“Not my problem!”

This morning I was very upset to see a young mother throwing trash (some small pieces of papers) our of her car window while her husband was driving.

What makes it even more shocking is that such a nice lady would do such a shameful act. Even more shocking is that it happened merely 2 seconds after the car left their rented house.

It made me curious about what kind of person would do such a shocking thing. After catching up with the car, I recognized the driver as one of the post graduate students from Pakistan currently studying at the university where I work.

I don’t really know how the people in Pakistan behaves, but I would think that they’d think twice about doing a similar thing if they were in Singapore or in the US or Europe.

Let us not worry about whether they are foreigners or Malaysians.

I have seen many instances where Malaysians just simply jettisoned their trash out of a moving vehicle. Men and women are the same in this aspect.

This one instance a couple of months ago, I saw a very nice family traveling along the North South Expressway in their luxury multi-purpose vehicle.

As the father was driving, the mother slowly rolls down the automatic window and mindlessly discarded some plastic wrappers out of the vehicle. The plastic wrapper haphazardly flew into the air and fell on the road shoulder.

This incident was apparently observed by the young children in the MPV’s back seat. What kind of lesson are they teaching their children? What are WE teaching our children?

I’ve lived in many different countries during my student years including in the USA, in Japan and in Australia. I would not even think about discarding my trash in public spaces except in designated trash cans.

My experience taught me that kind of responsibility or self-control. I would feel ashamed of myself if I were to do that. I teach my wife the same. I hope my young child, currently about 1 year and 8 months, would learn from my example to be mindful of his acts.

The way I see it, people’s behavior is directly associated with their upbringing. People in the third world countries tend to think only of themselves and their own private properties.

That is why the people of the third-world mentality do not care about the things outside of their fences. In fact, they would not hesitate to pick up a piece of garbage from their yard (or from inside of their vehicle)  and throw outside of the fence (outside of the vehicle).

Malaysian’s mentality is obviously that of the third world. And we dare think we can be a developed country in 2020?

People in the first world think more of the world around them. I don’t see Americans throw rubbish out of their moving vehicles. Not Australians either. Most of their homes are not fenced, so obviously they cannot throw rubbish out of their yard. There is no such thing.

The Japanese homes are fenced, but still the areas outside of the fence are very well-cared for. Not even a piece of garbage can be found.

I have seen many times at the Japanese university where I studied, the employees collected trash as they walked in the morning to their office in the university compound.

I was surprised at first. It was more surprising because the guy was wearing a suit. After seeing it many times, I realize that it is in their nature to be caring about the public places.

People do that because they care about their surroundings. Everyone does their bits to make the place cleaner and better as a whole.

In Malaysia (a third world country??), what happens outside of my fence is “not my problem”. Instead of doing our bits to make our surrounding a better place, we expect others (i.e. the city council) to do the job for us.

Labor is still cheap in Malaysia, so we might still afford to allocate so much money to pay for such services. But until when? We need to instill these responsibilities in the young generation so they can teach their children.

What happens in my house is my problem. What happens outside of my house is also my responsibility.

It takes one man to change the world. Let that be you. If all of us do our part, the world we live in would be a better place. My neighborhood would be a better place. Malaysia would be a better country to live in.

Let us do our bits.


One Comment to ““Not my problem!””

  1. Thank you for writing on this topic. I share the same view with you. It is cool not to litter! I would never do it!

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