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Bad habit and misguided notion of ‘being nice’

CC Pung’s dose of philosophical musings.
The writer is a Sabah Justice of Peace and Tokoh Wartawan Sabah and Labuan.

What’s  Third World?

I don’t know. But I do know I’m in its midst while trying to have my coffee earlier.

A columnist in the Daily Express newspaper writes about ‘Know the pitfalls and perks of credit cards’.

I thought credit cards are obsolete.

As a young man who foolishly equated a bulging wallet full of the plastics as a symbol of prestige, I have but a single card with no annual fee.

Hasn’t the world moved on and away with living on credit?

Aren’t all credit card companies losing customers?

Or am I the one who’s been living under a rock?

At a country club where I used to play golf, I checked out  the pastries on display, waved a waitress over about my choice.

Shockingly, she picked one up and proceeded towards my table.

I told her I’d like a saucer with it.

She obliged, and came back with one, but no spoon nor fork to eat with.

She came back with what I thought should have been mandatory, after all my club’s officials like to proclaim that ours is a ‘premier’ establishment.

But having been a member 26+ years, I always felt it is anything but….

Just as I began to settle down to my coffee and, gladly, a fork for my pastry, a young man in workman’s gear rolled by with his trolly.

The squeaky wheels created a commotion-like atmosphere that’s just irritating.

And, just as soon as I thought he’s gone away, worse noise came as he rolled by now with a load of large water bottles.

I told myself that, no, non-third world isn’t some intellectual discourse about something sophisticated, elitist or snobbery, a lot of times it is simply good sense, common decency, simple manners.

In an office where I used to do some work, every two months the contractor who supplied our indoor plants would come by and caused hell.

With a few large pots on his rusty trolly, his worker will squeak and screech his way from the entrance through the entire length of the office, and back.

And it seemed like I was the only one complaining.

This got me thinking that ‘3rd World’ is a bad habit, and our misguided notion of ‘being nice’. 

There’s no shortage of 3rd World behaviours in societies or cities which have supposedly emerged from the universal notion of all manners and silly behaviours.

I remember being raised to be nice.

  But I can’t remember being taught that bad manners and being oblivious of our surrounding is smart.

What about the guy in a fully automated elevator who pushes the ‘door close- button repeatedly thinking he could make the door close faster, or the entire elevator.

Editor: The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the talantang.com

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