A few months ago, roads in Sea Park area in PJ were resurfaced, to the relief of the residents there, since the last resurfacing was done quite some time ago.. I live in the adjacent SS2, and every morning I pass by Sea Park on my way to work in KL.
One of the main roads, near to the popular Sea Park shell station, had a junk of tar on its surface after the resurfacing was done. This junk of tar , about 6 feet in length, was like an artificial elongated mole on the just nicely resurfaced road. It had probably been inadvertently dropped from the tarring machines while resurfacing the road. It is irregular, and is not only an eyesore, but actually causes inconvenience to the motorists , as it acts like an bump on the road. Only it is worse than a bump, since it is irregular. Cars that pass directly on top would feel a thud, and cars that try to avoid the junk of tar face the danger of colliding with on coming traffic.
This illustrates an aspect of Malaysian life. Malaysians frequently do work with a ‘tidak apa’ attitude, and seldom go the extra mile to make sure that the job is well done. Yes, the job is done some how, but there is often a blemish in some part of it.
We may find a new building completed with expensive materials and looking majestic on the outside. But once inside, we may notice poorly-aligned tiles or uneven flooring. Often new toilets would have such poor workmanship that water , instead of flowing to the drain holes, collects in the centre of the floor because of lack of gradient.
Another common problem is that whenever old roads are resurfaced, the manhole covers dotting the road will not be raised to the new level, , causing cars to feel a thud when going over such covers. Sometimes, the level may be so low, that a fast car going over it may have its suspension spoilt or wheel rims dented, causing air leak in the tyres. On the other extreme, some manholes covers are raised so high they become an obstacle in the roads, and often cars will try to swing sideway to avoid it, only to collide with the oncoming cars and causing unnecessary injuries and even deaths.
I never find such unevenness in Singapore roads. Why? Because the people there feel proud of their job and have a sence of responsibility to see that everything is well done; at least everything is done according to the book.
In Malaysia, everything is about cutting corners and people just treat a job as a job and does not have any pride in their jobs.
When we were young, we were often told that we must go the extra mile…Feel proud to have a job well done, and make sure everyone is happy about it. Even without the extra mile, we can take just one extra step… Like in the case of the Sea Park road, if the workers just took the trouble to go over the roads they surfaced, they would have discovered the patch of tar and could have easily removed it when it was still hot and liquid.
It is really a matter of culture… When you see everyone has the tidak apa attitude, you will become one too.
It is part of the greater syndrome of loss of excellence. We have actually gone down so far, that to climb back up will be so tough that we may not even have the will nor the strength to do it.
How to impart the will to these people to go the extra mile or take the extra step? That is really the million dollar question..