Treason Doth Never Prosper

April 4, 2018

Image: South China Morning Post

As I sit uncomfortably to write this column on Post-Chocolate Binge Day – aka Easter Monday – I am saddened by the ongoing fiasco that our national cricket side is embroiled in. Cheating is cheating. Whether it’s Pictionary (you know who you are), passing off a cake from Jocelyn’s Provisions as your own (yes, you also know who you are and NOBODY thought you baked that cake just FYI) or in a camel beauty pageant, it’s not OK.

Yes, that’s right, cheating in a camel beauty pageant is a thing. In fact, a camel beauty pageant is a thing too.

I’ve heard of CRUFTS – the world-famous dog show held in the UK each year and I competed at gymkhanas growing up, they weren’t exactly horse beauty pageants but how the look is very important in competition but the world of camel beauty pageants is new to me.

What a sheltered life I’ve lived.

Camel beauty pageants are big business in Saudi Arabia. There are millions of dollars in cash prizes to the winning breeders. But at one particular competition, the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival the camels must be “natural”.

Which really begs the question what is unnatural beauty when it comes to camels? Botox apparently – what is true for us is also true in the camel world. Botox is unnatural and the judges disqualified 12 camels for using it to enhance their features and give their heads a more inflated appearance (which is a good thing in a camel in a pageant).

The chief judge said the camel was a symbol of Saudi Arabia and they wanted to preserve its importance. The month-long festival involves up to 30,000 camels so only disqualifying 12 camels is just 0.04%  so that’s really pretty good. It’s not only a camel beauty pageant. They had races too and attracted 300,000 visitors!

I suspect that was more than the British Tarantula Society’s annual contest gets. EEEEEEWWWWWWW!

A lady called Ann Webb (what??? Stop it!!) started it over 30 years ago, staging the first annual contest in her garage. It’s gone from strength to strength with this year’s event packing about 2000 people into a Coventry stadium. Yeah, I’m not going to that. I wonder what constitutes cheating in a spider competition? Fake legs? Prosthetic fangs?

I know the competitive drive is strong – that’s often what attracts people to enter in the first place but I have to wonder how much that blue ribbon is worth. Money, obviously, depending on how prestigious the competition is.

Going to the Royal Easter show and the Ekka for many years as kids we saw all sorts of preening and primping done to all the exhibition animals. In 1996 at the Royal Melbourne Show a black chook won the grand prize, which would have been fine if it wasn’t actually a white chook. A rival dobbed them in. This is all cheating, people!

Mind you, disgruntled losers or fiercely competitive rivals can be nasty. Sour grapes will almost choke some people. In fact,  Dogs Victoria charge people to make a complaint. It can cost up to $250, but they will refund that fee if the alleged “cheat” has a case to answer. Having to cough up the money discourages people from making vexatious claims.

So, what does this say about us as a society? Clearly, it’s not just the professional sports that this is affecting. Are we just really competitive or are we in serious danger of becoming super douchey? I’m worried it’s the latter. Let’s get back to basics people! Play hard but play fair.


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