Why I’m Not Taking The Ice Bucket Challenge

Call me a spoilsport, call me heartless but I’m not going to do the ice bucket challenge. I’m all for donating money for charities and raising awareness of lesser known charities that also require funding but I don’t like this type of fundraising. I’ll be the first to donate a fiver when my friends run marathons, cycle long distances, shave off their hair or grow their hair (Movember). These things take time, effort and dedication to complete. They’re the activities that keep popping up on Facebook reminding me that they are still training, still going at it and they are making a real commitment to help others and push themselves. It’s not throwing a bucket of ice over your head in a video where more time is spent by the ice bucketee thanking whoever nominated them and then consequently nominating three others than icy water being poured on their head.

I find it hard to understand this internet nomination culture we’ve started to develop. Humans and animals alike love to compete to impress others but I’m sure a reminder isn’t needed for last year’s Neknomination craze that took and damaged so many young lives across the globe. After receiving a public nomination and a 24 hour deadline, it’s just like peer pressure but on a huge scale, if you don’t complete the challenge everybody on social media will know about it and I don’t want to think about insecure youths in schools that have to deal with this extra pressure from internet hypes. At least nobody is dying from the ice bucket challenge yet but I’m already fearing what next year’s summer challenge will be and whether it will affect the world positively or not. Will we be challenged to go into the sun without sun lotion to raise money for skin cancer, take in a stray animal off the street for animal charities or something beneficial to the world like planting trees or paying for suspended meals and coffees?

It’s great that the world is coming together to raise money but how much money has actually been raised through the ice bucket challenge? Time reports that The ALS Association has received nearly $80 million, 400 times what the charity raised the year before. I’m hoping in the next few years we will be able to see developments in the treatment for ALS (or Motor Neurone Disease in the UK). But likewise there are many reports that say that people aren’t donating anything to these charities and are just doing the challenge for media attention and to do one better than their nominator.

What I much prefer is the Indian attitude to this craze, thousands have already participated in the ice bucket challenge but now there is also a Rice Bucket Challenge. What’s so funny about pouring a bucket of rice onto someone’s head? Actually nothing. Instead of throwing or wasting anything (water is a scarce resource in India, a country with a high rate of poverty) people partaking in the Rice Bucket Challenge take a bucket of rice from their homes and give it to people in need either raw or cooked. These pictures are so much more uplifting than the ice ones and it restored my faith in humanity upon hearing the news from my Indian fried (the same one who nominated me for the IBC). 

Another great thing I want to share with you also comes from India. In February I saw a Bollywood film called Jai Ho! starring Salman Khan. I really recommend it as it’s a great Bollywood movie that contains everything – a love story, revenge, fighting and also some moral lessons. From what I remember and understand (the film was in Hindi without English subtitles) during the film, the hero Jai (Salman Khan) develops a catchphrase. He helps people out, saving the world a little at a time and people naturally thank him for helping them solve their problem or get them out of a bad situation. Jai then urges this person to not say thank you to him, but instead to help three other people and when those three people say thank you, again tell them to help three others. Thus making everybody who is helped out then go on to help others. Unfortunately I can’t find any clips of this speech. Why can’t we adopt this, spreading good messages through films and good deeds instead of filming ourselves being silly?

Don’t thank me, help three others.

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