Brain Game: If you could un-invent one thing from the past, what would it be, and why? (Round 1)

  • Our weekly writing competition starts with 10 participants, who are eliminated one-by-one based on your votes – who will you choose?
  • This week, contestants share the items and ideas they would like to erase from existence – such as plastic, atomic bombs, racism and more
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If you could, would you choose to un-invent plastic or something else? Illustration: Shutterstock

Read through the responses to this week’s Brain Game prompt, and choose which answer you like most. Based on your votes in the Google form below, we will eliminate one contestant from the competition.

Contestant 1

Although plastic surgery helped many disfigured soldiers after World War I, nowadays people are abusing it by replacing normal parts of the body to improve their appearance. I wish it was uninvented because it promotes unachievable beauty standards, and people now undergo plastic surgery instead of learning to accept how they look.

Contestant 2

The atomic bomb. This weapon killed tens of thousands in Japan within seconds. I cannot even imagine the horror of what it must have been like when the atomic bomb was released on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There are many other ways to end war aside from using violence.

Contestant 3

I would un-invent the television. I am sure there will be many opposing points of view, as televisions have been a great source of entertainment. However, they stop us from being productive.

Watching pointless programmes on our televisions can be addicting. Not only does it distract us from our responsibilities, but it also encourages a sedentary lifestyle which can ultimately be damaging to our health. Instead of wasting our years idly staring at a screen, why not curl up with a book or take a walk in nature?

Contestant 4

I wanted to choose something that is detrimental, but people would find an alternative use for it or see value in it when used in moderation.

So I would choose the foundation of modern technology: transistors. I would do this purely out of curiosity to see how the world would develop without them. How different would everything be?

Contestant 5

The concept of race superiority. It has brought countless catastrophes to those considered as “inferior” races. A notorious example is the Holocaust, which killed about 6 million Jews. Many people today are still suffering just because of this idea.

Contestant 6

Plastic bags are overused nowadays, causing many environmental problems. It has damaged the habitats of many animals and occupied a lot of space in landfills.

At the same time, plastic is a lightweight, convenient and low-cost material that can have many benefits when we make good use of it. However, knowing that humans will not reuse or cherish plastic, I would definitely choose to un-invent this material.

Contestant 7

I would un-invent military equipment, such as guns. Besides the death and physical injuries it causes, survivors of war suffer from psychological trauma and grief. After un-inventing guns, they would be unnecessary for self-defence, and there would be fewer injuries and deaths. People could live life in peace.

Contestant 8

Nuclear bombs. They have destroyed many innocent lives. When Hiroshima was bombed, around 70,000 people died instantly. Moreover, they caused radiation that still exists there even now and that harms the environment. Why should we keep nuclear bombs if they are so dangerous, fatal and harmful?

Contestant 9

I would un-invent plastic. A large amount of plastic winds up in the ocean. Marine animals mistakenly consume it or become entangled in it. Many of them could be saved if we eradicated plastic from our lives.

Some of the chemicals in plastic, such as BPA, have been found to disrupt human hormones and have other impacts on health. What would our daily routines be like if we did not have plastic?

Contestant 10

I would un-invent the rattan stick. In Hong Kong, rattan sticks are used by some parents to punish naughty children. It is now considered to be corporal punishment, which can affect children’s mental and physical health. I believe that children can learn a lesson without being wounded and, instead, can learn when taught gently.

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