I WAS home in Malaysia for the Chinese New Year holidays and decided to get my new MyKad done in Petaling Jaya.
After a futile first attempt, I decided to wait outside the office at 6am the next day with my family.
When we arrived, there were already a few people waiting outside the main gate. We joined the queue, and things seemed pretty civilised so far.
However, by the next half hour, any semblance of a line was totally gone. People just milled around the gate and latecomers shoved their way to the front.
I was totally disgusted. Some of the early birds were elderly people.
Just before the gate opened at 7am, a girl drove up and parked in front of it. She then proceeded to join the throng, obviously not thinking at all about the total chaos she would cause with her car left at the entrance.
There were general mumbles and glares but nobody spoke up. I decided to tell her off but before I opened my mouth, she already got the message and drove away.
After being away from home for a while, I was sorely disappointed to come back to such a blatant display of lack of courtesy among my fellow Malaysians.
It is embarrassing that we have to devote whole campaigns to become a more courteous society (complete with songs on radio and TV), when simple things like queuing up and keeping public toilets clean are the norm in some of the other countries I have visited.
Also, a couple of suggestions to the Petaling Jaya Registration Department:
Have a side door by the gate so that early comers can enter and wait by the proper office door inside. It is much easier to form a line outside a door than on the road pavements in front of a massive gate.
If you worry about security, hire a security guard to let people in.
Have a separate entrance for the older people. You took a step in the right direction by giving separate (i.e. faster numbers) to senior citizens and disabled people, but you forget that these people still have to rush to join the queue to get to the counter before they can get that number.
If you were counting on people to make way for them – think again.
I would like to end on a positive note. I saw another applicant helping out various elderly strangers who could not understand the instructions given by translating and filling in their slips for them.
All is not lost after all. There is still a spark of civility among us. Also, the people who were serving us at the counters were quite friendly and helpful. Well done!
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