There was a story in The Star last Wednesday that said local educators believed a greater focus on basic etiquette was needed to deal with the increasingly self-absorbed attitude of the younger generation.
The story was, of course, a response to the Reader’s Digest list of Least Courteous Cities, which named Kuala Lumpur as the third rudest city in the world.
Psychologist and lecturer Dr Adnan Omar said Malaysians’ bad manners can be attributed to society’s over-prioritising productivity and lack of emphasis on social norms, causing people to become increasingly selfish.
While it seemed slightly unfair to us that the “younger generation” was singled out, we decided it would be best for the young people themselves to speak for themselves, and what they think about the manners of their generation.
Funnily enough, most of the people who responded believed it was the younger kids, those below 12, who are starting to forget their manners – if they had any in the first place.
One of the respondents, @suettyng, tweeted: “some young children these days are really rude. They yell and talk back at the parents as if it’s perfectly okay to do so.”
Another Twitterer, @iarrod, said: “a girl TOLD me to buy her a doll (cute but where did she learn 2 tell ppl wat to do?) #RAGEchat #badparenting”
@DrippinInsanity added: “I was once queing up at a McD counter to get my ice cream when two kids about 6-7 y/o cut my line! Their mum didnt care at all.”
Many others had similar complaints about how Malaysians, young and old, were all lacking basic etiquette.
@syafique tweeted: “Young People? Sometimes older ppl hv bad #Etiquette too! Make it a point to learn and PRACTISE it!! Sad to live in a society where NOT saying ‘Thank You’ is a common practise, like a ‘norm’ 🙁 #Etiquette”
“I usually end up holding the door, whoosh a line forms to get in and I’m stuck there for the next couple minutes,” said @yanyinlim.
However, in the aforementioned news story, teacher trainer Nga Johnson also made it clear that parents are the ones who have the biggest role to play in teaching their children about manners and etiquette.
“Many parents today are too indulgent with their children,” said Nga. “If parents don’t instil these values in their children, who will? We should not shy away from gently correcting someone younger if they are seen or heard being impolite.”
So we decided to ask our Tweeples – is it the parents’ fault? @mienalieas, for one, agrees.
“Young people ‘do & don’t do’ what their parents ‘do & don’t’.. they just resemble their parents.. #Etiquette #RAGEchat,” he tweeted.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where the problem started from, as long as we all take the initiative to be more polite, as @nghuixin tweeted: “Smile, make eye contact, show respect, say pls and thx u. Acknowledge ppl by sayin hi. Simple things make a lot of difference.”