I’m 21 and I can’t drive. Big whoop!
Sadly, at the age of 17, I did not bother to take up driving after my birthday, and this trend went on for about 4 years, and only recently felt that it was time to change that. So, while everyone my age has a car to move around in, I depended on Malaysia’s extremely sad public transportation system.
Several weeks ago, I went to a driving agency to place my deposit and take my first steps to learn how to drive. Its a 3-month course , and the first step happens to be a 6-hour long lecture on road rules and handling car emergencies. 6 hours?! And on a Sunday at 8am?! What the doobie is that supposed to prove? It is so messed up, especially in Malaysia when all the drivers have no regards for any of the rules. If you are from a Western country and had the death-defying experience of driving a car in Malaysia, you will know what I’m talking about. I don’t know about the stereotype of Asians being bad drivers in general, but you’ve not seen bad until you’ve seen Malaysian drivers.
So, anyhow. I woke up on Sunday morning, and got dressed for the class. And hear me out. To attend the class, you even have a dress code. You must wear long pants, a collared polo shirt, girls must have their hair tied up neatly. Oh, and you can only wear footwear that completely covers your feet. So…am I going to Afghanistan or something? Oh, before I go any further, Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country and there’s a potential of having to deal with some really backward traditions that don’t really make any sense, especially in the um..21st century? I can understand the concept of modesty in a public classroom (especially with wearing a polo shirt and long pants) but since when did feet become the new erogenous zone? If its a matter of semi-formality, wouldn’t proper sandals at least be appropriate?
I currently do not own a pair of shoes, and I had to borrow a pair of shoes from my mother, but I could only fit a pair of sandals of hers. I wore it, took the trip out to the middle of nowhere, and as I was signing up for my class, the instructor/teacher decided to humiliate me in front of the entire classroom of teenagers and adults, pointing out (with a bamboo cane) that I can’t be allowed into the class. I was mad. Sure I understand I did not wear shoes, but couldn’t he at least be a little more polite by pointing it out to me in silence, instead of telling me that I’m being unethical by wearing sandals? I told him that if that’s the case, I’m leaving the class right now. Then he decides to apologise and suggest that I ask someone to loan me their shoes so that I can still enter the class. First off, with the way you treated me, I am definitely NOT going to continue with the class today, and second, do you know how disgusting it is to use someone else’s shoes?! Using someone else’s tennis shoes is ridiculously disgusting and you expect me to stoop down to your level and share someone else’s tennis shoes? This is what went on in my mind..
I don’t know if it made me seem like a spoiled brat in front of those kids, but after what I’ve been through this week, I will not tolerate public humiliation. I explained to my agency about what happened and they said that the instructor is/was from the military and has a bit of an attitude problem. I don’t care if he is from the military, but he disrespected me in public and why the hell does he need to carry a bamboo cane like he’s going to beat someone to pulp? My boyfriend was a United States Marine and I don’t see him acting like a self-absorbed prick! So, driving instructor person, take your rough facade and stuff it!
It also seems that JPJ(Malaysian Road Transport Department) are the chodes to make up this rule, and apparently hire this guy. Apparently, I was told that if the JPJ representatives came in to monitor the classes and found people wearing sandals, they would cancel the class. For crying out loud. Its a Sunday, and early in the morning? Who the hell wants to wear shoes? Sandals are appropriate enough as long as they aren’t flip flops! Its not like we’re in a construction site where hard leather boots are a MUST.
Its the 21st century, people. Wake up!