Kiasu Malaysians

Some Malaysians are blatantly kiasu. They are competitively selfish, if there ever is a term to describe those few who make other fellow countrymen look uncultured and rude. They jump queue. They refuse to yield in crawling traffic. They park in accessible parking because they have a baby and a pram, or are senior citizens.

Wuan and I were waiting for the elevator at Mid Valley Megamall yesterday. There were only two of us. Then came a family of several with two shopping trolleys full of groceries. The older of the group parked her trolley right outside the elevator door in front of me. When it opened, she rushed in followed by the rest. By the time they were all inside, there was no more space for me. No wonder children nowadays do not have manners. With grandparents and parents like these, it is not surprising at all.

The following incident happened a few weeks back. Traffic leaving The Gardens Mall always comes to a crawl just before closing time. Coming out from the underground car park, I have to switch from the right-most lane to the left-most to get to the Federal Highway to go home. I had slowly merged into the middle lane from the right. With my left-turn signal blinking, I was looking for an opportunity to merge into the left lane. Traffic was slow. I noticed a big gap and slowly eased in.

The front of my car was already in the left lane. The young man driving a white Myvi refused to yield. He stepped on the accelarator to close the gap. Our cars came within inches of scraping against each other. I stopped and honked at him. He drove on as if nothing happened. When I turned left down the ramp to the Federal Highway, he was still stuck in the jam going to Old Klang Road and Petaling Jaya. What I could not understand was would allowing one car get ahead of him delay his journey home considerably in that traffic condition? I take back my words about crazy Penang and Ipoh drivers. Those in the Klang Valley are equally as bad.

The Gardens Mall has ten accessible parking bays at Level P2. Eight of these are beside the travelator, the other two outside the elevator lobby. Twice I came across parents with babies parking their cars at the accessible parking bays. One had a pram. The other just carried the baby and walked off. No prams. Nothing! If every vehicle with a baby and a pram were to park in these bays, ten would certainly not be enough. Shopping malls nowadays are crawling with prams and strollers. And parents such as these are lazy and inconsiderate. They abuse these facilities for their own convenience and deprive other people who genuinely need it from using it.

Are senior citizens entitled to park at accessible parking bays? Yes, if they have a mobility impairment or are using a wheelchair. No if they can walk, almost gallopping, from the car park to the travelator. These old couple, looking around sixtyish seemed to think otherwise. Two weeks ago, I was waiting for Wuan to lock the car. This elderly couple conveniently parked their car beside ours. The wife hopped out and walked away quickly. The husband look at me, shooked his head, smiled and walked away in equal haste. I looked at him in disbelief. Before I could react, they were already on the travelator and then disappeared from my sight in a blink. The same car was parked in the accessible parking bay a few weeks before that, too.

Thank God, these bad examples of human decency are the exception. I have also come across very polite and thoughtful people who allow me to get into the elevators first or have offered their place in the queue to me, which I declined most times. If I could spend hours shopping in the malls, there should not be a reason why I could not spend another ten minutes waiting in line to pay.

Malaysians calling our Singaporean neighbours kiasu should think twice. Some of us on this side of the causeway are no better. In fact, I have a number of Singaporean friends who are very nice people. This is not exclusively a nationality thing. Some of us, irrespective of colour or creed, simply do not have what it takes to be civil and courteous while others have an abundance of it. It is about how we were brought up. It is all about manners.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

8 thoughts on “Kiasu Malaysians”

  1. Not only are we kiasu, Malaysians are trained to be kiam siap as well. Like any weekend now, 1Utama visitors without 1Card are diverted from the mall car park because there simply isn’t enough. The 1Card holders are allowed to go in but now I’m noticing more and more members (so to speak) drive in, then head to the public parking areas. Goodness. *slaps forehead*

    Besides the rakyat, I believe the mall management should play a role in educating customers for the better of tomorrow too. They should clam unauthorized vehicles who park in disabled lots (Mines does this now).

    For the lifts, they’ll never learn until it befalls on themselves. Typical.

    Peter, you should drop by my new personal blog. I just wrote an article on how Malaysians are “born kissers”. LOL! 😉

    Penangites, which I am one, is famous for being kiam siap. Hehe. Talking about 1 Utama OneCard preferred parking, it has one of the cheapest parking rates. Where else can you find RM2 parking for six hours? The only downside is that the charge is RM3 fior every subsequent hours. Ouch! As for Gardens Mall, I have seen them clamp a car parked at the accessible parking once only. Nowadays, I notice that they allow anybody to park there as long as you are bold enough to do it.

  2. Uh, Peter, what does kiam siap mean?

    Anyway, I’ve already known how kiasu these people are. Have been noticing that some people are so desperate that they park at the parking lot meant for families at Ikea, when the only passenger is the driver.

    Malaysians call Singaporeans kiasu because the former feels that the latter are cheapskate. That’s what I heard from my old folks, anyway.

    Kiasu-ness, I think, also apply to the bad apples from each religion. My Mom accidentally overshot and tried to reverse and turn into the parking entrance, and another Catholic honked!!!!

    Kiam siap means stingy. Kiasu people come in all shapes and sizes, and like I said, not limited to a certain nationality, colour or creed.

  3. Brother Pete,
    You hit the nail right on the head! I cannot but concur with you.
    I have seen mothers with children aboard driving like demons; infringing all traffic rules,
    and lacking social etiquette. These are the role models that their children will emulate.
    Sad to say, Malaysians are not only kiasu but uncultured and uncivilised.
    I too have had the Singapore experience as I was working with SIA and commuting between KL and Singapore.And of course they are leaps and bounds ahead of us!
    Basically, many of our countrymen lack social manners, ethics and above all culture as being
    civilised. Sorry if I have hurt many ego, but the truth always hurt.
    And to those detractors, I would like them to know that I am a patriot who proudly served the nation in the uniformed services at the front line during “Konfrontasi”and the insurgency.

  4. Malaysians lack civic mindedness when it comes to keeping common areas clean. They lack of consideration especially towards strangers. These are my experiences when I visit KL. Fortunately, not all possess these behavior tendencies. They have to start teaching kids good manners at school.

  5. When I asked my friend why did he cut queue while driving, he ridiculously answered he was in a rush, as if everyone else on the road were not rushing too! These people are the one causing the jam.

  6. I think this malaise ails all societies especially the big city folk all caught up in the rat race and stressful living.It has degenerated to a state of every man for himself.
    Some exhibit more aggressive traits than others thru’ upbringing.Hate to throw in the race equation, but the urbanised chinese are the bigger culprits.I guess the culture of being less communal and being urban dwellers for a longer period has taken its toll.Needless to say , this trend will carry on from parent to child by example.
    I sympathise with you as I have been in those situations before.Makes you wish you had an old car or truck!

  7. on my way back to kl from penang last fri, an accident occurred on the opposite side of the highway and a terrible jam build up as the emergency authorities had to take up the right lane from our side and stop their vehicles in order to rescue the situation (it was too far for them to u-turn back to help on the other side).

    while we were stuck in the jam, traffic was still moving very slowly. and malaysians being malaysians, most cars used the emergency lane as the fast track. my hubs and i were disgusted, knowing that there must be a major accident in front for such a major jam to build up on the plus highway.

    and sure enough, all the cars on the emergency lane had to ‘squeeze’ into our (left) lane because the ambulance and two fire engines couldn’t move through the traffic. STUPID!

    On the way to Ipoh, we saw an ambulance with flashing lights and siren blaring struggling to get through traffic in the emergency lane. Drivers who intentionally cause obstruction in the emergency should have their license suspended or revoked. They are a nuisance and a danger, especially when they overtake on the emergency lane.

  8. Dear Peter Tan,

    As a Malaysian who is currently residing in Singapore (it’s been already five years or so), it is sad to say that courtesy IS a nationality thing when it comes to Malaysia and Singapore. Just come to Singapore for a few days’ visit and you’ll notice that not only are the Singaporeans more courteous and law abiding then Malaysians, but that Malaysians are even more kiasu then Singaporeans as well! Malaysians really need to wake up and eat their humble pie when it comes to labelling people around us. I’ve been yet another of neighbour’s capital, Jakarta, and found that the people there were very friendly and polite as well. It’s no wonder that these countries as well as Brunei and the Phillipines dislike Malaysia not only because of political reasons but also the sheer rudeness that Malaysians display – I’ve talked to some of them who’ve been to Malaysia on holiday and they did not have a good impression (especially of KL).

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