On a scale of 0-100 — 0 being least offensive and 100 being the most — how would you rate this?

Amy  |  Singapore
Published 2015-01-29 15:30:59

In an incident that can only be described with the hashtag #toosoon, a family with a slightly warped sense of humor decided to enter the Tata Beach Titanic Cup with a Malaysia Airlines Plane made out of cardboard. And sink it dramatically.

The annual competition has been going on for 18 years and consists of two parts: the obvious main event being to win the race, and the secondary event to create the most dramatic sinking of a cardboard creation. The Tata Beach Titanic Cup is a small local event that takes place in New Zealand, and it saw an impressive turnout of 52 participants on boats and 600 spectators this year.

Image Credit: Adventure Flights Golden Bay
Image Credit: Adventure Flights Golden Bay

No Offense Intended

Creator of the sinking cardboard craft, Robert Chubb, insisted that he meant no offense by creating a cardboard liking of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. He told Stuff that, “Each year, we pick a topical thing we think will catch people’s attention,” adding that he had believed (wrongly) that enough time had passed, and that people would see the humor in the action instead of being infuriated.

That is sadly not the case, as netizens have critized the creation as both distasteful and disrespectful. It has not even been a year since the disappearance of MH370 and MH17, so for once, netizens aren’t exactly overreacting.

Image Credit: Adventure Flights Golden Bay
Image Credit: Adventure Flights Golden Bay

Other competitors include a giant rubber duck, amongst others. Dave Myall, the organizer of the event, describes the winning sinkable as a ‘risque’ creation, but nevertheless, its “artistic merit was the overriding consideration.”

He explained, in an interview with Stuff, that, “On reflection, it could have been in bad taste, but I think once something is out there in the public domain with all the press coverage [MH370] got, it becomes public property.” Myall added that there is always the possibility of someone being offended, but seeing as it’s a localized event, he was hoping that only a small amount of people would be offended. Somebody ought to introduce him to the power of social media.

Image Credit: Adventure Flights Golden Bay
Image Credit: Adventure Flights Golden Bay

Offense Taken

“I’m gobsmacked,” said Sara Weeks, the sister of a Kiwi man on the fatal MH370 plane. “It hasn’t even been a year. What if it was his family member on the plane? He [the entrant] wouldn’t find it funny,” she told Stuff. She further added that the entry was “tasteless and offensive.”

Myall responded, stating that he was sorry to hear about her outrage, “but this was a very local event. It needs to be taken in context. If the media outside of Nelson hadn’t got[ten] involved, there would be no complaint.”

“I’m just appalled. I don’t think I’ll ever find that funny,” she said. “To make it first prize, I’m quite surprised.”

And the prize they won for placing first in the competition? A scenic flight voucher. Ironic, perhaps, but something tells us the Myalls won’t mind.

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