i’ve developed a new philosophy… i only dread one day at a time. – charlie brown

at the traffic light, i found myself stopped beside a school bus filled with what looks like lower secondary school students. perched at a stretch of windows nearest to me were a bunch of girls chatting about whatever tickles the fancy of regular junior secondary schoolgirls these days. amidst the giggles, one girl appears to be unwrapping a regular sized bar of chocolate. i could tell that she was a pengawas because her uniform was of a different colour as compared to her friends. crunching the colourful plastic wrapper into a ball, her palm finds its way out the window, and without even looking, she drops the wrapper onto the road.

i honked.

the girls turned to look at me. i shook my head and pointed at the street. now what flabbergasted me was how the girls looked at the road, looked at me, spread their fingers and genuinely wondered – without spite or malice – what was my problem. in what appeared to be ignorance in all its heavenly bliss, they did not know why i honked.

i shook my head again and they still did not get it. my one regret was that the bus was on the left side, or i would have winded down my window to tell them that littering is wrong. the girls returned to their pow wow and in less than thirty seconds, another girl wipes a bit of chocolate from her mouth and drops the tissue on the road.

the lights turn green as the girls turn to me for a second time. i shook my head again, but they still cannot understand. the smallest among the girls, tiny enough to be assumed as a first former gazes at me as the other girls turn away. she shakes her head in response to me. she does not understand.

i am not going to get into one of those arguments here of who is responsible to teach children morals. the school. the home. the family. the society. i blame everyone. i believe in repetitive behavioral conditioning and this is not something you point fingers at to the next person. littering responsibly, is one of the most fundamental things you educate children to do. it is a way of life. and don’t give me that bullshit about a piece of tissue paper being biodegratable so it is okay to throw them on the streets. if you think you are being environmentally friendly like that, then trash it in your own yard la.

frankly, this is not the first time i see people littering out of their car windows. i see trash fly out of small cars and big cars. old cars and new cars. from cigarette buds to tissue paper to sweet wrappers. last week, i saw a large wad of tissues discarded from a very polished, very expensive car while stuck in a traffic jam. driving by, i saw that the one who did the act was a middle age lady, blinged in an assortment of cosmetics and jewelleries, and donning large gucci sunglasses. her husband was driving. he was wearing a silk batik shirt. two kids at the back. the whole package looks like they are a respectable looking family in a very comfortable car. they just have some moral issues, i suppose. but i am not supposed to say that. man with the silk batik and songkok might boot me into a cell where the sun don’t shine.

general public is one. but that coming from a school bus filled with young girls in uniform? i don’t know if i should be very angry or very sad. this is the picture of ultimate failure.

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