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Six years ago when global magazine Reader’s Digest did a survey on rude and inconsiderate behavior, Malaysia ranked 33 in a list of 35 countries that took part in the survey. Way down at the bottom!
In the most recent survey results on the same poll undertaken by Reader’s Digest, Kuala Lumpur ranked 34 out of 36 major cities in the list of Least Courteous Cities in the world.
This should not really surprise us Malaysians. But to be rated so lowly in the world’s largest cities and countries certainly is a shame and a damning verdict on Malaysia and its people.
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Without wishing to politicize discourtesy, it is worth fishing out the example of Ibrahim Ali, embraced by Umno as a model citizen, when he used the 'K' word in public two years ago.
Yes, the Perkasa founder and Pasir Mas MP thought nothing of shrilling out the 'kentut' word to the media including TV cameras while within the hallowed halls of the Malaysian Parliament - "even if I kentut (broke wind), it becomes a problem!"
Whether Ibrahim's behavior was due to stress is not the issue. Neither would many Malaysians wish to argue with or even be near to the man while he's in gaseous mode but the presumption that it is OK, even cute, to be so uncouth is surely a tell-tale sign for why we as a nation have failed to make much progress on the RD index.
Failed bid by BN to inculcate courtesy
There was a time when the Malaysian government, under the leadership of Dr Mahathir Mohammad back then, made a bid to inculcate the need to be courteous among the rakyat.
It was a splendid idea but unfortunately did not pay off well enough as evidenced by the extent and nature of discourtesy we are witness to in the country nowadays.
It is not necessary for me, perhaps, to list the kurang ajar mentality that appears to be part of the psyche and nature of a growing number of Malaysians who, in their quest to get ahead in life, often fail to consider that they offend others terribly in the process.
Is it really necessary for us to succeed so desperately in life that oftentimes, while trying to move on and move up in life, there are transgressions committed by us towards others that almost nullifies or negates whatever “success or gains” made in life?
This is because if we don’t learn to live with thought and consideration for others, being civic-minded, then whatever development and progress we make in this country cannot be enjoyed in full.
The strive to achieve a developed status will all not amount to much if, in this country, we live our lives, as if we have absolutely no regard or respect for others.
Take a look around us
Just look around us and witness how Malaysians behave in public.
Perhaps the best option to begin in developing ourselves is for us to react and response to the human condition in this country as it is in an appropriate and a more meaningful way.
Instead of being quick to jump the gun and be brutal and expressive in venting our anger towards the authorities and our fellow human beings, perhaps we need to reflect more deeply and engage others with a sound knowledge, understanding and thoughts and ideas on the issues that affect Malaysian society today.
In doing so, in engaging in sound communication and open dialogue, perhaps there might be able to be “a meeting of minds” and in the process much of the ill will that affects us Malaysians can be solved and settled in an open and transparent manner to the agreement and satisfaction of all with a vested interest in this country.
Solve problems and don’t create problems
The idea each Malaysian must come to embrace is that they should aspire to be part of the solution and not be part of the problems that confront us.
Offer solutions and don’t be mischievous or a menace by adding or creating to the abounding problems in the country.
Revive the courtesy campaign and put more cut-and-thrust, more effective and pragmatic activities and programmes into it.