Brazil fans = Man U fans

One of the most amazing things about the rest of the world is how successful certain brands have been.  Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Nike, these companies make money wherever they go.  The Economist reports that in some countries, governments rely on Coca-Cola to transport documents between outposts and provincial capitals because Coca-Cola has a better distribution system than anyone else.

In the realm of soccer, it’s much the same.  You would never know that Malaysia has never sent a team to any World Cup, much less this one, given how popular the World Cup is here.  What I find annoying about it is that approximate 97% of Malaysians are Brazil fans, just like 97% of Malaysians are Manchester United fans.  Now, they are of course just fair-weather fans, but still, it’s a bit weird that there’s no real diversity in the fan base here.  I (TP), for one, don’t like Brazil at all, and on two separate occasions I have had to explain myself to Malaysians on this count.  Where is the sense of rooting for an underdog?  How can you *really* care if Brazil wins or not if you’re not from Brazil?

An interesting fact: when JM and I first arrived in Jakarta almost two years ago and needed to purchase towels, we ended up traveling to a little podunk mall that had good deals.  And the best deal available were towels celebrating Manchester United for "Bringing Victory back to Old Trafford."