Living in dirt: ‘Tidak apa’ habits die hard?
By being irresponsible with simple things like rubbish disposal, we show that we are still a long way from being a civilised society, says Jiran.
This is a picture essay of how a community in a residential housing estate in Penang overlooks its own ‘tidak apa’ habits while assuming a self-righteous façade when they have, in fact, broken the law.
In aspiring to a more democratic society, some have confused democracy with lawlessness. Sadly, we have not been educated in democracy or how to legitimately exercise our democratic rights while respecting the rights and dignity of others around us. In short, we have not yet learned civic- or community-mindedness.
The Municipal Council provides each household in the neighborhood with a green ‘wheelie bin’; so why don’t they use it? It has a cover and can be left outside the garden gate to be emptied by garbage collectors.
People around the neighborhood can be seen stopping their motorbikes and cars to dump garbage at this spot. They look furtively and sheepishly around before depositing their rubbish at this site.
Adding insult to injury, residents living close to the dump – those who use the green wheelie bins and don’t throw rubbish at this illegal dump right outside their houses – are accused of throwing rubbish here. Blaming the blameless doesn’t solve the problem.
Does anyone care? It goes unnoticed or ignored by residents who think they are law-abiding citizens. The white sign is simply an advertisement of someone’s business. It partially obscures the public notice of the RM500 penalty for illegal dumping and littering. Are these people in the neighborhood behaving responsibly?
Is this what Penangites are proud of? Exhibiting our inconsideration for other people, just because we think we can get away with ignoring the law. We also show others our unhygienic habits and our callous and uncaring attitude towards our neighbors.
By being irresponsible with simple things like rubbish disposal, we show that we are still a long way from being a civilised society, let alone an advanced nation.
Jiran is the pseudonym of a contributor to our Thinking Allowed section.