Middle Class Malaysia is a pretty confused group. But then, the country is confused anyway.
THE Malaysian middle class, especially those living in Petaling Jaya and Subang – easily the biggest suburbs of middle class residents in the country – prides itself as educated, active in social media, well-read and surely the bastion of democracy, human rights and all things fashionably liberal.
Well, it’s also a pretty confused group. But then, the country is confused anyway.
Point One: We hear the middle class grumbling, whining and complaining about foreign labour – and we do this insensitively in front of our foreign workers, especially the maids!
Aiyoh, how can the government allow so many foreigners to come in one? Why the government cannot be like Singapore where they only let in clever, skilled foreigners? Sorry, expatriates. Not cheap labourers.
In the same breath, the middle class also gets uptight because of the long wait for Indonesian maids! Eh, what’s wrong with the government ah? Cannot even get Indonesian maids. So incompetent one.
Point Two: So, we also hear Middle Class Malaysia agreeing that we must never, never rely on foreign maids. We must be resilient. We will clean up the house ourselves. We will train our kids to be independent. But we tell our kids: Ah Boy ah, why you go and clean the plates? Leave the plates on the table lah. We got a maid what. Let Kak do the cleaning lah. Go, go away from the kitchen. Duh!
Point Three: Middle Class Malaysia is aghast at the seemingly corrupt practices in the country. There is fear that corruption has become entrenched. It’s so sickening. How can the politicians be so corrupt? We must stop corruption. But in the same breath, we tell our kids. Eh, Ah Boy, can you ask your driving instructor whether can pay coffee money to pass the driving test ah? Got package ah? Better settle lah, so no need to sit for many driving tests. It’s costly, you know?
And we say we are against graft.
Point Four: Middle Class Malaysia must be one of the biggest accomplices in intellectual theft. We have zero respect for intellectual property. It’s not even our SOP to educate our children to stop buying pirated movies.
Ah Boy, please do not buy original DVD or CD, okay? Just buy from the pasar malam, you only watch once. Don’t waste money buying original on Amazon, okay? You hear me?
Ma, no need to buy DVD any more lah. Can just download for free one. No need to pay one!
That’s my boy, clever. Please teach Ma how to do, okay?
So, the entire family has become pretty good at this crime. After all, we are the only nation to have pirated DVDs that include a clip at the beginning to warn viewers about buying pirated DVDs!
Point Five: Still on fighting corruption. At every political ceramah, the crowd gets into a frenzy when the speakers expose corruption involving leaders and their wives, or their second or third wives. But we have also become pretty sophisticated in choosing who to condemn despite the mantra, “wrong is wrong and right is right”.
Aiyah, Ah Boy, these politicians only makan a bit only what. All the politicians makanone. They makan more and bigger. So if our favourite politicians makan, it’s okaylah. We must still support them, Ah Boy. Come, come, don’t ask any more. Do your homework. You don’t understand politics.
Point Six: We hate corrupt traffic cops. If anyone stops us, we know the road blocks are probably not sanctioned. It seems to be more frequent when the festivals approach.
We all hate cops who want to “settle” an offence instead of just issuing a summons. And yet many of us are guilty of offering bribes to dirty cops despite our sworn war against corruption.
Ah Boy, you mad ah? You never kau tim (settle in Cantonese) with the policemanah? You think you are very rich ah? You actually ask for a summons? You seow(crazy in Hokkien) ah?
And this is the best part: Middle Class Malaysians will wait and delay paying until the police offers a discount for unpaid summonses! No extra penalty, no compounded interest but a reward – a discount! Only in Malaysia!
Point Seven: Middle Class Malaysia is very particular about what schools their kids go to. It must be the best one. It must have school kids who come from good, well-off families. Cannot afford to have their kids mingling with poor schoolmates. But the problem is not everyone stays in the neighbourhood where the good schools are located. So we instil this value very early in our kids, that we must cheat to get ahead in life!
Ah Boy, don’t worry. Even if we do not stay near the school, we use my friend’s address lah. I also changed my credit card and phone bills already, got proof! Sure, you can get into that school. Don’t tell people, okay?
In short, cheating is okay. Only politicians cannot cheat.
Point Eight: Middle Class Malaysia parents cannot imagine that their kids have been selected for National Service. Horrors of horrors! It’s for other kids! Even if their own kids are excited with the new adventure, their parents cannot imagine their kids being packed off to a camp. What happens if they die eating horrible food? What happens if they get bullied?
OMG, mixing with kids of other races? What happens if they fall in love with someone from another race? And in the same breath, they will tell their kids: Ah Boy ah, why can’t this country be more multiracial? Why must we always talk about race, race and race? I am so sick.
Malaysians don’t sit down and eat together any more. Not like during my time! What? You got selected for National Service? Why are you so sway (bad luck in Hokkien) one? Go and find a way to get out lah. Don’t go!
Point Nine: Middle Class Malaysia gets very angry at the increasing price of sugar and cannot imagine how rice is traded in this country. But they get really mad when their teh tarik is still so sweet despite asking for kurang manis! What’s wrong with this mamak fella? Want me to die ah, with so much sugar?
And then we continue the whining with the government increasing the price of sugar.
Rice? Don’t eat rice lah. Better stop eating. Too much carbo. You want to get diabetes? Better stop eating rice if you want to stay slim. Take my advice, don’t be so stubborn. Stop nasi lemak, stop nasi kandar, stop chicken rice. Hear me.
And in the same breath, we complain about the price of rice, which we all think should be cheaper. Ah Boy, I tell you, I don’t know what’s wrong with this government. Why is the price of rice so expensive? If we don’t eat rice, what do we eat?
Boy, you hear me or not? Going out again at this time? Don’t eat rice at the mamakshop okay? Rice is no good for you. Just eat chapatti, okay?
Point Ten: And finally ... there are still some good things to say about Middle Class Malaysia, and most Malaysians for that matter. We are super polite people. Most of us don’t call people names unless you are a politician or intellectually weak and unable to argue in a debate, especially on social media.
We also don’t call each other by name because we simply do not address people by name. We never call each other Mr or Miss or Madam. Everyone older than us is automatically an uncle or aunty, even though we are not related.
For some strange reasons, we call many people Boss! Hello, Boss, can get me a burger ah? Sure, Boss, satu burger special!
Or everyone is a brother. Eh, Brother, bagi satu kopi. No problem, Brudder!
We all seem to be so family. I love Middle Class Malaysia! This is home! This is the Land of the Confused!
WONG CHUN WAI The STAR On the Beat Home News Opinion 16/02/2014