The “Tidak Apa” Syndrome

To those who are not familiar with this expression, “tidak apa” may mean many things but for me it is loosely translated as “don’t care attitude”. Instead of saying that it is something unique to this country, I would rather say that it is the sick curse in this country. Some people are simply don’t care on their services, the work they do, the quality of products that they produce and on the impact of their shoddy work and attitude on others.

Let’s focus on the quality of goods – the reason for this post this week.

Quality of goods that we have in this country, generally is acceptable provided we are willing to pay the high price for it. There are several occasions when I had bought certain things, it had turned to be poorly made item. Quality control still lacking – either the manufacturer does not have the right quality control processes in place (are they that ignorant?) or they don’t take the trouble to pay that extra money or effort to produce high quality products. You go to any car workshop and when asked for the quality parts, they will usually quote parts from Japan (and sometimes from the US or Germany) but rarely from Malaysia. Parts from Malaysia is usually for those who want to buy things cheap and willing to compromise on quality, so they say and often there is some truth to it. This is the general state of the impression on Malaysian made goods and its quality although in recent years, quite number of manufacturers (such as Proton with their Preve’ model) and distributors have buck up on the level of quality considerably.

Here’s my case at hand:-

1

(Exhibit No 1 – Nano water filter that is made in or with Korean technology and conforms to international standards and member of a number of water quality associations as displayed on the box. Look at the condition of the sealant at the bottom and it is well made)

2

(Exhibit No 2 – the same nano water filter but distributed by a local company with no information as to where it is made and whether it conforms to any standards and it is not hard to see why. Look at the condition of the filter and you may wonder why this has not been rectified before it is sold to the public – lack of quality is too obvious)

I buy water filters for my portable water filters and I usually buy in a bigger numbers as I usually change the filters on a regular basis. Stocking up water filters is also part of my prepping strategy. The first image at the top is what I expect a good water filter should look like and the second image is a water filter distributed by a local distributor. You can see difference in quality immediately and since lately the hypermarket that I usually go to had stocked up only the locally distributed water filters and stop selling the one I usually buy (I seriously do not know why), for that instance I had no choice but use the local distributor’s filter despite the obvious lack of quality and being sold for the same price as the better quality made ones. At the end, it does not really do the job (and is a health hazard) no thanks to the shoddy quality of the sealant and I replaced it within the same day (and dispose off the water filtered). Money and time wasted – so I made my case with the place where I bought the filters and I was assured that the matter would be brought to the attention of the manufacturer. Whether things will change or not, I am not sure but I would not be buying any items from the same distributor until I see a real improvement of quality. But if this “tidak apa” attitude continues, rest assured that locally made products will be looked with grave suspicion.

And that is not the end of “tidak apa” attitude that I recently encountered.  One good place to see the “tidak apa” attitude at work on a regular basis is on Malaysian roads. It does not take long to see idiots changing lanes without indicating and jumping queues without any care of the rest of the motorists patiently waiting in line for their turn. And there is the mother of “tidak apa” attitude when you see a motorcyclist – not the one riding 250cc and above bikes but rather those 100cc – 150 cc puny bikes. A sudden change of lane, riding without any helmets (or license) and against the traffic by these bikers is nothing new and I have written a number of posts on this.

Just a couple days ago, I saw a black Audi driver (plate number WJJ ****) on the fast lane of the highway just after Seremban and was blocking an ambulance on its path. The weather was bad and despite the ambulance blaring siren and strobe lights (a clear cut sign of emergency), the idiot behind the wheels of the black Audi simply drove on the same lane as if he owed the road. Breaking the law and endangering the patient in the ambulance seemed to be last thing in the Audi driver’s mind. I just hope that one day when his loved ones (or himself) is in the ambulance, he will know how precious time is and the need for the ambulance to have its way without an idiot with a “tidak apa” attitude blocking its way.

Then the next day when we went to one of the fast food restaurant (which should have a better customer service than this), we were rudely reminded that despite that the restaurant is part of a global franchise and carries a well known brand, it is at the end of the day is manned by Malaysians with the usual “tidak apa” attitude. We went on a “working day” and before the normal lunch time so naturally the restaurant was not full but we had to wait for our tables to be cleared (it was only cleared when we came over). We ordered our food and we managed to get most of it but not the forks and spoons. We had to call one of the staff twice to remind on this and only then we got the utensils (whilst our food was getting cold). We did not get all of the food that we ordered so once again we need to remind the staff. Then I guessed that the staff do not understand English – which explains the blur look when I asked for the forks and spoons. And we were not the only one faced this problem. When I went to counter to pay, one of the customer was complaining very loudly and remarked that she had not seen service this bad in such restaurant. Instead of apologizing or assuring the customer that they will look into the quality of service, the lady behind the counter (the manager seems to be missing despite the loud voice of the customer) kept quiet and maintain her “tidak apa” look, making customer (and me) irritated even more.

The same “tidak apa” attitude is probably what causes the blatant waste of public funds as reported in the AG’s report on almost yearly basis. No one seemed to care that the money that they waste does not even belongs to them and the fact that they are expected to be responsible for the expenditures does not move them for the better. To make things even worse, the Government maintains the same “tidak apa” gesture towards the wrongdoers – remember the Home Minister supporting the lost at sea comment? By not whacking the wrongdoers, they actually condones the waste of public funds and corrupt way of doing business.

And speaking about the ‘tidak apa” attitude at Government level, it’s high time we relook into the “dump the dumb politicians” call. The next general election may be years away but it does not mean that we can close one eye (and ears) whenever an idiot takes the center stage and makes a fool of this nation & its people (never mind if he makes a fool of himself outside his official stature). After all, if a politician can come out and say that the recent increase of the price of sugar due to *cough* motherly concern on the people’s health and sex drive and not because failure to control expenses or because some one had screwed up the sugar import deal, something is not right (even for a die hard pejuang bangsa dan agama). But that is fine in a way – we don’t expect politicians to change their skin overnight (maybe except when elections are around the corner when they turn Santa Claus left right and center) and in Malaysia in particular, expecting them to be charged & punished for wrongdoings but we cannot continue with our own “tidak apa” attitude too. For start, for those who have not register yourself to vote (and probably don’t care which clown runs the country), try do something about it – go and register yourself to vote and then exercise the right to vote someone more credible. The country belongs to all and each one of us have a great responsibility one way or another in making sure it does not goes down the drain.

Think about it for a second…

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