Malaysians Are Rude, ‘Ruder’ and ‘Rudest’

July 6, 2006 by

Malaysians Are Rude, ‘Ruder’ and ‘Rudest’

This made it into my Malaysia Boleh category, a showcase of uniquely Malaysian traits and unspoken realities.

Malaysia is ranked third least courteous country in the world, according to Reader’s Digest. Yes… I know I’m not the first to report this (thanks for the info Sheila) but I’m a “reporter” type of blogger anyways. I’m more towards voicing my opinions on issues I feel strongly about :)

Reader's Digest Courtesy Scores

Malaysians are rude. I wonder why it took people so long to realize that but the truth is now out. Of course we can’t beat Mumbai, the rudest country in the world. I know – I worked for a year with people from that region when I was an exec in Telekom Malaysia. Those guys deserve the undisputed number one spot.

Thailand being on that list though, suprised me. From my experience they are 10 times more courteous and friendly than Malaysians in general. Or maybe it’s just because you’re a tourist with cash?

Here are some quotes from Readers Digest:

The region that most lacked courtesy: Asia. Eight out of nine cities in the region finished in the bottom 11.

…in Mumbai, they’ll step over a person who has fallen in the street.

In my eperience, people from Mumbai only treat you with courtesy if they think you’re “on par” with them socially.

… “It’s a quiet day. I’m in no mood to be courteous” – A young cashier in Kuala Lumpur has no interest in being helpful.

Nothing new. How many cashiers in Giant / Tesco / The Store / Carrefour even smile at all? Obviously they don’t think it’s part of their job.

Malaysians in General >>

Others may have different views, but here’s what I’ve observed in 26 years dealing with Malaysians (not to be confused with Singaporeans who look alike but are much worse in courtesy):

  • If you drive a BMW / Merc then you’ll get more courtesy
  • Related to cars, we are at our worst on the roads. I myself am a total jerk on the road :)
  • People in rural areas tend to be more courteous than urbanites (especially in Penang or KL)
  • People tend to be afraid of showing / receiving courtesy from strangers, probably because we were told as kids that strangers are bad news.
  • Everyone parks in the spots allocated for the disabled. Why waste a good parking spot?
  • People pretend to be busy or asleep when a pregnant woman is standing in front of them in an LRT. Why give up your seat, eh? There’s exceptions of course.
  • Some of the pregnant women when actually offered a seat fail to even smile or say thanks..
  • They don’t have time for courtesy since they only have 24 hours a day and most outlets in Mid-Valley closes at 10. Besides you’re not paying them to be courteous, so why bother?
  • They like to flash their headlights without reason and speed on the highways but don’t pay the tickets (wait… this sounds more like Singaporeans)

Taking It Deeper >>

Chinese A: In my experience (sorry to say this) the Chinese-educated group tend to be the least courteous. I mean those who studied in private or semi-private Chinese schools. Because they only grew up with other Chinese-dialect-speaking friends, they also tend to mix less with the other races.

They basically live in their own world here in Malaysia, and perhaps if you speak Chinese dialects then you’d get a friendlier response. I speak Mandarin, and trust me it makes a world of a difference when dealing with people from this group.

I have opened a few doors, picked-up stuff they dropped and even helped with directions. I hardly got a “Thank You”. How do I know they belong to this group instead of the one below? Well, after 26 years in Malaysia most of the time you can tell…

Chinese B: The other group of Chinese (those who were schooled in Kebangsaan / International institutions) are a whole different story. They tend to have a better mix of friends, and they understand other cultures better. Although they are not super-friendly they do communicate better when spoken to and in my experience, just as courteous as any other Malaysian. Some of my best friends belong to this group…

Indian: Then comes the Indian group who can be rather snobbish. Don’t worry – they are only snobbish to other Indians :)

The most irritating this about this group is that they like to stare (at other Indians only I guess) and don’t seem to realize that it’s impolite. Most of them speak good English and Bahasa Malaysia and when spoken to they are more likely to acknowledge.

For example if you just purchased something from them (at their store) they are more likely to say “Thank You” as compared to the first Chinese group. As a customer they are also more likely to say “You’re Welcome”.

Malays: The friendliest race in Malaysia, in my humble opinion, are the Malays. I think it’s in their nature to be polite and show courtesy. You’re guaranteed to get at least a smile when you speak to them, or say “Thank You”. They are also the most approachable among everyone else.

My 3 Scenarios >>

Scenario 1: If I was in a car accident, and there were a Chinese guy, an Indian and a Malay guy standing across the street, who will I approach?

My answer: The Malay chap, if he hasn’t already rushed to help.

Senario 2: If I am lost and I (finally) decide to ask for directions, who will I approach?

My answer: The Malay chap again. He’s most likely to help. The Indian guy would too, but generally Indians tend to exaggerate when giving directions :) – everything is “just 5 minutes away” according to them.

Scenario 3: If both my hands are full, and I need to open the door to 7-11. Who will help me?

My answer: I’ll have to kick the door open because I don’t remember being so fortunate as to have someone help me open it. Might be different if you’re a woman :)

As a member of the least courteous country in the world, I would like to say “Thank you for visiting my blog.”

Now get back to work you lazy bum :)

(Just kidding)

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