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"welcome to Malaysia"???

The scene:
About 145pm, Sunday August 12th 2007, at the 2nd floor public toilet of Central Market.

The situation:
I am waiting seemingly forever for a bathroom stall to free up in the row of squatting/sitting stalls. Over on the other side are the horrid feminine urinals the inventor of which I would like to have flayed, but that’s off the topic. So there, I am, waiting waiting waiting for a door to open… One or two other girls come in and walk by me to check the stalls, then realize I’m waiting, and maybe they just can’t wait, so they go over to the other side, and I’m spared asking them to *ahem!* I’ve been waiting here, get in line, eh? I’ve never understood the concept here of queuing in front of an individual stall door: what’s so difficult about waiting in one main line??

Then.... Ahhhh..... then in walks this person... maybe in her mid-20’s... does the whole walking past me and checking the stalls thing... then takes up a post halfway down the way, obviously intending to pounce at any door that would open next.

Me: Uhhh, excuse me, do you mind to queue, please?
[note my use of broken English, and I did use the Malaysian cadence of speech,]

She: [turns towards me with eyes flashing and aggressive body language] What? I HAAAAAVE to queue ah? Where is the sign? You show me any sign [accompanied by exaggerated outlining in the air of a signboard] that says we MUST queue to use this bathroom? Who are you to order me?

Me: [totally taken aback] [with an incredulous look on my face] Ummm, I used “do you mind” and “please”, it certainly wasn’t an order...

She: [continues to membebel belligerently] I stand here easy lah, door open I go in lah, [blah blah blah]

[her lips are moving but I’m not capturing what she’s saying because my mind is still trying to process the fact that I’m getting bitched out for asking someone to queue]

[she walks off in a huff, to go to the other side, I suppose]

... and her parting shot as she rounded the corner?

“Don’t try to teach* me in my own country!”

Me: [almost bursting out in laughter] Hey hello, I’m a Malaysian lah! F*ck you!

By that time a stall had opened up so I made my way in [a squatting one, ugh!], dunno lah if she said anything back. Okay, okay, okay so I dropped a few levels by that last phrase, but you know what, even with that I didn’t come anywhere close to where she resides.

What if I actually *had* been a tourist? How would THAT have been for a “Welcome to Malaysia” message, eh?

And no matter I was Malaysian or not, no matter what your problem might be, you. Just. DON’T. react in such an ugly, repulsive, arrogant, toxic manner to a polite request!

Ugly Malaysian indeed.

And we’re celebrating our 50th year of Independence in 19 days?

This country has a looooooooooooooong way to go.

For those unclear = the use of teach is a direct translation of the Malay term used, most commonly found in the phrase "kurang ajar" (less taught, having a deficiency in "education"), an insult!, not just because it means you have been deemed deficient in certain skills/social niceties/whatever, but there's that implication that you are rude, disrespectful, etc etc etc.

So her parting shot implied that she decided that I had deemed her as "lacking teaching" and didn't appreciate the judgement.

Unfortunately for her, her reaction to the whole thing shows that she is, indeed, kurang ajar.

One more interesting perspective to add to this: if you want to take a step back and look at the philosophy behind this "kurang ajar" concept ... coming from a more community-based society [as opposed to the more individual-based "western" sociey] it places blame for someone "lacking teaching" with the "teacher" and not the "student", i.e. the parent more than the child,,, otherwise wouldn't the term used indicate a deficiency in LEARNING?

Or it could be designed very much like the insult "bastard" where it's not so much the recipient as the recepient's mother who's targetted by the insult, and that's why it's such a powerful insult?



  1. I am sooooo sorry you had to go thru that. Yes, I too have experienced people staring at me just because I reprimand them for not queueing. Horrid kan?

  2. "Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!" *shaking my head*
    Unfortunately there are still many Malaysians who have no civic consciousness. Dunno if they had any sense of what education means. Sigh...

  3. Sammmmmme thing happen to me when i was waiting for a cab... twas my turn n suddenly came this girl..hurriedly open the cab door just one inch infront of me.. and i was HEY! and she said " I m late to work aaaa.." grrrr... and tht was not my first n the last experience

  4. Lynne,

    It wasn't a bad experience lah...

    If that happens in men's, I think a boxing match would have erupted.

    Anyway, it's sad for Malaysia...

    But, the same can be seen in the parliament. Leadership by example!!!!

  5. what can i say..i agree with you lynne that malaysia has a loooong way to become a bit more civilised..pelik kan? kita bleh contruct tallest building, send some1 outerspace, etc etc but nak queue pun susah..i guess that minah pon terkujat u told her off..go gurl! anyway, give malaysia 10 more years, and if we r still here, c whether we've made any major improvements..Malaysia Boleh!

  6. Seems like you are enjoying the whole Malaysian experience, Not.
    Take care.

  7. This is a fun story. :-) I am happy you said that to her!

  8. One sad b***h slammed the toilet door in my face just because I asked her to get in line. I made every effort to be polite and even smiled as I made my request, kena jugak! Very sakit ati!

  9. P.S. I got my postcard today! I love the one you picked out for me! Thanks so much!

  10. ish ish ish! so sad for malaysia!

    dunno whether they know about good manners!

    sad sad sad

  11. Sorry for you...for the horrible things happened. I hope malaysian will change soon... and I can see the changes... Please visit my blog and you will see more...


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