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You wanna Ice, Ice, Baby?

Publication Date : 27-08-2014

 

Oprah Winfrey has done it. So has Bill Gates.

And Lady Gaga, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Patrick Stewart, Jennifer Lopez, David Beckham, Joan Rivers, Justin Bieber (who did it twice) ... the list goes on and on.

I’m talking, of course, about the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”, which started in the United States and has since taken the world by storm.

For the uninitiated, it involves dumping a bucket of freezing cold water on one’s head to raise awareness and funds for research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Various public figures have participated in the challenge and to date, the ALS association has collected over US$42 million, which will go towards research of the lethal neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. (For more information on how to donate, go to the website.)

The challenge dares participants to be video recorded as they pour frigid water on themselves.

It has two forms. In the first, a participant announces his or her acceptance of the challenge before pouring ice into a bucket of water.

 The bucket is then lifted overhead and emptied over the participant’s head. The person can then send out challenges to other people who must comply within 24 hours.

The second form of the challenge requires the participant to donate US$10 if they pour the ice water over their head or US$100  if they do not.

Last week, the fashion industry sat up and paid attention when Anna Wintour herself participated.

Naturally, the Vogue editor-in-chief presented a most glamorous video. Wearing a sundress and her signature shades and surrounded by her picture-perfect family, she announced that she accepted the challenge from her daughter Bee, and nominated tennis pro Roger Federer and actor Dominic West.

When the water was poured on her, Wintour squealed and ran off. Has the indomitable ice queen finally met her match in an ice bucket?

Also getting a fair amount of attention recently is Queensland newsreader Lincoln Humphries, who gave an emphatic no on air, and did it in such a charming, witty manner.

“I’m not saying it isn’t a worthy cause but let’s spread the love,” explained Humphries in a clip posted to YouTube that has garnered nearly 400,000 views.

“Instead of pouring fresh water and wasting ice over your own head, here’s a list of charities and communities in desperate need of fresh drinking water,” he said, listing charity groups.

Closer to home, youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin took up the challenge. I like how he linked his cause to late Malaysian footballer Mokhtar Dahari, who died from the same disease in 1991.

“This is for you, this is for Super Mokh, the late Mokthtar, and also to accept the challenge that you throw at me, to raise awareness and I will also be contributing for ALS disease,” said Khairy, before he threw a bucket of ice over himself. Humorously, he was also pushed into the swimming pool nearby.

Other local personalities who have said yes to the challenge are Carmen Soo, Bernie Chan, Datin Winnie Loo, Amber Chia, Niki Cheong, Raymond Choon and Sonny San.

Fashion designer Melinda Looi, who pens Mel’s Place for Star2, also participated. The cute video saw Looi and her staff and family members taking turns to pour water on one another.

Theatre actor Edwin Sumun submitted a video of himself, as well as his drag queen alter ego Shelah; the latter clip is guaranteed to bring on the giggles.

Speaking of giggles, comedian Harith Iskander’s tweet “When I was a student, we did the ice bucket challenge every day. Except we called it ‘Having a shower’” made me chuckle.

I was nominated by Sunitha Thayaparan, the deputy editor of Harper’s Bazaar Malaysia (who looked lovely getting wet in her video, by the way). But I missed the 24-hour window, and so donated to the cause instead.

Last weekend, on Facebook, a friend Chery Wong issued a different twist on the challenge. It was called the “no water bucket challenge”.

The reasoning behind it? As Selangor folks had experienced water cuts and rationing, we should all conserve water. And still donate to a local charity of our choice. So we all took a picture with an empty bucket over our heads.

Anything for a good cause, I tell you.

 

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