Sunday, October 15, 2006
we are all the same, lah!
Up until last week, I was one of the few city folks who had never stepped foot into that little country down south. There were many occasions along the years where I had the chance to, but somehow those trips never materialised. Labels: malaysia
I remember my parents going down in 1996 because my dad had a business trip or something. I opted not to go because I wanted to go watch Selangor play the Malaysia Cup final in Shah Alam stadium (good choice, because Malaysian football was never the same after that with the emergence of Astro and their limitless football coverage). There came along a few other chances, but somehow they never really materialised.
Anyway, you don't really have to step foot on the other country to know about the existing rivalry between the two countries (and the people, of course). While most Malaysians I know can't really stand those funny people down south, there are some who worship them for the same reason some women worship Prada. And from those people, you hear all sorts of mythical things about the supposedly 'awesome' island nation.
For instance, you hear that people there are very law abiding. In their country, maybe. But when I was driving down and got stuck in the causeway for 2 hours, I saw all the Singaporean cars cutting queues and effectively turn a 3 lane road into a 5 lane one. This one particular nice bloke even threw a sweet wrapper out of his car window.
And then there is the proclaimation of being a very very clean city. Sorryla, but when you tell me a city is clean, I was thinking along the lines of Zurich and Vienna. It's not very hard being cleanER than KL you know. You can also see rubbish along Orchard Road, while not to the magnitude of Petaling Street, it is certainly far from the fabled truth that you will not see a single speck of dirt in Singapore.
Then of course, there's the usual Asian uncourteous character. It is no different for Malaysia in that nobody clears their tables in Burger King or McDonalds. One whole week there and not a single person held open a door for me, nor did anybody thank me for holding the door open for them. Not to mention of course that I happened to drop my wallet (which has a sinful number of cards) at the MRT station, and not a single person bent down to help me pick up the contents. In fact, there was a slightly skanky looking female who loudly exclaimed, "Whoah!" when she saw all the cards spill on the floor.
Speaking of the MRT, just as in Malaysia, people don't seem to know how to queue up during peak hours (at least not when I used it) and nobody understands that it is common courtesy to stand on left while going up the escalator so that people in a hurry can run up the escalator.
Then there are the taxi drivers, who are a chatty bunch, who remind me of the idiots roaming around on the Internet with their half baked opinions on everything. The older blokes are more pro-government, and there was this one guy who pretty much had nothing but praise for everything around him. But he was the exception, as most of the younger blokes seemed enjoy nothing more than to complain about everything Singaporean.
I reckon it is pretty much a universal thing. People bitch when they have to pay for things, even though they have a choice not to use those things. People bitch because they can, but while bitching is an acceptable form of venting your frustrations, whinning is pretty much annoying and pointless.
"This gomen aaah, you see this ERP? Everyday Robbing People! This is legalised robbing! You see this father and son gomen? My friends, welcome to the Leepublic of Singapore..."
I was travelling with my boss and technician, both of whom are Malays, and I pretty much look like one, so this one particular Malay taxi driver thought it was appropriate to diss the Chinese. This is something I actually knew all along, but his complaints pretty much confirmed the fact that being Chinese in Malaysia is pretty much the same as being a Malay in Singapore. The bloke bitched about Harry Lee's recent comments, adding that loads of Malaysian Chinese go to Singapore and get good jobs there only because of their skin colour...and he would have gone further if my boss didn't interupt him to point out that I was a Chinese.
Malay or Chinese, Malaysian or Singaporean, we are all the same. Most Singaporeans have relatives in Malaysia and likewise. All of us Chinese were born here, and have no ties to China. We can complain about political issues till the cows come home, but that is not going to change the fact that we are who we are.
This got me thinking of 2 weeks ago when I met up with some uni friends for a mamak session. These are guys who pretty much used to diss everything imaginable about Malaysia when we were in uni. But the other day, when one of them brought up some racial issues, another guy interrupted with, "Aiyah, we all know things like that happenla. But we are all surviving, and all of us have awesome jobs. So, what's the problem?"
That particular topic promptly ended with an observation of the female species, as is the norm in every male discussion. It suddenly started to pour in the mamak place, so we moved to the covered area, when this Malay girl and her friends rushed in. Her white baby-tee was a little wet as was her long hair, making her look unbelievably sexy. As we oggled, one of the guys made the comment of the night:
"Eh, I dunno about you guys la, but I am starting to think that some tudung chicks are fucking hot, whey!"
If you clear the tables in fastfood outlets, ppl would think you're mad coz that would be allowing the workers to earn gaji buta. Pfft....
-Japan this and that problem
-lousy HK housing; Singapore's housing super good
i think i'll go down next month or the month after
true that we are who we are.
It's not true what the Malay taxi-driver said though. There are just as many Singaporean Malays who would say the opposite of what he spouted.