Is it humanly possible to live life completely in accordance with the Law in Malaysia? I'm not sure it is. Speed limits on many long, straight roads here seem specifically designed to feed the odd traffic cop. I can't remember the last time I saw a bona fide, original DVD. Or even original software, that is, outside of my happy little Dell, though it came with the machine. Public transport is a joke, hence there are far more cars and motorcycles on the roads than is sensible, thus leading to a breakdown of a highway code designed for a society with some small sense of civic-mindedness. And, as I mentioned before, the standard bribe is pretty much common knowledge in Malaysia.
There is a massive disparity between the Rule of Law and the reality of living in Malaysia and I'm wondering why this is so. So many questions float through my head, the big one being:
What holds sway over M'sian morality?
Not Islam. I'm obliged to point this out up front, seeing as the government tries to paint a picture of Malaysia as a modernized Muslim nation. For a start, we haven't blasted ourselves back to the 4th century. This is good. For another, when a guy goes to a mosque for prayers, wearing his old slippers because he doesn't want his good slippers to get stolen, this beggars the question: What in fuck's name are these people going to the mosque for in the first place? So, no, religion is proving a complete and utter failure in regulating people's behaviour in a socially productive manner, and is offering nothing save a heavy dose of hypocrisy and anti-intellectualism throughout an adherent's life. If you haven't witnessed it firsthand, please take my word for it that the foolishness runs significantly deeper than slipper theft.
So, on to other possibilities of what could possibly be driving M'sian morality. Awareness of Rule of Law and the underlying ethical principles? Oh, please. Most Malaysians can't even pronounce that, let alone say that with a straight face. Collectivism? Hell, no. Individualism? Getting warmer... How about desire for social acceptance, in which moral standards are determined by the tides of pop culture? Close, but not quite. Tradition? Cold! Money? Feels that way doesn't it?
I don't know. This is the kind of thing that bounces around the inside of my head when I've got time on my hands. No answers yet, but that's not going to stop me from digging.
* Yes, ridiculously. So damn hot it defies all reason. I do try very hard indeed not to stare and keep my wits, but holy hell, if you saw her... Ahem.