opinion : Erna Mahyuni

Manners 101: How to properly celebrate our Malaysian successes

Erna Mahyuni

JANUARY 11 — Dear Malaysians: it has become obvious from your social media postings that many of you need a crash course in decency, common sense and basic etiquette.

First, the mandatory makcik (auntie) scolding: “Mak bapak korang tak ajar ke?” (Didn't your parents teach you?)

Now we proceed to forgive your parents as they probably didn't expect to have to teach you how to Tweet and Facebook without being absolute tools.

On that note, I think some of those parents may also need some schooling in that area ― Hi, Ma, please don't use all caps on Facebook please, the cousins have started complaining.

Why this sudden need to go full-on auntie mode? I have been reading the comments on posts about Faiz Subri winning the “Wow How Did He Do That Kick” Award (my name for it because Puskas sounds like some weird Russian dish).

The following is what you don't do (but seem to be doing anyway, you twerps), with Faiz Subri as an example:

1. Complain that he is not wearing something quintessentially Malaysian such as a baju Melayu or pasar malam rip-off t-shirt.

Look, Faiz looked very dashing in his tux and thumbs up to whoever did his bow tie. A tux is standard wear at events such as this and at least we don't have to worry about his kain samping falling off onstage.

2. Whine about his not using Bahasa Malaysia instead of English in his acceptance speech

It takes a lot of nerve to use a language you're not especially fluent in on any occasion, what more a grand international awards ceremony. Give the man some credit for his gumption when so many of our university students go on Twitter mocking those who actually do speak English well.

3. Critique his halting English delivery

The man wins an award for an amazing kick and you want to nitpick his English? Please-lah. Why can't we just celebrate him for what he does well instead of trying to find fault over something so trivial? Last I checked there wasn't an award for best acceptance speech at the Fifa Awards. He was being celebrated for his athleticism and being feted, but no, suddenly Malaysians want to be online English teachers.

4. Accuse him of wearing a cross

On the Internet it seemed some people were too quick to think Faiz was wearing a cross instead of a bowtie, just because of an unfortunate picture angle.

Poor Faiz Subri can't even wear a bow tie without conspiracy theorists complaining.Poor Faiz Subri can't even wear a bow tie without conspiracy theorists complaining.To these people: please go get your eyes checked. Maybe perhaps have your faith examined, but that's just me.

When someone, anyone has something good happen for them what does the average, decent human being do? Congratulate them. If it's someone representing our country, we do the same and do the usual “Malaysia Boleh” rah-rah.

It is truly simple: let them have their moment. Let them, at least for a day, revel in the excitement/glory/adulation. Give them that day because there is no guarantee there will be other days or other times to savour being celebrated.

When you go to a wedding, you say congratulations and not “You shouldn't have chosen white, off-white would look better with your colouring” or “The venue is a bit tacky, maybe a nice garden wedding would have been better.”

There are times when you need to point out issues and voice valid criticism, wonder about billions of mysteriously floating ringgit or question the need to pay for RM300 screwdrivers. But when a Malaysian does something good, and for once we're famous for something entirely unembarrassing, celebrate the occasion and celebrate the person. It really isn't that hard.

Please, Malaysians: for the very far, very few occasions we can say “Malaysia Boleh” in an entirely unironic tone, let us just do that. Let us smile and be gracious, and behave online the way we would in person if we were meeting a hero or champion.

Boleh tak? (Can't we?)

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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