From blah to silly and downright frivolous articles carried by Malaysian newspapers, we pick this year’s pointless stories (so far) that shouldn’t have seen the light of day.
Papers should leave out the silly. In fact, we at Cilisos say, leave it to us, since we are not an established, “proper, proper” news organisation. Case in point, we have stories like this about famous people giving fingers to banners. Read on and join us in a collective sigh and say, “Eh? How is this even a thing?” (Click on the pictures to head to the original articles)
1. Good for you, nothing to do with me
There are news articles that, upon reading, would make you wonder why you bothered to start. It has got nothing to do with you and it serves you absolutely no benefit. These stories are usually about specific companies, and unless you work for them, and the majority of us don’t, these bits are utterly pointless.
Reading such stories feels a lot like an alien abduction, you lose time. While a better place for them would be in internal memos or an in-house newsletter, stories that tell of staff parking or a pickle producing company wanting to expand (and these are just some of the many examples we have found) has no room in the public news domain. Just like how you wouldn’t want to read about how our office tea lady has a bad BO problem, or how our company has new chairs for the staff, these stories are in no way news.
Pointless Score: Factor 10
2. Why so hot?
Yes, our neighbour and frenemy, Singapore, we can deal with their complaining – it is, after all, their culture and we should respect that. This month, their laments and whines reached our shores and congested our nose to sniff out real news. So they think our fried rice is too spicy, no biggie. Considering that they are used to bland local food (and a weird version of Char Kuey Teow), we can understand, hell even sympathise, why seasoned food would bring on an unfamiliar sensation. If disliking food or getting sick from eating out is news, then our papers would need a dedicated pull-out every week, because these occurrences are by no means rare, let’s be honest.
While lodging a police report does inch this article closer to being somewhat newsworthy, we suspect it is just an unsurprising dick move from a Singaporean. The incident unleashed a torrent of useless follow-up stories that gain traction, much like this piece from the Star on how caring food vendors should warn foreigners before they partake in our local fare. Yawn.
Pointless Score: Bland
3. Better out than in
Another mention of Singapore found its way into our news stream and it came in the form of a sign that told taxi passengers not to let one rip while in the car. It turned out the no farting in the cab sign was unauthorised and was probably just something a bored cabbie did for his own amusement. Granted farts are always amusing and a staple in many jokes, how this story found its way to the news desk of Sin Chew Daily, then picked up by the Star, is anybody’s guess. Our hunch is because it plays to our collective impression of our dear neighbours. Still, wouldn’t it be great if it actually was a real thing? How would cabbies enforce the rule? Would they have to pre-emptively tell you off when they see you lean, ever so slightly, to one side? Or would they wait for the smell to hit?
Pointless Score: Stinker
4. To avoid confusion
We love the word “confusion” in our news. If people from other countries scanned our news cycle, they may think that we just walk around dazed and disorientated. Everything must to be legislated or made “big big” or “clear clear” lest we descend into anarchy, like cats that need herding. So here is a community piece that says unless tables at a food court are numbered, chaos would surely ensue.
The madness before clear numerals were emblazoned on the dining surface must have been utterly frightening. In our minds, the Char Kuey Teow lady is screaming, her hair in disarray while the Chee Cheong Fun man holds his cleaver high above his head demanding order be restored. The children are in tears, their parents throwing their heads back in defeat and surrender as they all simply do not know from which stall their immediate meal was coming from. Scary stuff.
Pointless Score: Pandemonium
5. Sex sells
That is what the media always says. Sex, just the three letters, can titillate the public and put them on high alert like meerkats in the savannah. This one though is there just for its shaming factor. A guy got naked on Skype and was startled to find that he was later blackmailed by his lady friend. He cried his way to Michael Chong asking for help. The threat was that pictures of him, in all his full frontal glory, would be posted on Facebook if he didn’t pay his blackmailer, a screen cap savant, the whopping sum of RM2,500. We honestly cannot say which is more humiliating; going to the press or just letting the pictures be seen. Either way, there is no way of talking about his situation without using the words “stupid” or “gullible”. We suspect that he promptly replies emails from Nigerian princes and clicks on pop-up penis lengthening adverts.
Pointless Score: Duh
6. Really, sex sells
These days, news of catching people doing the nasty in a car just doesn’t elicit the thrill it used to. Ever-vigilant religious enforcers suspected hanky-panky in a parked vehicle. Their clue? The windscreen was covered with cushions. When they peered in, a couple was seen adjusting their clothing. This report, which focused on how throw pillows were inventively used (or not), probably was intended to dissuade folks from getting it on in public and out of wedlock. However, just as the story failed to shock, it also failed to be something that’s worth reporting.
Pointless Score: Cloaked
7. Women and work
If you paid any attention to these two stories, published days apart, you would think that women in this country are having a terrible time breaking stereotypes and the glass ceiling. The first piece revealed that nearly 70% of the people polled preferred male bosses (because women are emotional) and the second story said that women are not “savvy” with money and should take financial lessons. In this day and age, political correctness aside, women’s role, in life and in the workforce, isn’t seen as secondary or supplementary. Stories likes these feel terribly outdated. While we are not ready to call them totally pointless, as they do reflect our perception as a nation, we can say for certain say that the message they send is unnecessary.
Pointless Score: Harmful
8. Selfie surge
Ah, President Obama was in town and the excitement spread, sparing none, including the PM. Sharing selfies like a teenager, Najib made the most of his face time with the prez, #OMG. So, while KL-lites grumbled about the traffic jam the visit caused, PM’s fingers were dancing over his phone screen and maxed out his data plan uploading not one, not two, but 31 snaps. NST used the words “milestone” and indeed it was one, as few of us can claim such a large picture dump online. Obama proved that he certainly can turn a country’s leader into a giddy fan, yes he can, and did.
Oh if you want to see an oh-so chummy pic of our PM and Obama, aptly titled “My selfie with President Obama (complete with a spacing error)! Click here.
Pointless Score: #unnecessary
9. PSAs for the dummies
Public service announcements (PSA) usually come in the form of telling you not to do drugs, or for kids to stay in school. This recent appeal to the people of Johor Baru tells them to pull the plugs out of electric sockets during thunderstorms. Akin to telling people not to put a chair in front of their doors, this bleeding obvious advice apparently justified reporting. During the prior days of terrible lightning and thunder, houses in JB were struck and that caused fires, you would think that the citizens of this fair city would know what to do on their own.
In the same spirit as this PSA, we would like to appeal to the people of the nation not to touch electrical switches if your hands are wet. Studies have shown that water is a good conductor of electricity and, should there be a fault in your switch, you could get seriously injured, or die. We suggest you use your elbows if the switches are low enough. However, you should always wash your hands after going to the loo.
Pointless Score: Danger, danger!
10. The crime! The crime!
News of major heists or shrewd swindles deserve mention. Hell, even snatch theft in popular public destinations should be highlighted. Stealing shoes at an H&M, probably not. Shoplifting at an Aeon and Tesco, please no. While we do not condone pilfering, these just do not belong in a newspaper. If we start putting petty crime into our dailies, we would end up with no room for the big ticketed items, i.e. the major news of the day.
For petty crimes of shoplifting, we suggest doing what KK Super Mart does at their outlets; paste CCTV printouts on the store-front. They get as many eyeballs and are probably as effective in deterring shoplifting as a story in the papers.
Pointless Score: Sweeping
We are by no means or measure the only ones who put out useless and pointless news stories. Although, to be fair, others do file them under “Weird News”. Check out the links to some frivolous news items from other countries below:
EDITOR’S NOTE: BTW, if you like this let us know in the comments below and we’ll do another one real soon.