Stating the obvious


HERE’S a typical scenario – a guy is waiting for his friend to turn up for an appointment. His friend arrives, comes up to him and says hello. The guy then says, “Oh you’re here already!”

Here’s another typical scenario. A teenager walks into a friend’s house and sees the friend’s mother washing dishes. A typical greeting would be: “Hello Aunty. Washing dishes ah?”

Well obviously, she was washing dishes right? It is not like she was massaging her hands on wet plates in the sink or something.

Although the statements sound like they are seeking clarification, it would seem ridiculous to seek clarification for the very obvious.

A friend argued that overseas, in English speaking countries, people do not state the obvious like we do here in Malaysia.

The Eye begs to differ. As much as it seems to be a typical Malaysian habit, the Eye has found that stating and repeating the obvious happens everywhere else as well.

The Eye has encountered native speakers of the English language who also state the obvious.

For example, one person, among a group of friends seated at a cafe  which has a clear view of the streets, decides to inform the rest that “it is raining”, when the friends are actually looking outside and have also noted that it is indeed raining.

Well perhaps stating the obvious there may not happen in the ridiculously obvious manner that we often encounter here.

And, the fact that we speak mangled English could also add to the hilarity of us stating the obvious here.

Anyway as human beings, it is undeniable that we have the odd tendency to state the obvious.

One friend reckons we do this because as humans, we are social beings.

And being socially inclined, it is part of our nature to ensure others around us are aware of our presence, even if it means making meaningless or redundant statements.

Ah yes, politicians are known for this – making meaningless and redundant statements to remind people of their presence.

Anyway, back to the habit of stating the obvious.

A no-nonsense, impatient type of person will find it very difficult to put up with a person who likes to state the obvious. This person will find it frustrating and even a waste of time having a conversation with the ‘obvious’.

A friend who works in the communications sector reckons that if we did not have this second nature of stating the obvious, there would be many moments of awkward silence when conversing.

It is okay, she says, to occasionally talk about the weather and such. It is okay to start off with small talk to get a conversation going or to break the ice.

But she advises people not to overdo it and not to make it sound “over the top ridiculous”.

She gave several examples of pick-up lines that men have tried on her at bars which she rates as “epic fail”.

“Having a beer?” (When she was obviously having a beer.)

“Wah … you drink Harimau Beer ah?” (When she was obviously holding a can of Harimau Beer.)

“A lot of people clubbing here tonight haa?” (When the place was obviously packed.)

Then again, if we did not have the habit of stating the obvious, we would not have something to laugh at ourselves for. And we would be a humourless society. Which, would be boring, obviously.

If you still do not get it, head on to YouTube and key in “abuden” and watch the short, honest, down-to-earth, yet so true production by Jinnyboy, which led to the Eye’s topic for this week (obviously).