My late mother was always strict about having good manners. So, saying “please” and “thank you” was a must for everyone in the family at all times.
And here’s a story from more than four decades ago to illustrate this point.
We were on a trip to Penang when I was about 5 or 6 years old together with our extended family from Singapore. And I remember having a wonderful time there with my uncles and aunties and cousins.
One of the places we went to was Penang Hill and it was simply lovely that day. (I still have some pictures of the occasion, believe it or not). As we were enjoying the beautiful sights, we came across this ice cream seller on his motorcycle. And my very generous late uncle Benny offered to buy everyone ice cream. I was excited! Especially when I saw that the seller had my favourite, Jolly Lolly (something like Tropicana; lime green on the outside and milk on the inside).
Then my Uncle Benny asked, “Joey (my family nick name), do you want ice cream?” But guess what? I kind of froze (pardon the pun) and forgot what to say when I wanted something. I sure wasn’t going to say, “A’ah”, but the words “Yes, please” simply escaped me.
So I had to say, “No, thank you”.
Everyone was surprised, but I just looked down and said again, “No, thank you”. In truth, I was beyond sad. Devasted, in fact. But manners came first, and I learned it the hard way.
So yes, I rate manners above most other things. I can’t stand rude people, as well as parents who don’t teach their children basic proper manners. Kids can be fiercely playful, but I say no to rude little brats.
Always show respect to people who are older than us, even in the virtual world, and say Thank You/Terima Kasih/Jazakallah when someone does something nice.
OK, I think I’ll have an ice cream now. Thank you.
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