The MNDA advert

    We really are screwed if we believe that social media can curse us

    11 June 2015

    More bad news for Malaysia, I’m afraid, where a group of tourists have apparently managed to trigger an earthquake simply by taking their clothes off. Last Friday, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck Sabah, Malaysia’s easternmost state, triggering landslides on Mount Kinabalu which killed 18 people. Tragic, and quite clearly the blame must fall on the ten tourists who reportedly posed naked for a photograph on the mountain, which is considered by locals to be a sacred site. Malaysian officials have arrested the tourists for indecent exposure and have also suggested that they angered the mountain spirits.

    Now it’s easy to scoff at the voodoo mindset of these funny foreigners. In the enlightened West, we know better than this. Earthquakes are caused by the shifting of tectonic plates, not freed nipples; heck, if they were, Britain would have ruptured down the middle.

    The tourists on Mount Kinabalu  (Photo: Emil Kaminski)

    The tourists on Mount Kinabalu (Photo: Emil Kaminski)

    And yet, I wonder if we really are that enlightened. Every day on my way to work this week, I have been greeted by the above advert for The Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association. 

    The implication seems to be that because this poor man didn’t take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge last summer, he has been punished with this cruel disease. Is there any other way of reading it? Perhaps more cruel is the charity’s decision to use fear to encourage others to take part in future social media campaigns. Either way, we really are in no position to laugh at the Malaysians if we are willing to spook ourselves with this kind of claptrap.