Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Live Here At Your Own Risk

"At your own risk" is a phrase habitually used by operators of parking lots, amusement parks, hotels, gyms and every other conceivable establishment as a talisman against the wrath of irate customers.

Because it often works.

Welcome to Malaysia, where living is as perilous and exciting as a reality TV show. In a country where civil disobedience means speaking your mind, there are other hazards.

  • Two students, one of whom lost his hard-won academic certificates along with his luggage, had their bags stolen when the bus they were travelling on spilled cargo onto the road after the doors of the luggage compartment failed.
  • A boy drowned in a swimming pool, a venue even the Guinness Book of World Records wouldn't consider as a candidate for World's Deadliest Place. And this isn't the first time.
  • There's an underground parking lot in the city that invites you in, but politely tells you that your car may be submerged when it floods.
  • A colleague left her car at a parking lot at Bukit Jalil to commute to work via the Light Rail Transit. She came back after sunset and found scratches in the paintwork.
  • People have died at our theme parks - and National Service camps.
  • Did I mention snatch thieves?

We make frequent calls for accountability and transparency from our politicians, civil service and law enforcement authorities, yet turn a (seemingly) blind eye at the surly parking lot gateman who just sticks his hand out for money (and be really really surly when you refuse to pay). Being a small-time operator should no longer be an excuse for shoddy service.

People take risks in casinos and stock markets. When overclocking CPUs, climbing Mount Everest or bungee jumping. Selling the Iraq War. Buying books by first-time authors. Having pet cats.

Something is seriously wrong when the risk of losing your life is associated with things like getting your car from the parking lot, riding the bus or just walking down a quiet street.

Now there's a slogan for Visit Malaysia Year 2007.


  1. u sure u got ur facts straight? heheh... don't want to be called an unemployed female liar now.

    sad facts but true. stark contrast from a story i heard on saturday. someone i knew left a bag of newly bought cosmetics worth $80 at a shopping mall. anyone could've kept it and no one'd be the wiser. instead, it was given to the "lost & found" counter of the mall, and she got it back.

  2. Then again, cosmetics don't usually catch a thief's eye. Things would be different if that package contained a cellphone.

    But news like that, ah. We all need a little hope every now and then.


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