Monday July 30, 2012
THE Reader’s Digest publication placed Kuala Lumpur’s rudeness and inconsiderate behaviour level almost at the bottom of a list of least Courteous Cities – at number 34 out of 36 major cities in the world (The Star, July 24).
Six years ago the same publication placed Malaysia’s rudeness level at 33 out of the 35 countries ranked.
While we are not sure what was the criteria used to do the assessment, the fact that it comes from a reputable publication is a matter that cannot be ignored.
On the contrary, we should be concerned about the findings and address them in the best possible way.
Some of the issues highlighted related to lack of courtesy, smoking in toilets, ignoring signs against smoking, littering in public places, not giving up seats for pregnant women and the elderly, rushing into lifts, trains and buses before allowing passengers to exit.
Other problems include ugly driving habits, poor toilet etiquette, talking loudly on phones even in places where there is supposed to have privacy, not saying “thank you” when assistance is given, and leaving trolleys in parking lots.
Judging from the behaviour and attitude of a large number of Malaysians, I have serious reservations about the effectiveness of the ongoing campaign to promote courtesy among the people and make it a way of life.
Despite our technological progress we are confronted with the issue of decaying morality in our daily lives.
The time has come for all strata of Malaysian society to ask whether they have done enough to ensure the success of the national five-year campaign to promote courtesy and noble values among Malaysians.
Based on my observations, courtesy, politeness, patience, humility, tolerance and respect have yet to become our way of life. Courtesy is very much lacking in large sections of our community.
Emphasising on campaigns to inculcate public courtesy and noble values is very essential in view of the deterioration of such values and virtues particularly among young Malaysians.
Having a campaign to promote courtesy and noble values is important but what is even more essential is to put into practice the values we are helping to promote.
Leadership by example is essential for the success of the campaign. In this connection all ministries, government departments and agencies should instil noble values among their staff.
The civil service, for example, should promote courtesy among counter staff dealing with the public.
Basic civilities and courtesies such as responding to calls and replying to letters from the public must be adhered to by all those in authority.
This should be followed by the private sector and the Malaysian public at large.
The success of any courtesy campaign must start from schools.
In this connection, Moral Education or Pendidikan Moral should be reinforced to emphasise the importance of learning and practising the 36 noble values in schools.
Memorising the values for the sake of passing an exam is certainly not desirable. What we want is to put the noble values into practice in our daily life.
The attainment of vision 2020 will only be meaningful if we are able to inculcate a culture of courtesy and noble values among Malaysians.
TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE