Tuesday, March 22, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 (Bernama) -- Is it true that some of us are not concerned over other people's 'woes'? Is our society, known for its courtesy and politeness, has now turned greedy?.
Several incidents that happened early this year had shown the 'true face' of some Malaysians.
Last February, the whole nation was in disgust after reading about the vain pleas of trailer-lorry driver Ahmad Rozlin Ahmad Murad. His pleas were for passers-by to help his friend and co-driver, whose body was pinned in the vehicle.
The trailer-lorry was earlier involved in a road crash. Ahmad Rozlin's pleas were ignored as some passers-by were more concerned with grabbing rice sacks that had fallen from the trailer-lorry.
A month earlier, a 4-wheel drive vehicle that carried more than RM$70,000 in coins crashed at KM 244, North-South Highway near the Pedas exit.
What happened afterwards was a 'rush and grab' for the coins by passers-by who had stopped their vehicles, despite the vain pleas from the 4-wheel-drive vehicle's driver.
The rush and grab 'carnival' did not stop despite the presence of the traffic police and highway personnel there. Fortunately the crash victims escaped with light injuries.
Another similar incident happened the same month. A van carrying a consignment of yoghurt drink (a well-known brand) crashed at KM 424.9 of the North-South Highway near Bukit Tagar.
What had happened next?
Several drivers of other vehicles stopped but not to help the victims. Instead they were busy picking the yoghurt containers.
These incidents had drawn the public's response including that from the ulama and intellectuals.
Perak Mufti Tan Sri Dr Harrussani Zakaria, according to news report, said the money taken was 'haram' and must be returned to its rightful owner.
The adviser to Johor Islamic Religious Council (MAIJ) Datuk Nooh Gadut had similar views. He said the passers-by should have assisted the victims and returned the money instead of taking advantage over the situation.
He said the incident should not have happened in a Muslim nation like Malaysia.
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO US?
What is happening to the Malaysian society?
It is only nine years to go for Malaysians to achieve Vision 2020. We are also in the midst of making the 1Malaysia concept a success.
But is our society ready for these objectives.
Universiti Sains Malaysia's (USM) Social Science lecturer Dr Intan Hashimah Mohd Hashim said she viewed the incidents in two aspects.
First, the factor that passers-by failed to help accident victims. Second, why people were willing to steal/take away items from the scene of accidents?
According to the social science expert, such attitude has got nothing to do with the courteous Malaysian values but more of the 'by-stander effect'.
Social psychology studies have shown that the inclination to help would be reduced due to the presence of many people at the scene.
"The presence of many people at the scene may make a person to feel that the responsibility of helping the victims does not fall on his shoulders alone. In fact many would feel that other people should be helping the victims instead of himself. Hence they are reluctant to help".
Dr Intan Hashimah feels that this phenomenon frequently occurs in the society including that in the western countries. The urgency to help would come if only one or two persons are around at the accident scene.
About the second aspect, Dr Intan Hashimah is in the view that it is related to the sense of responsibility.
"In the second situation, those who stole from victims at accident scenes usually numbered more than one and they did not know the victims.
"Furthermore, there were many others who did the same. This had reduced the guilt and shame in them. They did not fear being apprehended as the authorities were not around", she said.
WHY THE LACKADAISICAL ATTITUDE?
There could be several possibilities that lead to the lackadaisical attitude.
For Dr Intan Hashimah, this is not linked to the moral deterioration in the society but more of the 'situation factor' that drove someone to commit such an act.
"In this situation, the society needs a role model. If someone helps a victim and another prevents the others from taking the things away, other by-standers would also do the same.
"What we need is a role model that shows positive values which can push the others to do the same. I believe there are still many good Malaysians but they do not know what to do in case of emergencies", said Dr Intan Hashimah commented.
The social psychologist said she does not see that Malaysians have begun to lack the caring and courteous values.
"However they practise that on people they know and not on others who are unknown to them. We need to be sensitive to all and not only to people that we know".
Dr Intan Hashimah said educating adults on this aspect is different, unlike teaching children and students. All individuals need to inculcate the caring concept themselves.
"Then, we will not hesitate to help accident victims, avoid stealing from them and do not wait for others to render help", she added.
By Nurul Halawati Azhari -- BERNAMA