Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Monday, March 08, 2010

A Nation of Ill-bred Boors


Cut the crap about generation gap. Or the fascination about Gen Y, and stop using the internet and other ‘’instant gratifications they are used to’’ as excuses for their obnoxious behaviour. Stop talking about ‘’old school’’ in disdain. Parents - don’t blame the government, or the school, or the ‘’education system’’. Blame your sloth and ill parenting. And don’t even bring up the cliché that it could be a ‘’cultural thing’’.

To me, bad behaviour, bad manners, anti-social conduct, and simple rudeness, are simply that – bad. Whether you are from Somalia, or Singapore, it’s pure, unadulterated, intolerable boorish behaviour and reeks ‘’ill-bred’’.

Example One (and many similar ones)
Ha – this can easily be explained away by doting parents. I can almost hear the adoring mother’s disgusting whimper, ‘’oh but the poor little boy is lost, and he is anxious…’’

‘’Little’’ my foot! He is almost as tall as me, looking rosy, fit and muscular. He gets up bus 14 after me, his eyes meet mine and without even a salutation or an excuse me, asks, ‘’what bus is this?’’ Sensing that he must have forgotten to check when he boarded it, which admittedly has happened to me before in my eagerness not to miss the elusive bus 14, I reply, ‘’14’’. ‘’Oh,’’ he says, and continues, ‘’Does it turn left after this stop?’’ ‘’Yes, it does,’’ I reply. ‘’Can I cross opposite and take the same bus back,’’ he asks. ‘’Yes, just alight and cross over,’’ I reply.

The bus arrives at the next stop. The ‘’little’’ tall, fit and muscular boy alights. Not a word of thanks, or smile. I am not looking for a sycophantic ‘’madam’’ or to be thanked profusely, but certainly a few basic courteous words like ‘’please’’, ‘’excuse me’’ and ‘’thank you’’, should not be alien? Having studied various foreign languages, I am very familiar how sometimes one appears rude when asking for directions or making requests in a foreign language. Usually you struggle and spit out the main point or question in the foreign language, and forget the indirect requests like, ‘’would you mind telling me’’, or ‘’if you could please show me,’’. Instead, we would try and cut short our agony and simply say, ‘’excuse me, where is the bus station?’’ In this bus 14 case, the kid is in school uniform, and definitely does not sound like a foreign student. So there. And don’t come with excuses like, oh, ‘’with sms and instant messaging these days, we need to use short texts…’’ Kido – you are on a bus, talking to a person live, not sending sms, or IM’s. Like I say, call a spade a spade. You simply have no basic manners.

Example Two
Are we such a filthily wealthy nation so used to ‘’exclusivity’’ and ‘’personal or private’’ service that we forgot how to share common utilities? No, at home, it’s nothing wrong with having three PCs for each of your three kids, or two cars, one for each spouse, though environmentally-speaking, it is not something you should be proud of. Maybe HDB should not spoil its residents with three lifts on each landing. Such luxury, and environmentally questionable too.

I wait downstairs at one of the lift landing. A mother, her maid and two kids are also waiting at the same landing, facing the very same lift. When the door opens, I enter, while the other lift opposite also opens its doors. The group would rather cross the landing, to ride their ‘’exclusive’’ lift. No, I am not offended that they do not like my company and share the lift. And I am very sure I do not have BO, and neither of us is so obese that the lift cannot fit all of us. What pisses me off is more the inconsideration and deliberate delay they cause. In running across to get the other lift, they have to press the ‘’hold’’ button and inevitably holds up my lift too.

What’s wrong with taking the same lift? Not only are you extremely anti social, you are abhorrently selfish and unnecessarily un-neighbourly.

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