Thursday, June 18, 2015

Stupid Stuff

Please Note the purpose of this post is not criticize personal choices. It is meant to express my views and solicit reactions to a widely covered "event." And, the reference to nationalities in this post is based solely on where we were at the time and local reports.

As we were traveling "internationally" last week, we kept current on world events by reading the daily Canadian newspaper and through Internet news sites as well. 

No, we were not very far away, just across the border visiting friends in Canada. But our wireless carrier (and others possibly) consider our northern neighbor a "foreign" country and apply very high phone rates for outgoing and incoming calls. We solved that problem by turning off cell data and relied on wi-fi provided with our accommodations.

And, among the headlines in the Canadian National Post, I read this one:

Naked tourists blamed for earthquake
And the added subtitle: Canadians Doing 'OK'

For those of you who may not have read or heard of this news story, here's a synopsis as read in the National Post: Two Saskatchewan siblings were among 10 people (Canadians, Dutch, German, Asian) who were barred from leaving Malaysia after allegedly posing naked (and/or semi-clothed) atop Mount Kinabalu, the country's highest mountain, which local people consider sacred. 
(Photo credit to Wikipedia.)

How sacred ?
The mountain's official website has a Tips section and under the Important Tips subsection has several areas including: Important Notes for Climbers of Mount Kinabalu that contains the warning: "DO NOT SHOUT, SCREAM or CURSE the mountain at any point in time." (Yes it is written in caps and boldface as displayed as is the heading for the "Important Notes section.).

How word spread . . .
A climber from Hong Kong, and a member of the group, posted "Time of my life" to his Facebook page which in itself wasn't a problem, but he also included photos of several men posing in underwear and topless women too.

What was he thinking . . .
Apparently, not much except displaying his own ignorance. Needless to say, the photos spread on social media and also news media. Apparently, a local park ranger discovered the act and made an official complaint to police. (Yes, you can find the photo online but I choose not to include it here; there is no need to do so.) 

What happened . . .
While posing nude isn't usually blamed for causing earthquakes, scarcely a week after the FB posting, a magnitude 5.9 earthquake killed 18 climbers when it sent rocks and boulders crashing down trekking routes. The quake damaged roads and buildings in Sabah. Local officials blamed the disaster on the tourist's exhibitionism stating that they angered and disrespected the mountain spirits at the sacred site.

Wondering WHY?
According to a legal counsel representing the Canadians before a Malaysian judge: "The group stripped because they challenged one another to stand the cold of the mountain as temperatures hovered around 0 degrees." The lawyer added  that they were "ignorant of the culture, tradition and belief of the local people."

Seems they were ignorant of many other things that involve mountain climbing. As the previously referenced Important Notes for Climbers section is full of "Do's and Don't."

Outcome . . .
The group of charged tourists pleaded guilty to public obscenity for the mountain top performance, fined $1,800 each, detained several days then deported. 
A public statement issued by the Canadians read (in part): "During our personal trekking experience, we were not made aware of the sacredness of the mountain . . . there was absolutely no ill intent. . . this is an experience that we have learned from and will never forget." 

And, the statement ended with a quote attributed to American humorist Mark Twain: "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society."

But, in this case that seemed not so true.

It’s also been reported that a special ritual will be held to appease the angered mountain spirits. (Perhaps an offering of the guilty offenders would be helpful?)

Equally interesting, and somewhat amusing, was a quote attributed to the father of the two Canadians: "Would you tell your parents you did this?"

As a general reply, most would not. But, as we know, things are different now and this event and others are being shared with the entire world through social media by the phenomena  known as "going viral." 

And with all due respects to Mr. Twain, who is one of my favorites, here's a preferred quote from another well-known American philosopher, Forrest Gump: Stupid IS as Stupid DOES.

Enough said.

What are your views?
(Please no inappropriate comments)


Anonymous said...

Oh, I agree. How stupid of them to do this. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." That's another quote I like.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree! How stupid can they be? From what I read inour news some also where totally naked but I'm not sure if that's true. No matter what why on earth must they share photos like that and why can't they take the time to learn about the sivilisation they are going to?

Have a great day!

William Kendall said...

I'm a rock climber. And part of that is respecting the mountain, which also means respecting the beliefs of those living around it. The local guide with this group were pleading with them to stop; any reasonable person would have stopped. They decided to be self absorbed, narcissistic fools who wanted to pull this juvenile, arrogant stunt. I'm embarrassed that two of them are Canadians.

On another note, who wants to be naked with their sibling?

Emma Springfield said...

Well in the first place claiming that it was someone else's fault because they were not informed that public nudity was not acceptable is ludicrous. In the second place it seems foolish to strip in that kind of weather. Third I think over-reaction is the word of the day. Perhaps they should join with the female official in California who is blaming the drought on all the abortions that have been performed there.

Anvilcloud said...

How interesting that you chose to rant on the climbers (with some justification) but the religious stupidity gets a pass. Now, that's really stupid, but somehow, it's exempt from criticism.

Gill - That British Woman said...

we are rebels up here, don't you know!!

Out on the prairie said...

I need to be more careful hiking

Daisy said...

I heard about this. A lot of times, I think I'm better off when I don't listen to the latest news.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...