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  • Writer's pictureJulian Chan

Rules. Malaysian-style.


I think we Malaysians don't follow rules very well. I mean, we follow rules in general, but I don't think we strictly follow them to the tee, present company included. When I have a conversation with fellow Malaysians about their experiences with rules in other countries, say, Singapore or Australia, it's a completely different story.

"Singapore is a fine country. Everything also fine!"

(Say that in Manglish or Singlish, and it'll make more sense. Okay, if it doesn't then what it means is that one gets fined for every offense they make....sorry, get caught for, e.g. eating gum, jaywalking, running a red light)

In Australia, for example, if you get caught committing an offense you can bet you will be summoned with a ticket, such as going past the speed limit in a town road or something. Enforcement is strict. Even if you drive badly, you can be sure of getting evil eyes from other road users. I remember learning to drive patiently and courteously (and getting used to it) when I was living in Perth for my university studies. When I came back to Malaysia it took me a few good weeks to readjust to the Malaysian style of driving.

Of course, typical of us Malaysians, we might be complaining about that situation simply because of our driving style here. We get away with a lot of bad driving. Inconsiderate driving, for that matter. Check out these websites to get an idea of what I'm talking about:

So...what's my point here? What does bad Malaysian driving habits have to do with anything?

Well, look at our present situation. We're in full lockdown because there are so many of us who just don't self-regulate very well. Or at the very least, be self-aware of what we're doing at every moment we are out when we go buy groceries, buy take-away food, visit shopping malls to meet friends and family because we can't visit them at their houses....well, you get the point.

It was reported that the recent spikes was because many people went against the SOP and went visiting when they really shouldn't be (it's actually a violation of the current COVID-19 laws in Malaysia). How was this possible, and how was it that many were even allowed to do so?

The answer is quite straightforward:

"Our ministers also do it what? If they can, then why we cannot?"

Don't get me wrong. I'm not just targeting one specific group of people here, although in my head I do specifically think that it was through their actions that we have snowballed into this current situation. This is my personal opinion. If you don't agree with me, that's's your problem. (read: Sabah elections)

Earlier in the afternoon, my wife and I had to go out to collect a parcel, much to our chagrin (that's another story) and on our way back we couldn't help but notice a police car driving behind us. A few seconds later, he decided to overtake us, but didn't use their signal indicators. After that, they changed lanes without using the said indicators too. What does that tell you?

To me, we Malaysians don't really follow rules because we've just been conditioned to do so. Our elders (or in this case, persons of authority) don't follow the rules but they expect us to, and if we get caught otherwise we would be punished. A classic example of "Do as I say, not as I do". I do think (or at least, out of my observation and personal transgressions) that this level of thinking pervades in every level of our society. We also bend rules every now and then to suit our convenience. I've seen many people do it, I'm completely guilty of it as well (although I'd like to think I'm a little bit more reformed now). Just look at the number of businesses that got approvals to operate from MITI when it's clear they're not "essential economy" businesses. Just look at the number of drivers out there who got their driving license quickly because of "under-table" fees...I did, and that was because I was too naive to think that it was the common practice at the time.

We just have bad examples to follow. Ministers, politicians, law enforcers, public services departments, relatives, name it, we have it.

I know, I know....not everyone is that way and I sincerely take my hats off to you for having the patience to see everyone else breaking the rules while you wholeheartedly do the right thing. I know how mad this must make you feel. I have deep respect for one of my cousins who failed his driving test about four times until he finally passed and got his license legitimately.

"Aiyah, it's ok one lah...once a while no problem one..."

"Tak apa lah, kalau tak nampak tak kena lah..." ("it's ok, if no one sees it then you won't get caught")

Thanks for reading. Please stay safe and have a good day.

- JC

PS: Everything you've read here is just a reflection of my personal opinions and feelings, and meant for light reading. It's my blog, after all. Feel free to agree with me. If not, that's okay, too. It's not my problem. LOL!

PPS: But not to downplay our current situation, it's definitely gotten bad, so please stay home and stay safe and vigilant if you have to go out.

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