Behave or The Indian Man Will Come And Get You!

malaysian people

Yesterday morning I took a drive to SS2 Petaling Jaya looking for a new lepak place considering I will be moving there in a couple of weeks. Pusing punya pusing, I couldn’t find any nice outdoor mamak place where I could carry out my favourite past time of people-watching. So I settled for an indoor nasi kandar joint.

I took a moment to observe what others were eating and decided not to have the common roti canai everyone seemed so fond of. I ordered ‘tose bawang tak mau ghee tapi kasi crunchy’. Clearly the anneh had no idea what I wanted and brought me a soggy, pale looking tose with diced onions as decoration.

Anyway, as I reluctantly stuffed my pie hole with the un-tasty tose while browsing through articles in the papers on how the government was screwing the people, I overheard a lady at the next table scolding her little girl for not finishing her food.

“If you don’t finish it, the Indian man will come and get you!”

I started chuckling, finding the lady’s statement quite humorous. However, an Indian couple sitting nearby had a grumpy look on their faces as they turned to look at the mother and daughter wrangle. Upon noticing the big smile on my face, they frowned.

I guess being Indian and all, perhaps they found the statement pretty offensive. But hey, I am Indian too!

The incident brought back old memories. You see, when I was growing up, my mom did the same thing to me. Every time I misbehaved, she would warn me:

“Behave yourself or a Chinese man will come and sell you off!”

Anyhow, I shared the story with a few close friends of mine. Some of them could relate to it – like me, they too experienced such threats growing up. Yet others thought it derogatory and that the mother in that mamak shop was raising a future racist.

Funny how easily we get offended for all the wrong reasons in Malaysia.

While it’s true our moms could have used bogeyman or hantu jerangkung whilst disciplining us kids instead of ‘Chinese man’ and ‘Indian man’ but hey, I don’t think they meant it in a bad, degrading way. They just wanted their kids to behave.

The thing is, anything can be offensive. And everyone is offended by something. But it is up to us to choose what we want to get offended about.

In fact, if we want to get over-sensitive about something, there are plenty of things around us which we can get offended about.

We can get offended with the Parliament Speaker who rejected the motion to debate the Tabung Haji TRX purchase from 1MDB but made a big deal about not having a jamban in his office.

We can get offended with our Prime Minister who wants the government to focus on recovery plans to save 1MDB instead of running the country efficiently.

We can get offended with PAS who seem to be breaking away from the opposition coalition despite promising the rakyat to play a key role in changing the government.

With so many things to get offended about, why do we keep getting over-sensitive about cheesy little things?

Come on Malaysia, grow up!

Get your priorities straight before the Chinese apek, Indian anneh or Malay ustaz all come and get you!


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