It is OK to be wrong!

To someone new to Malaysia, the one thing that will strike them is the way people drive cars here. There are many good and obedient drivers, who follow rules and queues, but there are many more  who try to drive like Michael Suchmacher but without his skills and patience.

Then there are those who do not care to read arrow signs, and go onto the wrong lanes, or worse, go into a one way street in the opposite direction.

There are those who pay hefty sum to walk on treadmills in Gyms, but would not even want to walk an extra step when it comes to parking his or her cars. They will double-park right in front of their destination, even when 30 feet down the road, there are official car parks for parking. End result:  double parking causing difficulty for other drivers and jams to be built up.

Then there are those with good colour visions who have suddenly turned colour blind when coming to a traffic light junction, and drive their cars shooting across the road when lights turn amber or red.

One recent personal experience. I usually parked my car at the back of my clinic which i have turned into a garage for my car. The garage door opens to the backlane behind my clinic; there are yellow lines drawn on both sides of the narrow lane. I also put a prominent “Please Do not park- car exit” sign, in both English and Chinese,  just outside the garage door. But recently, when I wanted to go home after work, I found a car parked right outside the garage door, blocking the way. I went around my neighbouring shops asking for owner of the car but no one seemed to know anything about the car.

After waiting for about 20 minutes, a stout  middle age man in short and t-shirt came walking with a small girl to the car. He was carrying some “Ta Pao”(take away)  food. When I told him politely that his car has blocked me for 20 minutes and pointed at the yellow line, he stared at me, got his girl and himself into the car, and just before closing his door, screamed at me in Cantonese ” hui  sei lah” ( in english “go and die”).

What is he trying to show, I really do not know. How his behaviour is going to affect the little girl, I do not know. I only know that there are many such people around whose egos are so high that they cannot even acknowledge their mistakes and cannot even have the courtesy to say ‘sorry”.

The whole driving culture is wrong and police are not sending the right message. Only this morning, when I was travelling down Federal Highway from my house to my workplace, I saw a police Waja with 4 persons inside moving leisurely down the yellow lane reserved for buses and taxis in front of Khuan Cheng High school.  And of course , many cars would follow, and hence this really defeats the purpose of having a yellow lane.

(picture courtesy of

Another was the announcement that there would be 50% discount for those who did not settle summons on time. This really sends a wrong signal.

Those who receive summons are not going to pay on time since they know that there would be discount if they do not pay. Those who settle promptly are thus penalised, as they actually paid 50% more for being obedient citizens.  Actually it should be the other way round. Those who pay early and on time should be given discount and those who pay after the specified period should be punished with a late fees. In Malaysia, we are doing it in a reverse manner.

This is a sure way of encouraging Malaysians not to have discipline.  In those countries where the citizens show good discipline, wrong doing and late payments are punished, not those  who pay their fines on time.

Any wonder why we are not like South Korea, Japan, or  Singapore.

Any wonder Malaysian drivers are not scared to flout traffic rules? When wrong doing can be discounted, it is a signal that it is OK not to follow rules.


(This article is also published in MalaysianInsider as “When it is OK to be wrong”.)


22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. klm
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 11:44:44

    Dr. Hsu. Generally, there never had been development of a cultured and polite society in the Chinese society in Malaysia. Maybe in a few spots like Penang where some of the intelligentsia from China settled down. The Chinese were pendatang and was ans till is on cari makan mode. Till today, the Chinese generally had remained crude, selfish and not interested in the betterment of the Chinese society. And because there is no development of a Malaysia society, after 50 years we are still taking 1Malaysia, the Chinese society is stifled and remains like pirate at heart.

    Why don’t you follow the crowd and behave the same?


  2. Taikohtai
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 14:07:05

    Monkey see, monkey do.
    When top leaders act with impunity, how can one expect citizen Joe to act otherwise? When the message to DSAI is also a ” hui sei lah” ,
    the society at large is adversely affected. Yes, fish do rot from the head down indeed.


  3. CYC
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 14:50:41

    A smoking dad can never convince his son not to smoke.

    A nation full of tainted leaders will encourage its citizens to do the same quietly.

    Dr, this is what 1Malaysia portraying to the world now.


  4. Thomas
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 15:38:55

    There must be reasons why we behave like this. The same rude and inconsiderate Malaysian can be very courteous when in Sydney or Oxford, (while agree there may be others who take their bad manners with them).
    But in those places you cannot deny how well planned the cities and suburbs are, with proper parks or good transport systems or how efficient and correct those officers appointed to oversee that everybody behave.
    If you go to the jungle you must respect the laws there are different.


  5. disgusted
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 16:52:01

    Well, Dr. I really like the cartoon. Txs for sharing.

    Yes, Klang Valley has many hell drivers, idiots and many rushing off to hell. Everyday, I encountered these idiot drivers and parking, double and even triple parking. Malaysians have grown into an inconsiderate populace (as far as Klang Valley is concerned).

    The other day, a police car in front of me shot through a ** light, so what do you expect others to abide the traffic laws. Motorcycles dashing zig zag, coming from opposite directions. It is not good enough to drive carefully, must drive smart and tactical driving.

    THE situation is that it is not good enough to avoid banging others, you have to remain alert people banging you. And traffic cops, our “blue moon” cops, hardly around. What the shit they do, only escorting VVIPs? Anyway, the traffic situation is pathetic. Road designs are bad, road conditions are bad, traffic is bad…thinking of moving into the jungle.


  6. CYC
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 17:23:43

    Malaysians like to park their cars right in front of the shop they wanted to do their shopping at. They will not want to park inside some purposed built cover car park. So, developer will avoid building multi storey car park as it will turn into white elephant. This is the real scenario.

    On the other hand, developer will only engage “friendly’ traffic consultant to carry out traffic impact assessment so to suit their specific requirements. As a result u see funny traffic system/flow at certain development scheme which not practical or completely redundant. These consultants include those professors and senior lecturers at local universities. Worst still, some newly developed area got no allocation of road side bus stop. The developers/planners/authorities thought all Malaysians only commute with own vehicles. This another real scenario.


  7. DG
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 20:05:42

    Dr, I want to share a personal experience. People who act in an ” uncivilized ” manner are in most cases educated and most of the time are civilized people.
    Why do the behave so, I believe stress and the “fed up” factor has something to do with it.
    Personally on a good day, I would drive patiently and give way like a civilized person. On a bad, I get pissed when people drive too slowly, are inconsiderate and cut into my lane in a jam. When that happens I turn into a Dr Jekyll. I might even chase the person’s car. Sometimes, I have the urge of scratching a person’s car when their car takes up two parking lots and very difficult to get a parking. Sometime, I wait patiently for a car to drive out of a parking lot and another driver steals it from under my nose. I get really into a rage. I wanted very badly to scratch that person’s car but so far that “civilized” part of me hasn’t succumb.

    But I have had my car scratch before and till today I can’t figure why. It’s like the society has gone backwards in terms of courtesy. Malaysians esp. those living in the big cities, just have a very toxic culture which would sooner or later infect the rest. Ask any Malaysian who came back from overseas that just immersed themselves in this toxic culture. They and their children will pick it up, after awhile.
    Children if they don’t pick it up from their parents would pick it up from the society in which they live in.


  8. disgusted
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 22:47:30

    Local consultants? I don’t know whether some of you may realize that the “design” of the roads are completely bizarre. Like cars coming down the ramp at the Pandan roundabout. Cars are forced to cut right across from right to left to go 9 o’clock road against the flow of cars coming straight at the bulatan. That’s like “inviting” incidents.

    In fact, many roads being designed require motorists to cut across or weaning extreme right to left which is absurd/. IF these are designed by local consultants, I really wonder where their brains are….maybe located at their butts?

    These consultants are better sent to space to make “teh tarik”.


  9. JC
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 22:52:36

    Dr Hsu
    At first i thought you wrote it wrongly the other way round!! I think everywhere else it would work the right way round ie reward punctuality and punish lateness. In the UK it works the right way round. I guess the point to bring home would be we need the people in charge to have some common sense – sorely lacking perhaps due to education standard, tak apa attitude and a whole lot of other reason. but i would say the malaysian story would take the cake. the story of the chap and his little girl would be similar in all society i guess as we can find just as many such a***hole everywhere else. by the way i think double parking is actually a malaysia phenomenon.


  10. Nick
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 14:28:48

    Dr. Hsu, no need to lose your patience with such ignorant fools. Just throw a stone and smash their windows or better still put some nails underneath their tires :). I feel happy already, just had a really good lunch with durians….


  11. Dr Hsu
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 15:02:27

    Basically, i think this type with big ego is not happy with their lives. They must be very stressed. Just 3 decades ago, you dont find that many of these people around, but nowadays, it is so common to experience what i have experienced. What DG has related, i think all of us have experienced one time or another.

    Maybe I will also go and eat Durians!! 🙂


  12. Chabalang
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 16:31:03

    Good article…relates what I always wanted to write on M’sian manners. Education, culture/society acceptance that resulted in BAD manners. One of my idiotic neighours blocked my gate several times – I snapped at them for having “no common sense” – if you block my right of way, how can my car go out? I feel a lot of people are just LAZY and downright INCONSIDERATE.

    But no point getting angry – it only makes ourselves tired. Just NOT worth it (but it make the offenders more recalcitrant)…only sigh.


  13. disgusted
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 21:11:28

    Chabalang, you are lucky. My neighbor on my left is worse, They clank the car engine most evenings inside the porch and all the shit carbon monoxide enters my house during dinner time. Or spray Shelltox also around dinner time. Red ants from their mango tree migrating into my garden and a couple of times bit me inside my house. I complained and they snapped back asking me to shift. This family is really “kurang ajar”. As if they are so stupid not to know that they are also ruining their own children’s health with the car spewing carbon fumes. One of these days I am going to burn down that mango tree.


  14. klm
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 10:36:53

    disgusted. Just dump a can of Round Up at the roots of that mango tree. It will die piece fully. If you can’t beat them join them.


  15. foo
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 11:42:25

    M’sians need a tough government and leaders like s’pore and LKY.We have many similar laws and rules like S’pore but very poor in enforcement. Also almost all enforcement agencies staffs can be “kautiam”.The corruption culture is too entrenched in M’sia. We need “Order before Law” as said by LKY. What’s the use of too many laws and hardly any enforcement. More laws and rules means our enforcement guys have more opportunities to “cari makan” and not make our society more orderly.

    We were just plain unlucky/lucky in history.What if LKY was our early PM ? .Things would be different. Now we are left to salivate at S’pore success, cleanliness and order.

    With an ever growing population,things will get worse. More and more examples of rudeness and ill-culture will crop up. People who do not deserve to have maids will mistreat them and likewise with pet owners who dump their animals on the streets.Littering and Vandalism is the worse thing i hate, public phones, lifts,bus-stops etc broken,not working or with rubbish and graffiti all over. M’sia is heading to the dumps with ill-manner citizens and the gomen doesn’t give a damn. Another sure sign M’sia going backwards to becoming a 3rd world nation.


  16. Dr Hsu
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 11:54:25

    To have many laws is good for the Big Brother. They can have selective enforcement, and use enforcement as a tool as and when they want it. For example, audit clinic 3 times within 4 months, like what happened to yours truly. But now, even the top fella in Ministry agree that there are simply too many housemen and standard is going down the drain.. So it is worth while for me to speak out. .. 🙂


  17. A true Malaysian
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 12:43:17

    Even before all these happenings, I already fixed up my mind where my vote should goes to, at least hopes are still there.

    ‘They’ are not going to change. NEM = NEP, spending so much paying foreign con-sultants, education getting worse each day,….. the trend is worrying.

    When education is lousy, it can’t produce good citizen, good police, good politician, good leader…..

    Just fixed up your mind not to vote ‘them’. Enough said, enough done. Enough is enough.

    Even this blog is snowing, anyone noticed that? Snowing signifies crying? Only Dr. Hsu knows.


  18. A true Malaysian
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 13:02:12

    By the way, traffic compound is becoming a big revenue for government, if people don’t pay the compound, is a big loss to them. Thus, discount is introduced to speed up payment.

    Trust me, they prefer to have more traffic offenders and not to curb it. That’s big money.


  19. Dr Hsu
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 13:48:46

    The snow is not added by me but rather by wordpress. Maybe it is because it is snowing heavily in Europe and that is why wordpress added this features.


  20. disgusted
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 18:48:25


    What is Round Up?


  21. sammy
    Dec 05, 2010 @ 01:08:40

    Disgusted…you can use the ant powder from China for the ants..used to have them before at my mango tree but after a couple of packets, they either died off or left. Roundup is a weed killer, strong stuff..if you need to use it, mix a small packet of ajinomotor for effectiveness…but the ants may move into yr home..:) Neighbours like these, you can irritate with loud music and home thearte sets..or drum set.


  22. disgusted
    Dec 05, 2010 @ 11:58:06

    Thank you, Sammy. I have spray shelltox, oil the surface but the daily rain washes all these away. Ok, I will get this Round Up, some people advised me to chop some meat with it and let them celebrate Ants Day.

    These ants are smarter than B-ant(N), they can cross two arched gates and make a bee-line to migrate. (Sigh!) Never-Anting-Policy. I sometimes I wonder is this government or country really sucks!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: