Thursday, November 26, 2009

Simple Social Etiquette Heading for Extinction..

As a person, I have to admit that my human package comes complete with an abundance of flaws; imperfect in my conduct and mannerism at times.  Realizing this fact about me, as a parent now, to 3 marvelous children, I hope I am able to educate them the best way possible not only academically but most importantly in terms of their social etiquette.

Today, I was at the Giant supermarket near my Mam's home with my first two munchkins just strolling along lane after lane.  We were at one isle when this lady took a packet of Maggi to have another fall on the ground.  Did she have any decency to pick it up? The answer is NO! She merely looked at it and scurried away. Since she was able to ignore it, the devil in me took control and told me to do just the same until I was put to shame after Qayyum picked it up and put it back on the shelf.  I thanked my son for his act to which he replied "I didn't make it fall, Mum." I was instantly embarrased at myself because I saw the thing fall first and decided to ignore it while this 7 year-old boy did the total opposite.

 After getting what I needed , as my first two children were with me, I decided to bring them to the playground there that they love so much.  One thing that Iman loves about the playground  is the free rides provided.  First come, first serve is a social rule that I respect and always abide to.  Upon reaching the rides, when things are free, you would see that it is always occupied. Not wanting to see a disappointed look on her face, I stood  right beside that pony she wanted to go on with her, waiting for our turn.   We had been queuing for 15 minutes when the girl who was on the pony finally got the message that the pony was public property, decided to go down and give other sapient a chance on it .  But the best thing that happened was..as Iman was taking her sandals off  to get on it, came another gentleman who conveniently settled his daughter on the pony that we had been waiting for, for a total of 15 minutes (plus another 30 seconds while waiting for her to get the sandals off).  It's not a long period for us adults, but for kids, it seemed forever! So, we had to wait another 5 minutes and  I said mighty loud to Iman "It's ok Baby, kita sabar jer. Tunggu je lagi!! Don't run around, beratur jer macam tadi." I guess that got the man feeling guilty because he started this small conversations asking how old Iman was, where she went to school yadda,yadda,yadda.  Two rounds on the pony later, my gal got her chance which delighted her to the extent that there was no more room on her face for her to be smiling from ear to ear!

My kids have often forgotten to say their "thank yous" to people but my husband and I are always quick to reprimand them fearing it would become a habit hard to break and I get really annoyed at children who don't say it and it gets more annoying when their parents don't even say anything to correct their child!!  Well, for children below 10 years old is fathomable but for those who are above that age just comes across to me as mighty rude.  Saying 'please and thank you' is considered to be the most fundamental aspect of the social etiquette. Why is it that some find it extremely difficult to practise?  I have encountered many situations with cashiers who never say thank you to me when handing in my change and even when I say it to them, sarcastically, they would just give me an insincere smile. These cashiers should be reminded of the fact that the purchasing power of customers are what gives them the salary to enable them to paint their faces with awfully heavy make-up!!  So little girl at the gift shop in Kuantan Specialist Hospital, hope you are reading this and won't forget to say thank you anymore!!! ( I have 'tegur'ed her twice, but you know, if you are just bloody rude, you're just bloody rude!!)

The next issue I would like to touch on is the under usage of saying "excuse me" when you need to interrupt other people's conversation.  I have this colleague who does this on a regular basis.  At first, we thought that she might have done it accidently but when it happened every single time she needed to cut into other people's conversation, definitely it's just her.  Nobody is more important than anybody else when it comes to conversations.  I believe everybody has the right to converse and having said that, even if you feel that one gossiping about Mr. X or Madam Y is just a waste of your precious time to listen to, still, let them finish off their sentence before you decide to butt in with the things you need to say thinking it is more important and above anything else. For starters, you will definitely not fall into your grave by saying "Excuse me, can I interrupt for a while.."

I have never for once felt repulsed to enter a public toilet in  the shopping malls of Belgium or even at Moray House where I was studying. Sadly, that is not the case here.  In Malaysia, how many of you can say that you have always entered a public toilet that is immaculately clean?  If you can say yes, then I envy you!!   Just last two weeks,  a couple of friends and I entered a WC to be welcomed by a huge pile of S**T lying there in the toilet bowl of the first cubicle.  That was a whopper that nearly made us puke.  We went to the second cubicle and it wasn't as terrible as the first with bits and pieces of tissue paper scattered on the floor.  I went to the third and I was greeted by sanitary pads with fresh blood stains on it. These are a normal sight for me when I enter the public toilets here.  Today, it is a sanitary pad, tomorrow would be diapers lying there on the floor, the next day might be a condom I suppose apart from the cigarette butts or other forms of rubbish.  Has it ever occured to them the existance of a trash  can is for us to dispose our rubbish?  My children are aways reminded to use the trash can, and if they cannot find one , then they should hold on to it until they  do. Why is it that cleanliness which should be a part of our daily routine become something extremely difficult to carry out.  Is it a sign that Malaysians are simply unhygienic? Is cleanliness only compulsory when you are abroad, is it only part of a facade to blend in with our western counterparts?  

These are only a few examples out of the millions that I can think of .  I am not saying that I am a saint  for I am never one and I have had a few lapses here and there regarding the things I am  talking on now,  but I can guarantee you, they are but only unintentional! Children are children and what do they know most of the times  about  queing up or not cutting the queue and all as they rely closely on their elders, or most approapriately their parents to examplify good values for them to mimick.  Sadly, these are the values that are fast deteriorating among us!

Do not be offended,  I am merely talking on my personal experiences which may not be relevant at all to yours.  This is my plain ramblings for today. 

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