when i was young, i don’t really quite recall if my parents taught me to always say sorry, thank you or excuse me as part of my manners. but i’m sure they did, cuz i always make sure i say it when i grow up. but i remember it vividly that i get accustomed to saying those words when i was in the US. americans are very expressive and always ensure that they say them as part of their manners. they teach kids to say it from they were young, and it’s just part of their lifestyle.
manners. this should be what separate us from animals, if not how our brain functions. but it’s the one thing that does not reflect in the asian culture. they say, asians are very polite. for me, that means they should know their manners, right? unfortunately, i was disappointed to know that in almost every asian countries i know, it’s not a custom to say thank you, sorry or even excuse me.
when i came back to jakarta, i was surprised to realize that people don’t even say thank you when we hold the door for them. heck, they don’t even hold the door for anyone. i guess, what do you expect when the manners on the streets is to go ahead everyone at all costs.
so when i came to singapore, i thought.. hey, it may be a bit different. turns out, it’s even worse. they don’t even say thank you, sorry, or even excuse me. if someone is walking so painfully slow in front of them, instead of yelling excuse me, they would try to go around in a way that they made sure that those people know he’s annoyed. how hard is it to say “excuse me?” so those slow people can give their way? too hard, i guess. instead, the most they’d do is to yell.. “hellooo??”
well, that’s even worst, cuz yelling “hello” is like calling them stupid. and when someone would actually yell “excuse me” those slow people would actually feel annoyed like they’re doing something wrong. weird, no?
yesterday, there was a discussion on the radio on how singaporeans don’t have a habit to say thank you. the radio show called the married men in 91.3FM, is comprised of 2 guys and 1 girl. during their discussion, the guys agree that singaporean, mostly women, just don’t say thank you. the girl, of course, refused to accept that. on the other hand, me, the listener, totally agree with it. singaporeans in general just don’t say thank you, and worse, the women seems to think that they DON’T NEED to say thank you when a guy holds the door for them. as if, it’s the guy’s job to do that anyway.
that’s why now the singaporean govt, through a campaign, asks singaporean to be more polite by getting themselves a bit of saying thank you, sorry or excuse me. funny no? funny that they actually have a campaign on it.
on the other hand, i find that many parents are teaching their kids to make sure that they know these words and have good manners. but they forget, kids learn from mirroring their parents. so no matter how hard they tried to teach their kids to have good manner and saying those words, if the parents never even say it, they lost the battle already.
i learn that you teach kids by doing things and show them that that’s the right way. no other better tools of teaching than through action.
thank you for reading my blabbering thoughts!
*pic from sociableboost.com