Wednesday, September 20, 2017

kesian versus procedures

What are the good and bad points of Malaysians?

I shall pick on only one of each, one pro and one con of Malaysian characteristics. And I shall refer to my Uncles' story, wakakaka, to illustrate those two contrasting points, with an Arab camel thrown in as well, second wakakaka.

When my Uncles were serving in the military, one of them actually started with the Brit Army in days when the Poms were the first fighting against the CPM.

His story related to military messing or food provided by the Ang-Mor to soldiers. The staff were mainly Malayans (pre-Malaysia) with an Ang-Mor as Top Messing Honcho.

There was usually an excess of food prepared, and at the end of each meal, the Brit (and I heard, also the Aussies) would dump the uneaten food into a swill bin. It was written procedure in the Pom's military-admin manual to do so. Then the swill would be sold to some Chinese contractors for a few dollars (as food for presumably animals), whatever the amount obtained for the swill was irrelevant to our story.

Many Malaysian soldiers were aghast at the sheer waste of the excess and very good quality food being cast away by the Ang-Mor as swill. The Penang Hokkien words for such acts were 'chek-ark' (cruel act) and 'p'ua-keh' (wasteful).

Indeed, to Malaysian eyes those Ang-Mor acts were wasteful not to give the food to the mainly Malayan staff for consumption.

But the procedure and messing service at the Pom's military messes (Officers', SNCOs' and Other Ranks') went along smoothly - food were for military personnel and served excellently; staff were there to serve, not to eat, and all these were understood and correctly performed, cruel as the Ang-Mor behaviour were.

Then Malayan-Malaysians took over, not only in messing administration but also in attitude filled with compassion, consideration and an Asian (Malaysian) attitude of sharing. Excess good food were not deliberately discarded as swill but were given to the civilian staff. There was to be no more 'chek-ark' in handling food. Kesian lah.

And this was where the story of the Arab's camel came into play, as follows:

Once upon a time in an Arabian desert, on a cold wintry night, an Arab slept comfortably in his tent whilst his camel laid on the desert sand in the open, obviously cold and extremely uncomfortable.

The camel thought he needed to have at least a wee warmth so he asked his owner-master whether he could placed JUST his nose inside the tent. The owner okayed the animal's request.

That act of compassion saw the camel asking again for his head to be inside the tent - another OK from the owner which was then followed by the animal asking incrementally for his neck to be also allowed inside the tent, then his fore legs and so on so forth until the animal was entirely inside the tent.

That was when the camel kicked the master-owner out of the tent as there wasn't enough space for both of them.

That is the famous story of the Arab and his notorious camel which illustrates the moral of the animal which bit the hands which fed it, or an ungrateful beneficiary which turned nasty against its benefactor to grab the assets.

Thus was the above story applicable to the civilian messing staff in the Malayan-Malaysian military.

According to my Uncles, after the civilian staff were given excess and uneaten food, those staff began to misappropriate choice food meant for the military personnel even before serving the them.

The naughty misappropriation then 'escaped' the gravitational effect of proper procedures, and the serving staff became the 'tuans' in the kitchen, serving pared-off and lower quality food to their 'masters', and themselves consuming the top quality and choicest food, effectively becoming the 'camel' which kicked out its master-owner.

Thus the procedure and messing service at Malayan-Malaysian military messes (Officers', SNCOs' and Other Ranks') went upside down - food were now meant for the civilian serving staff and of course NOT served properly to the actual official recipients, namely, the military personnel; serving staff were there in the mess to eat first and of the best, their primary duties were then not so much to serve but to have first go at the best food - all were completely in contrast to the Ang-Mor correct procedures, with the military personnel now getting the short end of the stick.

Which was crueller? Ang-Mor proper procedure or Malaysian compassion and 'kesian-ness'?

Which achieved the correct results as intended by the military?

The Poms, Aussies and Ang-Mor had that procedure because they knew exactly what would happen if they started giving the excess uneaten food to the local civilian messing staff,

The good characteristic of Malayan-Malaysians has been our compassionate nature, the willingness to share because we feel 'kesian' to our staff.

The bad characteristic of Malayan-Malaysians has been our inappropriate selfish behaviour, the shameless audacity to take what is not rightfully ours, to cheat and to laugh jeeringly at our cheated victims. We do not know what is right or wrong unless an Ang-Mor TUAN treated us like a camel to be kept always outside the tent.

We 'kesian' the undeserving people while their actual victims are ignored or quietly dismissed as 'martyrs'. What a crock of shit!

1 comment:

  1. My experience not with the military but other government institution.

    The catering operator was being paid a budget of RM 12 per meal. No rental, gas and electricity all paid by the government department, modern kitchen cooking equipment all provided.

    Very much an adequate amount for the operator to provide decent meals and also earn a reasonable profit.

    The average Economy Rice seller outside would jump at that kind of opportunity at RM 12 per meal, no rental, free gas and electricity, no investment needed for kitchen equipment.

    But these guys were providing atrocious meals.

    After many complaints, an investigation showed the caterer was spending less than RM 4 per meal, pocketing the rest.

    The caterer's contract was not renewed after expiry, but no other action taken, apparently the guy had "protection".

    That's Bolehland...