2 Oct 2007

Ugly Malaysians

Malaysians generally are rude I think. They are quite selfish and lack courtesy as well as road manners, which is why for such a small country we have one of the highest accident rates in the world. I'm saying this because this morning while queueing up to pay the toll at the LDP plaza in Sri Damansara, there were so many drivers jumping queue you really feel disgusted. Granted there were also many courteous drivers patiently waiting in line, but for every 10 of the good ones there are at least 3 of the louzy ones. And when people say we lack manners we jump up a mile at the criticism.
Even in buses or on the train we see this bad behaviour again and again. We pride ourselves in being generous especially when a catastrophe befalls us... but what we are also is selfish, insensitive and lacking in common courtesy. I've seen teenagers sitting in the seats specially reserved for pregnant women and old people, not caring that an older person is standing up and holding on for dear life on the rails. Sometimes I wonder where the traditions that we Easterners are famous for have gone to. Did we lose them in our rush to become a modern and progressive society? Japan is also a modern and very progressive society but their people are still imbued in the old traditions that teach them to respect the elderly and to care for the weak.
I was in Tokyo just a few months ago and was struck again and again at how respectful they are to each other. The place where we stayed at - Asakusa - is slightly out of town. Maybe like a suburb of Tokyo but still a bustling little city of its own. Its not as busy as downtown Tokyo perhaps, but what I really liked about the place were the people. When they meet a friend they always bow to each other, talk for a while, then bow again before walking on. In the subway you see pretty school girls standing up to let an older woman sit. There is never any rush to get into a train, however crowded it is. Everyone patiently wait in line to get in. Even if the line is almost a mile long ( as when we were going to Tokyo Disneyland). Nobody pushes anybody when the train comes. Can't we learn to be like them?

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