Way off the mark

> It’s scary that what we hold dear nowa­days are not peo­ple or knowl­edge but mere ob­jects

The Sun (Malaysia) - - LIFESTYLE -

PEO­PLE fo­cus on to­tally the wrong things th­ese days. Me­dia re­ports are scream­ing that id­iot celebrity X is feud­ing with id­iot celebrity Y; choco­late is good for you/ bad for you; a pompous guy is likely to be elected pres­i­dent of one coun­try or an­other; etc, etc, and I say: tell me some­thing new!

Our val­ues have changed. Here’s the sort of typ­i­cal sce­nario that would get a mod­ern per­son ex­cited:

“Can’t find phone, races home from work. Dis­cov­ers en­tire street de­stroyed by alien at­tack. Finds phone at bot­tom of brief­case. [screams] Thank you God!”

The scary thing is this dis­torted value sys­tem even con­trols our spend­ing:

Hipster: “You want the equiv­a­lent of US$8 (RM32.80) for this book? This is an out­rage!”

Barista: “Here’s your latte; that will be US$10.75 (RM43).” Hipster: “Thanks.” The big­gest worry for me as a jour­nal­ist is man­u­fac­tured out­rage. Many of my bud­dies are fu­ri­ous sev­eral times a day about ‘news re­ports’ on the in­ter­net which are en­tirely un­true, some of which they made up them­selves.

A few days ago, fa­mous Cuban ac­tivist Coco Fari­nas ended his two-month hunger strike af­ter read­ing that the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment was tak­ing up his cam­paign. It turned out to be fake news – but he only found out af­ter din­ner.

An Aus­tralian reader told me about a woman named Sally in Fre­man­tle, Aus­tralia, who re­cently re­vealed on the in­ter­net that she had been hit with a hefty fine for bad park­ing when one wheel of her car was just frac­tion­ally over the edge of the white line, as she proved with a photo she up­loaded.

The in­ter­net com­mu­nity greeted this as an atroc­ity on a Hitler-in­vades-Poland scale.

But then the traf­fic of­fi­cial who wrote the ticket re­vealed that he’d found her car badly parked across two spa­ces and also pro­vided pho­to­graphic proof prov­ing this.

Both in­di­vid­u­als came across as truth­ful, but that could only be the case if some in­cred­i­bly strong mys­tery peo­ple had phys­i­cally picked up the car and moved it when nei­ther Sally nor the traf­fic cop were look­ing.

The mys­tery was solved when a se­cu­rity video re­vealed she had parked really badly, and then some in­cred­i­bly strong mys­tery peo­ple had phys­i­cally picked up the car and moved it while nei­ther Sally nor the traf­fic cop were look­ing.

I like this story be­cause it shows that life is weird, and that goofy folk who do random acts of kind­ness really ex­ist. I wish I could meet more of them. There was a video on the in­ter­net the other day that I think was real. It showed a guy try­ing to give away cash in the street. Mod­ern trendy hipster peo­ple re­fused to take it, while or­di­nary hum­ble folk took it grate­fully.

If you are read­ing this, cash-dis­pens­ing­guy, you can re­peat the ex­per­i­ment in my front yard. It will be over in sec­onds. I have a sack ready. I’ll use the money to buy a book. Or a latte.

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