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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Genuine Imitation, or a facsimile thereof

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Why settle for the real thing, when you can get something just like the real thing?

These were the exact thoughts that ran thru Walski's head when he read this gem of a headline this morning on The Star online edition.

Image hosting by PhotobucketYou can one day proudly say that you graduated from a Harvard-like school
(read the full article here)

Fine, call Walski a die-hard cynic, but it's news gems like this that make his morning. And reading through the report, Walski found another gem of a statement, from Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, who said that

"the concept of the centre would be the same as Harvard – just minus the lecturers"

Now, Walski never went to Harvard, or any of the Ivy League schools Stateside, but a good institution of higher learning is a lot more than just world class facilities. It needs world-class minds to be part of the faculty - that's what has given Harvard its renown. But don't just take Walski's word for it.

A few months back, The Star ran an article entitled "Success the Harvard Way", which quoted a Harvard professor, Daniel Quinn Mills, as saying that the reason for for Harvard being listed at the top in just about any university ranking, "lies in the university's faculty and students".

Boasting about Harvard-like facilities, would be like boasting about owning a Ferrari - just minus the engine, or like having the world's longest stretches of leatherback turtle landing beaches - just minus the leatherback turtles (which by sheer non-coincidence would also be Terengganu).

And of course, ludicrous claims such as these get Walski's creative juices going - what other boasts could one possibly make, along these lines?
(more boast-like claims in the full post)

Could one of these be Kuala Lumpur's Integrated Public Transportation System? A fantastic one-of-a-kind transportation system - the only integrated system that's, well, not integrated. Not in a true physical sense, if you look at the three light rail systems that make up the larger system. Truly unique. Granted they'll get there at some point in the future, but for now, it's the world's only integrated-on-paper system. Integrated Public Transportation System - just minus the "integrated" bit.

Or, take for example, the Federal Constitution. You know, the one that provides certain inalienable rights to all Malaysians, unless of course, you happen to belong to a certain 51% of the population. Then, your lives are subject to another set of laws (depending on which state you live in), one put together by a legislature that nobody elected. So much for a parliamentary democracy. The Federal Constitution - protection for all - just minus the 51% (whether they like it or not).

Or, a broadband service, minus the "broad" - in many instances, anyway. To be fair, they're trying hard; although some might say hardly trying. And now that they're in the process of upgrding, it's even less broad than the usual not-so-broad. Broadband - just minus the broadband speed, still better than dial-up.

There are lots more examples, one supposes, that could be brought up. Examples of what Walski calls Genuine Imitations. But really, what's wrong with having the real article, instead of a facsimile thereof?