Sunday, August 06, 2006

Writers in the Deep Freeze

This from the New Straits Times, Thursday:
THE national literary body, which is hell-bent on having a Malaysian writer win the Nobel Prize for Literature by the year 2010, has come up with an ingenious solution: Get a few writers together and freeze them.

"Studies have found that the vast majority of writers who have won the Nobel Prize came from countries that experience harsh winters. Very few have come from equatorial or tropical countries. Being exposed to the cold helps you to become a better writer," said a spokesman.

It is simply not cost-effective to send our writers overseas to be exposed to cold climates. "We have so many writers," he continued. "Every time a tsunami or war occurs anywhere in the world, new Malaysian writers are born, usually expressing their anguish in verse."

To send these thousands of writers abroad would be wasting money that could be better used for important infrastructural projects such as the ongoing construction of the World’s Longest Gold-Plated Lemang. Furthermore, writers when overseas might be exposed to dangerous foreign ideologies that may weaken their talent.

This is how the idea for the large freezer was born. The construction required expert input from the refrigeration and meat-packing industries. Several giant terminals, each the size of a football field, will be built and frozen to sub-zero temperatures. Writers will be encouraged to spend three months of every year in them, and winter clothing will be rotated among the participants.
I don't know if it says more for my blur-as-sotong* brain or the often surreal state of things in Malaysia ... but I actually had to read this piece twice before I realised that this was an Amir Muhammad piss-take.

But what worries me is that someone in the Ministry of Culture Arts and Tourism might just see some potential in the idea. (Get your woolies ready guys!)

*Language note: This Malaysianism translates as " as confused as a cuttlefish". I'm not sure if cuttlefish are confused since the only ones I see are on my dinner-plate, deepfried in batter or swimming in black-bean sauce.


Kak Teh said...

Hahaha! there goes my chance for a Nobel prize! We have just had one of the hottest summers and my brain is fried. i am not sure abt this winter either. But seriously, i met parents of some gifted kids, visited their homes and the house was freezing cold because they believe that the low temperatures helped the children to study, concentrate etc.

Thaatch said...

Oh my god! It was hilarious! I live in Ontario, Canada - the winter hits minus 40 degrees celcius at the lowest. But it's too late for me now...alas, I am leaving sub zero temperatures for the wonderful equatorial climates in a month's time...Drat, and double drat, if I had known earlier, I could have alteast attempted...its the freezers for me.

Ted Mahsun said...

Hmm... explains why I'm more productive (writing-wise that is) in the office. The air-conditioning's freezing in there!

Jane Sunshine said...

Welcome back! But of course we don't have a Nobel winner- its the bleeding weather in Malaysia that is to be blamed.

Amir Muhammad is such a riot- he always leaves me in guffaws. But I agree with you Sharon- this time, may have just inspired the ministry guys with their next big project.

bibliobibuli said...

kak teh - maybe malaysians are in with more of a chance if british brains are fried!

poor thaatch, that really was an opportunity missed!

ted - it's probably why you were all so inspired on the MPH course - the room was freeeeeeeezing

jane - maybe we shouldn't give the ministry guys ideas!

Lydia Teh said...

Witty Amir. The whistle blowing article is funny too.

Anonymous said...

cuttlefish aren't confused I think. The whole thing I think comes from the way they swim.. it's like they can't decide where they want to go :)

Anonymous said...

'Blur sotong' as a term of endearment for a confused person originated in Singapore, I believe.

Amir, you rock more than a boulder in Colorado.