August 19, 2016

Are We Really Polite ?

Are we really polite as some claimed? Frankly I don’t think so. May be that statement could be true many decades ago, when we were young. Nowadays if you happen to go about in your neighbourhood, and if you happen to live in an overcrowded place like mine, you are bound to hear some people abusing at the top of their voices, using all sorts of foul languages you had ever heard. You can also hear the youths of today talking to one another in the filthiest languages. Go to a soccer match and you will find out the mannerisms of our people. Such behaviors do not stop there, they continued to the teashops, where they lure the customers with foreign soccer match live shows.
A few months back, I sold off my car. Not because I need money or I cannot drive anymore due to my old age, but because I cannot tolerate the traffic jams and the undisciplined, rude and reckless drivers without any driving etiquette out there on the roads, these days. Those disciplined, polite and cautious drivers who are well familiar with driving etiquettes would agree with me. By the word rude, I meant not only by not observing the driving etiquettes, but they are verbally abusive too. In this article, I chose to sound pessimistic. I am usually not a pessimist by nature, but the prevailing situations must have turned me into one.
When I bought my first and ever car in 1994, there were not many cars on the roads and naturally no traffic jams at all. You didn’t need to give allowance for the driving time to reach your destinations, unlike today. As everybody is in a rush today, its no wonder the traffic rules and etiquettes are ignored. Some undisciplined drivers do not observe the right of ways. They will thrust their cars, headfirst, in front of the car which has the right of way, blocking its movement. This is one of the causes of unnecessary congestions, that can be avoided if every driver observes the traffic rules.
Once, I was in such a situation while stuck in the traffic jam. A high-end model car driven by a middle aged man decently dressed in expansive looking dresses, cut in to the front of my car. He was coming out of a side road and I was on the main road. So, who had the right of way ? I couldn’t tolerate such insolence, so I told him that he shouldn’t drive like that. He retorted rudely. He said “ Go and tell in the countryside”, a very rude and low down expression people these days readily used.
By his bad manners I judged him to be a nouveau riche, so I chose not to have a quarrel with him and remained silent. However, when the cars in front started to move and as an opportunity arose, I cut across him to get back my rightful place. I know I shouldn’t have done that, because that was a very dangerous move in such a crowded situation, but I wanted to let him know how it felt to be cut in.
Another frustrating thing is not using the indicator lights when turning or going straight ahead at road junctions or to indicate the intention to park. I’ll not be burdening the readers with details of all the different ways of disregards for traffic regulations and bad driving habits. However, the worst are the inconsiderate and unnecessary use of horns. Some drivers, especially the drivers of school ferries, as they are always in a hurry to be in time for schools, use the horns inconsiderably and unnecessarily. They used it as a medium to express their anger or displeasure to the cars blocking their way. Sometimes there was a standstill and nobody wanted to give way to others, entirely closing down the road even for those on foot inside our block, where no sidewalk exits. At such times the sounds of the horns were unbearable. In the West and even in most countries in our region, the drivers rarely use the horns unless it was unavoidably necessary to avert accidents. Unnecessary honking is deemed as cursing or abusing in many civilized countries.
After selling my car, I traveled around the city occasionally by taxi or passenger buses. When taking a bus, one will definitely realize how rude our people can be. Those who have never ridden those buses or don’t need to use them, may not have seen the ugly sides of our peoples’ natures. I don’t blame them for their ignorance of this matter, because I, myself, knew it only when I started using buses. Here, I will cite a few of my experiences, where I was rudely insulted by a conductor or spare.
One time, while taking a bus, I requested the conductor to tell the driver to keep the bus stopped a little bit longer while I get off, as my knees are not good and I have difficulty stepping down. He listened to what I said, but didn’t respond. I thought he didn’t understand me, so I repeated my words. This time he responded arrogantly, saying that it will be done when the time comes, adding, “Are you satisfied?”. I was very embarrassed to get such a tongue lashing from the conductor who looked much younger than my son. However, I remained silent not wanting to create a scene as I knew the mentality of such individuals.
The worst insult I received from that young conductor was when the time came for me to get off. I noticed I was the only one to get off at that stop, so I walked, with difficulty to the exit, while the bus was still moving at high speed, to be able to get off as quickly as possible, lest the driver take off impatiently. At the exit I reminded the conductor, as I had not heard him tell the driver as requested. Can anyone imagine what he shouted out to the driver: “One youth from the Japanese era is getting off”. It may be their code word for “the old man”. Please note, I din’t use the word “senior citizen”, as we are not recognized as such in our country.
In another instance, which a contemporary of mine told me, was even more insulting. His story and mine were almost the same, so I will skip the details and mention only the end part. When he was standing at the exit to get off quickly, lest he would be pushed down or scolded by the conductor if he was slow in getting off, he heard the conductor shouting to the driver that one pregnant lady will get off. At first, as he was taking care not to fall off the bus, he didn’t realize the remarks were meant for him. However, only when he was safely on the ground, he noticed, there was no pregnant lady among those who just got off the bus.
Before going on any further, I would like to share one of their popular jargons with those fortunate ones, who do not have to rely on the buses to get around like us. That is, when a bus from the same or a different line as theirs’ took-over them, the conductors would prod on his driver to “ Chase and fight”. I presume this jargon is exclusive to our country and exists no where else in the world.
There are many more instances of such impolite and insulting behaviours, not only among the people in the bus service, but also in many other services and private places. I can go on listing, without end, all the different misbehaviors and rudeness of our people who are supposed to be very polite, but I am convinced the above examples suffice my outlooks. Some may say that those sort of people are only a few in number and I was being too pessimistic. They may be right and I don’t mean to contradict anyone, but a saying goes thus: “One rotten fish spoils the whole boatload”  Because of such persons, we should not pride ourselves of being polite. In my opinion, one rude person is more noticeable or visible than many polite ones, because the rude persons are mostly extroverts and polite persons tend to be introverts. We need to change the attitudes, manners, mentalities, and above all, the mind sets.


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