Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Mind Your Ps and Qs

Bagi tu

Pass tu

Tepi sikit

Nak yang tu

Try saying the above sentences in loud, sharp voice to me and you'll see me not doing anything, not even moving my butt an inch. Why? Because it annoys the hell out of me when people asks me to do something without saying PLEASE and THANK YOU. Even if B were to ask me without so much as saying please, I'll just ignore him. That's how far I'll go just to teach my family to be polite especially when it comes to asking for help or favors, even to my own husband.

The funny thing is, I've noticed it mainly in our people, the Malays. Granted that we are rich in old traditions and adat but we still lack the certain basic finesse when asking for help. This is particularly obvious nowadays, especially in young Malay children and some adults, I might add. I'm saying this based on my observation during a Raya Haji gathering held here. The food were laid out buffet style and everyone had to queue up.

Bagi pinggan

I remained quiet

Bagi pinggan tu makcik

Dlm hati rasa nak piat2 je telinga dia firstly for not saying tolong and secondly for calling me makcik which is a big NO NO.

I turned to her and said

Tolong bagi pinggan, auntie.

She stared at me as if I've said something alien to her and ironically, her mom was beside her (who happens to be much older than me) too stared at me. Her mom got her the plate and glared at me. I just kept quiet because I didn't want to cause a situation, so I moved up the line queueing patiently to get my food. It's unbelievable how clueless of them when it comes to saying TOLONG. I mean, is it so hard to say please and thank you?

I know if it was me and someone said "Nora, tolong bla bla bla", I'd do it in an instant without any hesitation. It'll certainly make my day if that person then said "Thank you". You see how these two magic words certainly makes a world of difference between someone wanting to do your bidding and someone ignoring you completely.

The Mat Sallehs have no problem in this department, that I give credit to them. The Ps and Qs are ever ready at the tip of their tongue, so much so that they over use them and sometimes without even meaning it. Like when I reach the till to pay for my stuffs, the cashier would say thank you when I put the stuffs on the counter but with a sullen face. After ringing everything up, she'd look at me and say the amount ending with a blank-thank you-face. When I handed her my cash, she'd say it with a deadpan-thank you-face. She'll then hand me the balance and the receipt and say it with a stiff-thank you-face. See what I mean?! That's four thank yous but not even one did she mean it. I'm not saying all are like her. Just one or two who must be having a bad hair day.

When I was small, my mom and dad would teach me the Ps and Qs relentlessly. Their way was not to give me anything or do any of my biddings if I didn't include any tolong or please with it. They'll just ignore me and continue to do their activities. This happened a lot especially during meal times. I'd ask them to pass me the rice or chicken or anything on the table. They'd say "Say please and thank you dulu baru Abah bagi" and so the teaching began. Over time, I got so used to saying the Ps and Qs that it has become part of my daily conversation and believe it or not, sometimes I over use it too. Like the other day, I said to Zareef "Tolong tidy up your toys please". But I think it turned out to be good because it kinda rubbed on Zareef. Now I'm proud to say that my son knows his Ps and Qs darn well. At least he won't be snubbed by other makciks or pakciks for not knowing how to say please and thank you.

I know it's such a small matter, but when it comes to dealing with people, what you say or don't say will certainly reflect on your upbringing. In my case, when the girl did not say please, what immediately crossed my mind was "Parents dia tak ajar ke cakap please? Parents educated bukan main". That was very quick of me to judge but hey, aren't we all?

As for me, saying please and thank you brings nothing other than good and well-fortune. I got to go to Allders and buy my KitchenAid, didn't I (hehehhe... thanks to B for relenting after countless of pleases from me... )


cherrytomatoes said...

Totally agreed with you. Memang bangsa yahudi ni dibesarkan dalam community yg hari hari sebut Thanks and Please. For them these 2 magic words are very important. Yang kekecik ni they will say TA, and yg makcik makcik will say Thanks Love !. Thank God that Adam never forget to say Ta either he receives something, or dia yg kasik barang, seme dia bantai Ta !

nong@kween said...

Aku pun start ajar Kenit to say thank you. Tapi sebab dia pelat, dia sebot 'kayu'..tak kisahlah kan. yg penting we instill it in our kids, the habit of saying 'thank you' and 'please'..

Along said...

I am so anal when it comes to being polite. I INSIST on people saying TQ and please. It doesn't take much effort and it really makes a difference. Dengan Dania pun, aku very persistant in getting her to say please and TQ. Nak mintak susu, have to say "Please ibu/abah/akak, Kak Long nak susu". Dah dapat susu, have to say "TQ ibu/abah/akak".

Sometimes dengan strangers yg tak reti cakap TQ tu, aku saja cakap YOU'RE WELCOME, in a very loud voice. Some termalu sendiri. Some muka tebal, can't take a hint.

Larawannabe said...

from my observation la, somehow those parents yg so into 'ilmu akhirat' era, mcm lupa nak ajar anak2 budi bahasa. weird kan?

dillafahim said...

hai nora... tetiba terasa nak komen sket.. mmg betul ape yg u tulis tu... kat sini pon cenggitu... geram biler tgk budak2 yg dah pandai cakap, tapi tak buleh cakap polite.. macam mak ayah diorg tak ajar... kita kalau nak suruh anak kita ambik pon kita ajar cakap PLEASE atau TOLONG and end up with THANK YOU atau TIME KACIH... sy pernah ade pengalaman tegur sorang budak ni 4yrs (turning 5 this yr)..pelik sbb mak dia ajar dia panggil auntie2 dan uncle2(kwn2 mak ayah dia) kat sini ngan nama aje.. mak dia mintak tolong org jagakan anak dia..dan org nie is my friend..anak dia buleh sebut aje my friend's name without auntie... same goes to her husband name,my name, my sis name...terukkan?? biler kita ajar budak tu bukan nak dgr sbb dia kata..mak dia yg sebut nama2 tu camtuh aje without autie or uncle..huh!! dah lah cakap 'kau aku' aje...fuh...budak lagi tu..teringat dia tegur my hubby "eh, kerete nie terkopak kau buat ke??" erkk...takde idea dah nk tegur camne..terus malas nak layan dgn mak2 dia sekali..(sory terkomeng panjang..):D

noresh said...

Rini, Adam sounds so cute when he says TA.

Tak kisah la Kenit sebut 'Kayu' Nong. I agree with u that we have to teach them from young. Nanti dah besar, susah nak jadi habit.

Me too Long. When I was working at BIS, I'd say thank you very, very loudly. Lepas tu, heboh satu office cakap aku rude. Poooraaahhhh... I don't give a rat's ass about it. Will blog on the office politics one of these days...

Lara, when you said ilmu akhirat era, did u mean the elders who are pious or do you mean anyone who into this phase? Anyway, from what I've experienced, the Malays are always at fault for not saying please and thank you's eventhough we are so big in bersopan santun and berbudi bahasa.

it's okay Dilla, nak comment panjang2 pun tak pe. lagi saya suka. melampau betul budak tu ek! yg mak dia pun satu gak. pi ajar ajaran sesat pulak kat anak dia. rasanye, mak tu kena pegi parenting course la.