Letter: Let’s make “budi bahasa” a way of life

I was having lunch with a former lecturer, whom I have not seen in years. We made the arrangements just a few days shy of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

My former lecturer brought along her teenage daughter, who addressed me as Abang Ming.

Now, personally no one has addressed me as Abang Ming before, and when I was greeted with such a salutation, I felt warm knowing that some quarters of the younger generation today still uphold the values of respect for older people.

I personally know of some younger individuals, who comprise of colleagues, associates and even friends, who couldn’t even bother to say good morning or hello, let alone address an older person accordingly.

You will be surprised that some even address an older person with the slang of “eh you” and worse, some don’t even address you at all. This, while not harmful, is a total disregard of the Malaysian values of respect and honour for seniors.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not making a blanket statement that all young individuals are rude. In fact, what I am saying also applies to every level of society regardless of age.

It’s not even wrong to address anyone by just their name. However, Malaysians being Malaysians, we are still guided by the values of respect and etiquette that the older generation taught us.

The concept of “budi bahasa” is a staple in our community. Some people uphold it while others think nothing of the concept.

We all know of the diminishing concept of “budi bahasa”, we just choose to ignore the elephant in the room.

I have seen the decline of “budi bahasa” in society and like a deadly disease, its rot is spreading.

I am not asking for much. I am only humbly requesting for everyone to remember to uphold the values of moderation, respect, humility and kindness in our multiracial society.

These are the pillars of nation building and progress. Lest we forget.


Yeap Ming Liong

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