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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

'Kempen Berbudi Bahasa'

I'm sure most of us have noticed the courtious Malaysian campaign splattered all over the country. Yup, Malaysians are well known for their 'budi bahasa'.. are they?

Truth be told, not many Malaysian are courtious (btw, is my spelling right?). I mean, lets talk about Faezah and Man's experience in Klang. We were lost, not knowing the way to our hotel so I stopped at this Shell petrol kiosk to ask for directions. Man was the one who went to the lady at the counter, and would you believe it, when Man politely asked her, she just looked away while saying,"Tak tau.. tak tau!", rudely!

Then Faezah went to pay for a drink she took from the fridge. She didn't have any small change so she handed a RM50 note and this same woman scolded her right in front of everyone, making her fell like a total fool, just because she didn't have small change. Faezah was embarrassed and became quite mad when she realized the tokey himself didn't really mind her RM50 note. I mean, can't you speak politely, asking if we had small change? We could listen quite well, you know, thank you very much!

The same goes to youngsters in shopping complexes. I once saw two schoolkids nearly knocking down an old man but they never even turned to say 'sorry'. C'mon, its just A word, for God's sake!

Now let me take you to my experience in the musolla of a shopping complex recently. At first, only me, Faezah and an elderly lady were in there. But when we finished our prayers, a group of young girls rushed into the musolla and started chatting at the top of thier voices, without bothering to respect the elder woman who was praying. I could feel a scowl growing on my face as my mind started to brand them as 'rude' so I quickly turned to my book that I had brought along to read while waiting for Man and Quazzi.

Then another woman came inside. While she was praying, the group of young girls were still talking and laughing and I really jumped when this older woman shouted at the girls right after she finished her prayers with some 'foreign' languange I, thankfully, didn't understand! Now, I know that she was mad, but the girls weren't really THAT noisy. Besides, the chosen words that came outta her mouth were quite 'colourful' I guess, since the girls were quite shocked.

This really made me want to sink in the floor, though it wasn't directed towards me. I guess, this is why most of us ignore other people even if we're in the same room, or musolla for this instance! We notice there are other people, but still, we pretend that we don't see them!

But, its really funny when you see the way we are with tourists. I mean, whenever they are lost or something, we are quick to help them. We talk so politely to them that sometimes I wonder, to whom do we really want to make a good impression. To the tourists who come here, not even once a year OR to the locals whom we might meet everyday! I guess, this is why, to the outside world, we are so polite, so courtious, so full of good behaviour so on and so forth. But to our fellow Malaysians, we are so not like that.. I DID write about my experience with a shopkeeper once, didn't I?

Maybe, deep down inside, we want to be like that to each other. We'd love to exchange a smile that wouldn't make the receiving person feel uncomfortable. I mean, once, I tried smiling to complete strangers but I got odd looks back so I settled back into the usual routine of looking elsewhere than to other people's faces. Maybe, our faith in our own kind has gone to the pits, thats why we're more confident that foreigners are the only one's who'd appreciate our smile!

Still, once in a while, we get the boost of confidence in our people back. Some of my smiles, are rewarded with another smile and all of us know, THAT could really make our day.

Like yesterday, while in the musolla, after pretending to be so absorbed in my book, I noticed 2 other girls entering the already empty musolla (the group of girls had already exited leaving me and Faezah..). I was starting to doze off when this shrill voice came into the musolla from outside. This guy was singing so loudly and totally off-key, maybe he didn't realize it. I don't remember the song but I think its a famous Indonesian song. I wanted to laugh, but Faezah was concentrating on her magazine. Still, I HAD to share the moment and I risked lifting up my face to the other 2 girls. One of them was doing the typical thing to do: Ignoring everything!

But the other girl caught my eye..

Exchanged a knowing look..

Smiled at me..

Understood and shared the joke..

Made us connceted for a fraction of a second..

But that was enough! My faith in us have been restored and I'm sure we could make it, by just taking one step at a time if we'tre too afraid to make the big leap.. yup fellow Malaysians, we can make it!

P/S To whomever that guy was, I owe you one, bro!

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