Grumbling about the new Malaysia


  • Business
  • Saturday, 08 Sep 2018

An optimist believes we live in the best possible world. A pessimist is afraid that it might be true.

After May 9, there was such optimism that we thought we were on Cloud 9.

Not quite. Welcome to this New Malaysia of ours. The thing is, has anything or anybody really changed?

It is said that good manners is the noise you do not make when eating soup. But Malaysians continue to be inconsiderate, badly mannered and apathetic to a degree that would give “tidak apa” a bad name.

It’s becoming so that the phrase “civil Malaysian” is in danger of becoming an oxymoron.

Let’s take something as trivial as the sidewalk. One would think it’s obvious that it belongs to the pedestrian. Right?

Wrong. Pity the poor pedestrian. He’s continually forced to look over his shoulder, no thanks to the motorcyclists who whiz past him in the name of faster access through the jam.

It is not only annoying and irritating but frightening. My friend tried remonstrating with one and he got the finger for his pains.

On sober hindsight, I told him, it could have been worse.

These recalcitrant cyclists do it even if there are policemen around. God gave each of us a brain to solve problems: these guys use theirs to create more problems.

Maybe I’m becoming more intolerant in my dotage. OK, I take it back. These guys aren’t completely useless: they can still serve as bad examples.

And what’s with all this angst on the roads? My wife and I were leaving church one Sunday, heading for our car when one lady cut out aggressively into the road, hit another car slightly and bolted out of her car, yelling at its occupant. And this after leaving a service. I’d hate to see her on a “normal” day.

Just read in the papers that a man had been arrested because he got so mad after a minor accident with the deputy premier’s car - she wasn’t in it – that he punched its windshield so hard that it cracked.

Now that guy has issues. When he finally kicks, I’ll bet his tombstone will say: “What are you looking at?”

I have one burning question that never goes away. Why do Malaysians continue to litter? The worst offenders are those who patronise the four digit gambling joints: you can see betting slips being whisked away in the wind or being washed into the drains by the rains.

The problem is easily solved. City Hall should simply fine those premises whose owners don’t clean up after their gamblers.

Or in gambling terminology, a City Hall fine beats four aces anytime.

My daughter lives in Vienna with her husband and they have a dog.

That’s very common in Austria where dogs are not only adored but allowed in restaurants. The thing is, the dog owners of Austria are very civic minded and they clean up after their pets.

I have gone for walks with Wally – the dog – and my daughter bringing up the rear with her poop collecting equipment.

Would that it were so in Kuala Lumpur. When will people realise it’s not cool to leave stool.

In many suburban areas in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, there are always a few parking spaces reserved for disabled people. That is as it should be.

But many hale and hearty members of the public frequently park there as well on the assumption that there are very few disabled drivers.

The problem is that there is general apathy over the matter. By and large, it’s treated as no big deal. But it is, or should be, a big deal.

Is it ignorance or apathy? It appears that many Malaysian drivers don’t know and don’t care.

Lily Tomlin, the comic actress, once said that she believed that man developed language out of a deep, inner need to complain.

But I also read somewhere that the more you complain, the longer God makes you live. So this column is my way of lowering the odds.

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