Monday, 25 June 2012

Malaysians Can't Read

To all Malaysians who feel offended by the title, please forgive me, if you do. Because this is a generalization term to show that most Malaysians people, be it the grown up or the young ones, male or female, or even of different races, has an innate ability to defy the rules, even when it is clearly stated, right in front of them.

Why do I say so? This is because Malaysians tend to do the opposite of what a clearly obstructed law or rule have been enforced upon. An example for which I will give is a simple exemplary behavior of this assumption.

I worked at a convenience store. However, the convenience here is loosely used because it does not only that it is convenient because they can buy necessary items which suddenly have a definitive needs for that period of time, let's say, foods and drinks (for passerby, or even the office workers who worked in the building next to the shop), or even photocopying needs (for all of the dispatch boys, or customers of the nearby bank who needed to photocopy documents of importance, relevance to the banking system requirement), and quite a few more. While this IS, what it is, a CONVENIENCE store, they tend to forget that they do not own it. Once particular example is the magazine and newspaper rack in the store.

While the picture may seem somewhat a tad bit harmless or even nothing special to it, but what I am trying to prove here is that woman, had been standing over the same spot for more than FIVE minutes, holding that magazine. You might say that she was just skimming through it to see whether it is noteworthy to spend her cash on it, or it might just go to waste. But she wasn't. She was, as matter of fact, was leisurely reading the contents as if she had already bought the book, flipping the pages vigorously (which might causes the pages to crumpled or folded), and using her saliva to flip the pages of the book which seemed to stick together.

Isn't that just wrong? And what is worse that after reading the book, she throws it back onto the rack, ignoring the fact that she had damaged the book of its exclusivity and for the next person who will eventually purchase it. I would have been a bad storekeeper if I would just let these kinds of staging to become a repertoire. And so I had place some stickers which says,


and crossed my fingers that they would get it and stop repeating that kind of ignorance from recurring once more. But apparently, these Malaysians are much more of a thick-headed buffoons than I had anticipated. Because they are too dumb enough to READ and UNDERSTAND that phrase at all. 

This picture shows another woman, sluggishly relaxing herself by the rack to read the magazine. Hello, is it that hard to understand that simple phrase? Yes, it may seem crude to expect a customer to just buy a magazine without reading what would the content would be like, right? But that is where linguist would recommend a technique called 'skimming'. Skimming is the act of reading something at a faster rate, omitting things which isn't of importance. And in this case, if you're considering of whether to purchase the magazine or not, just simply skimmed the pages, check out a few pictures, skip the ads, and make a quick decision of whether you would enjoy it if you purchase it or not. As simple as that.

For my next and also my last point for this debacle, I would like to point out the fact that this kind of ignorance is not only observable from the younger generations, or those who are less fortunate to spend cash on these magazines, but through all generations. Doesn't matter if it is a restaurant waiter or a cook, a cashier at a store, a clerk in a bank, or a blue collar worker in the government office, you can see these level of ignorance everywhere around. Isn't it a shameful thing to do for a government or law enforcer labor to do things which are, by state of law and legality, can be considered as disobeying the law? In this context, the law was the stickers with "DILARANG MEMBACA" written on it.

But alas, humans are ignorant to begin with. Why bother changing something that we could never understand of the origins of its misdemeanor. I wouldn't know if you could find this anywhere else, but Malaysians really do can't read (not literally, but metaphorically) as because even a simple rule such as 'no reading allowed' can't be followed, what makes you think they can follow the rest? And one of the most common rule that you can find people blatantly disobey is the 'no smoking' poster.

So, what do you think? Maybe these three picture above is not an example of Malaysian crude behavior of disobeying the laws, but in general, this is what most situations would look like. Do you agree that Malaysians have this sick behavior of not following the signage when it is clearly shove to our faces, or we have a reading disability which hinders us from exactly obeying the rules?

tidak boleh membaca
tanpa bayaran.
Susah sangat ker nak faham?
Harap belajar sahaja tinggi-tinggi
tapi bahasa melayu asas pun tidak faham.


  1. Honestly, I'd do the same as those people in your photographs. It's not because I can't read but it's because I know I can do this and get away with it.
    Yes, the "Dilarang" signs are there. However, they usually are not enforced with consequences which essentially gives me no reason to not do read/smoke/etc. However, if you came over and told me off personally, then that changes things and would give me a reason to not cross the line anymore.
    Alternatively though, you can always wrap the books in plastic. It discourages reading but it depends on whether you want to make the extra effort or not.

    1. If I were to come over to you and say, please don't read the books without paying, what would you say?
      In an alternate reality, you (as the customer) would say that I'm a nosy storekeeper and 'kecoh punya' person. Right?
      That's why I can only question and wonder about this matter.

      Some publication companies sends up their magazines wrapped in plastics, and that's a good thing. but for most of them, wrapping it up in plastic is a waste of both time and money....

      And truth be told, I am not going to be hypocrite and say that I don't do the things from the above because I DO! Especially the no-smoking zones ones. Hahahaha!!!

  2. It's fine! And if you're polite, even better. I would respect that teguran because you *are* the shop keeper. That means you have 1) the authority over how the shop is run and also 2) the authority to kick me out if I prove to be unpleasant. But I'm not some Chinese/Malay/Indian thug so I wouldn't kick up a fuss if you told me to stop reading.


Thanks for dropping by. Do you have something to ponder too? Why don't you drop me a message and let me see what I think about it....