Courtesy going out the window

(Stock image for illustration purposes) Children learn noble values through observation and imitation. FILE PIC

AS the country develops and our society becomes more affluent, courtesy, noble values and ethics take a back seat.

The family institution could be the first victim of economic progress, with children not getting attention and guidance from busy parents, leading to social ills, delinquency, drug abuse and crime among youth.

Unless we boost our social capital, no amount of economic development can strengthen our social fabric. Malaysia needs to balance rapid economic growth with moral, ethical and societal values.

Judging from the behaviour and attitude of a large number of Malaysians, I have reservations about the effectiveness of the national campaign to promote courtesy.

The negative behaviour syndrome — reflected in problems like road bullying, violating traffic rules and being disrespectful to the elderly — has shown that we are far from being courteous.

I observe that courtesy, politeness, patience, humility, tolerance and respect have yet to become our way of life.

A lot remains to be done to inculcate these virtues in Malay-sians, particularly the younger generation.

It is not unusual to see drivers obstructing yellow boxes and parking in no-parking zones, or parking in disabled lots and near fire hydrants, littering in public places, vandalism, jumping the queue and not apologising when mistakes are made.

Other discourteous behaviour includes smoking in non-smoking areas, spitting in public and not giving up seats to the elderly, disabled and pregnant women.

With the integration of digital technology in our lives, people have become more self-absorbed and indifferent.

Family members engrossed in their mobile phones or tablets over meals is a normal sight in restaurants and homes.

Spending time with the family has been overtaken by the need to check mobile devices, which is rude.

Social media is an important tool to keep families, relationships and friendships closer.

However, courtesy and respect for others go out of the window when some spread remarks, make derogatory statements, slander and insults on social media.

Having a campaign to promote courtesy and noble values is important, but what is even more vital is to include courtesy and noble values in our lives

Leadership by example is essential. The civil service, for example, should promote courtesy among frontline staff who dealwith the public. Basic civilities and courtesies, such as responding to calls and replying to letters from the public, must be practised by all.

I believe instilling good manners, moral and noble values in people should start at home and kindergarten, and reinforced in primary school.

Moral Education in school should be reinforced to emphasise the importance of learning and practising the 36 noble values.

By the time children reach secondary school, the values they have learnt should be ingrained in them.

By TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2018/09/411765/courtesy-going-out-window

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