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Getting around the system

October 20, 2008

I notice this happens here and most places I’ve been to in Asia, including China.

I’m talking about the habit of running the red light, cutting queue and using the phone while driving when no cops are looking.

It guess people will try to get away with something if they can. If they get caught and fined, that’s okay. Bad luck. Next time they’ll be smarter and watch out for the cops before they jump the queue again.

In other words you don’t learn to respect order. You learn to beat the system.

The most perplexing thing is how the same people would go overseas and respect the system there and upon return revert back to the same disorderliness.

The wisdom of crowds?

Its hard to understand people sometimes.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. LC Teh permalink
    October 20, 2008 1:34 pm

    Basic human nature; we want the freedom of choice and refused to be tied down by rules. But when we have the power of control we fix the rules.

    When overseas, it’s unfamiliar territory, so we follow the rules. As soon as we settle down we start looking up the loopholes. Thus, ‘familiarity breeds contempt’.

    Hmmm… would that mean the Asian human nature is different than the European human nature. In the US, if you cut queue, you get thrashed by other motorists. In Asia, nobody thrashes you except the police, if they saw you. I suspect its something to do with conscience. Hate to say it but some communities have it and some clearly don’t.

  2. October 20, 2008 4:28 pm

    Mmm, I know people who went to other countries without changing their mentality unless the punishments are pretty bad (or expensive). 😛

    Yeah, when I was in college, the habits some Asian students brought along made the local Americans jaws drop. It seems that some Asians only understand the language of violence before they would stop littering or stealing items from the park. Even if they got caught, they carefully note when people aren’t around so they can sneak in next time and do their thing. Really shameful.

  3. October 21, 2008 7:56 am

    Alvin is definitely right. Here in Australia, speed cameras are almost everywhere! A person I know once drove 43 km/hr on the school zone that allows 40km/hr and was fined heavily. Even traffic lights are equipped with those cameras.

    In comparing the Asians to the Westerners….. I think it is the culture that differentiates the both. The culture that we were brought up in influence how we behave and is portrayed in our actions.

    I realized Asians here are more impatient and they honk more compared to Westerners. You can see this clearly when you’re at parking lots located in Asian suburbs compared to parking lots in suburbs with a majority of Western residence….
    One with angry looking drivers all over and loud honks filling up the air while the other with no honks at all and only a few grumpy drivers.

    Hmm… with more than 5,000 years of culture and tradition behind us, one would think we Asians are super-refined in our mannerisms. Anyway, yeah I notice the same thing you do. The predominantly Asian areas of the Bay Area (SF) has all the problems that you find in Jakarta or Shanghai. Heavy fines are no problem. They just get smarter and break the law when no one’s looking. However, the 2nd generation Asian-Americans tend to be more conscientious. I think education has a lot to do with it (which again says a lot about the thousand-year old values Asians are so proud of).

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