Monday, July 12, 2010

Things to Take Away from the 2010 World Cup

I am not a soccer fan. I can never understand the “fun” and “excitement” which soccer fans (like my brother) get from watching 20 men chasing after a ball. I think there are more meaningful things in life that I can spend my 90 minutes on… (:P)

Needless to say, I hardly followed the 2010 World Cup at all.

However, there are some interesting sidelines about this year’s World Cup that did catch my attention.

Ban of the Vuvuzela

According to Wiki, the Vuvuzela or a stadium horn is traditionally used in Africa to summon distant villagers to attend community gatherings. It had since evolved into a symbol of South African soccer. Supporters would use it to make loud and raucous sound to cheer their favourite team on.

Because of the intensity of the sound, FIFA had once proposed to ban the instrument as it is disturbed broadcasting presentation i.e. game commentary. Some soccer teams also blamed the vuvuzelas for disrupting team communication and players’ concentration during matches.

Funnily, the ban did not quite materialize. Instead, the news of the ban boosted the popularity of the vuvuzela so much so that it became something of a cult culture. I remembered that a song was even written about the vuvuzela. People start to explore all sorts of funny things which you can do with it. Apparently, it is not just a sound making instrument. It can be doubled as a mug in which fans can drink their beer from after the match (rather unhygienic if you ask me…).

Vuvuzela manufactors probably benefited the most from this World Cup episode. They exported close to two billion vuvuzela worldwide because of the publicity which they gained from the World Cup!

The Oracles

Nope, not that the ever powerful database system. I am referring to oracle as a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic opinion, predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods! (Taken from wiki)

My personal opinion – I think this year’s World Cup had been rather pale as compared with previous years’s games. There seem to be a lot less discussions and activities going on. Worse, usual hot favourite teams were out of the game earlier than expected. There is almost a crisis loaming as fans are almost ready to abandon the remaining games…

But wait, something unbelievable happened. News that a common octopus living in a tank at a Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany named Paul had successfully predicted results of several games hit the street. Freakingly, its accuracy rate was 100%.

It is never good to divulge too much of a secret. Paul’s prophetic talent had almost landed itself into trouble. I read that some Germans were unhappy that Paul had accurately predicted their losses. Some of them took on the street to petiton that they should eat the oracle itself as an act of revenge. Spain, I supposed tried to entertain the crowds further, but saying that they would send troops to protect Paul if necessary.

But Paul is not alone. Apparently, there are many other oracles who claimed to have prophetic visions. One of them is made in Singapore. I suspect that fortune-teller uncle from Little India must have taken some PR courses before. Riding on to the success of Paul the Octopus, he claimed that Singapore very own oracle - Mani the parrot, can predict the World Cup’s result too!

Of course as you can imagine, Mani become an instant hit among Singaporeans after Paul. (Actually, Mani need to zen more as it is not as accurate as Paul.)

Then right after that, Hong Kong’s Deity Wong Dai Xin decided that he cannot lose out to mortal creatures. He also made his own predictions on who would eventually won the World Cup.

The vuvuzela and the oracles had added much needed entertainment and interesting sidelines on the World Cup. They not only directed fan’s attention back to the World Cup but also ignited non-soccer fan’s interest on the game. It is rather fair to say that they had saved the 2010 game from being the dullest World Cup game ever.

Sadly to say that the attention is not on the Spanards who have won the World Cup, but rather the vuvuzelas and the oracles are the clear winner of the 2010 World Cup!

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