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.