tugger
With great heaving and hauling, Rathakrishnan Velu pulled not one, not two, but SEVEN KTM coaches… with his chompers! Raja Gigi, as he is famously known, set a Guinness World Record on 30 August 2007, the eve of our 50th Independence Day.
To onlookers’ claps and chants of “Malaysia Boleh”, Rathakrishnan had the cable attached to the 297.1-tonne coaches gripped between his teeth and pushed with his feet against the wooden rafters of the tracks at the old Kuala Lumpur Station, to push himself backwards 2.8 metres.
While dentists would swear by brushing teeth at least twice a day, flossing, filling up on calcium to have strong, healthy teeth, Raja Gigi relies on meditation and jaw exercises – jawxercise!!!
“I don’t know what toothpaste he uses, but I am sure a lot companies will be looking to endorse their products from Rathakrishnan.” – Maximus Ongkili, Cabinet Minister, Daily Mail
8. The Previously Biggest Pencil
Once a record-holder, always a record-holder and that’s what our ex-World’s Largest Pencil will forever be in the hearts of Malaysians. The pencil, a Castell 9000, is located at Faber-Castell’s facility in Taman Perindustrian UEP. It’s made from Malaysian lumber, fitted from small pieces in tongue-and-groove fashion, and German polymer lead. Standing nearly 65 feet tall and housed in a glass enclosure, the Pencil Tower was completed in 2002. The project required more than 7,000 man-hours over a period of two years to complete.
Castell 9000 reigned supreme until a 76-foot-long giant pencil was unveiled in Queens, New York, in celebration of artist and humanitarian, Sri Chinmoy. For the project leader, Ashrita Furman, the pencil was added to 70 Guinness records already under his belt.
9. The Magnificent Magnet Man
Going by a number of names such as the Human Magnet, Mr. Magnet, Magnet Man, Magneto… (nah, we made the last one up :p), Liew Thow Lin can stick metal objects onto his body. But this senior citizen’s superpowers are not due to any source of magnetism. Scientists from Malaysia’s University of Technology found no magnetic field in his body, but that his skin exhibits high levels of friction, providing a suction effect. So by right, Thow Lin is not the Human Magnet – he’s the Human Suction Cup.
Liew has been featured on Discovery Channel’s ‘One Step Beyond’.
10. The Spectacular Shuttle Smasher
Smashing a new world record, Malaysian badminton doubles player, Tan Boon Heong, unofficially broke his own previous world smash speed record at 493kmph. His old record clocked in a speed of 421kmph.
Boon Heong’s badass smash is the greatest recorded speed for a projectile in badminton or any other sport by far, including tennis, football and ice hockey. Naizzz. His ‘weapon’ of choice was the Yonex NANORAY Z-SPEED.
“People started to notice my smashing ability when I was 17 years old. And aware that it is one of my strong points, I spent extra hours working on it.” – Boon Heong, Badmintondoubles.com
11. The Exceptional Egg Crusher
Sivasamy Balakrishnan has gone down in the Guinness Book of Records for ‘Most Eggs Crushed with the Wrist’. We’re not even kidding! On 20 September 2005, Sivasamy crushed 25 eggs in just 30 seconds at his place of work, the Restaurant Naina Mohamed in Ipoh. Placing the egg on the back of his wrist, he bent his fingers backward to break the shells.
If you’d like to try some fun activities with your hands (now, we’ve gotta be kidding ourselves), but crushing eggs is not your thing (is it anyone’s, ever?) try out these tricks. Oh, but you know who would rock the most out of this egg-cracking charade? The mysterious HowToBasics YouTuber. Check out his channel here. A bit age restricted tho, don’t say we didn’t rezponsitabluuuh.
12. The Wonderful Plate Washers
Yeah, Malaysia has an actual record of the longest line of washed plates. So what was this feat about? Apparently, Procter & Gamble organised the event accompanied by Guinness World Records adjudicators and 20,000 hungry Malaysians.
First they ate thousands of plates of Malaysia favourite dish, nasi lemak. Then, using one 800ml bottle of JOY, 26,213 plates were washed and lined 6.84km along the running tracks of the Bukit Jalil stadium.
“Sharing and bonding over a common love of food, everyone here today can proudly say they have contributed in helping put Malaysia on the map by obtaining a globally recognised record-breaking title.” – Tan Sri Datuk Panglima Joseph Kurup, on Guinness World Records
13. The Amazing Angry Birds Playground
Bring a video game to real life? OMG, let’s do it! Nokia, Rovio and Guinness World Records built the world’s biggest Angry Birds playground at Boulevard Strip, Low Yat Plaza, Kuala Lumpur.
It earned the world record for ‘Most People Playing in a Mobile Phone Game Relay’, where 2,030 people played Angry Birds on a single Nokia N8, taking turns to finish one level each. There was also a Sling and Win booth where participants catapulted Angry Birds plushies into a formation of wood and hogs.
But WHY the heck go through such lengths for a world’s biggest Angry Birds playground? Or any of the above “achievements” for that matter? Have we ever seriously explored deep into our inner souls to understand the cause of this great Malaysian performance pressure?
Why Malaysians so like that ar?
We have reached a point where our dogged quests for world records have been called out. Jonathan Kent, BBC, spoke to Sujartha Nair of the Malaysian Book of Records to find out why our “small country” has this “obsession” – the answer? Tun Dr. Mahathir had encouraged many of these record-breaking events, Sujartha said. The feats fever swept across the nation, intensifying under the campaign Malaysia Boleh!
And now, who knows, Malaysians probably broke the record for setting the most number of domestic records. However, do the feats listed in the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR) represent real achievements? Our exploits, documented in MBR, are largely absent from the Guinness Book of World Records. It seems we represent a very low percentage of entries in its database of over 40,000 records, reports Christian Science Monitor.
On average, Guinness rejects 80% of submissions for incompleteness, irrelevance, or sheer idiocy. Turning up their noses at Malaysia’s feats was the spur we needed for our go-it-alone book, said Ricky Yap, an editorial assistant at MBR.
YET, Guinness has more than its fair share of incredibly stupid acts; Garry Turner, most clothes pegs clipped on a face, Alastair Galpin for most snails on face, Paul Hunn, loudest burp (at 110 decibels. Lovely). So, what you’re saying, Guinness, is that a man with a 110-decibel burp can make your list and Uwe Boll can keep on directing one crap movie after another, but you refuse to acknowledge some of our submissions?
Seriously though, not everyone in Malaysia is amused by the MBR and its pages of tricks. “Breaking the world record for the 100 metres, now that’s something. Not eating the most sausages in one go. I mean, who cares?” said Shazli, a banker, reported CS Monitor.
But at an MBR award ceremony for the National Zoo, book founder Datuk Danny Ooi was too busy enjoying the exhilaration that comes with each participant’s moment of glory to pay mind his critics.
“Why not focus on the positive and allow people their 15 minutes of fame? It’s inspirational. Seeing people strive can inspire the nation to excellence.” – Datuk Danny Ooi, founder of the MBR