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Thursday, June 22, 2006

KL: 3rd Least Polite City in Reader's Digest survey

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Walski could almost imagine Jar Jar Binks say "ow wuuude" on the off-chance that he visited Kuala Lumpur.

Jar Jar Binks Image from

A Reader's Digest courtesy-test survey of 35 cities worldwide ranked Kuala Lumpur number 33, making K.L. the third-rudest city in the survey. Only Mumbai (the rudest) and Bucharest fared worse.

Ever the optimist, Walski sees it as "3rd least polite" as opposed to 3rd rudest.

Now, before you pooh-pooh this as another Western imperialist attempt to paint a negative picture about Malaysia, here are the three tests conducted (and put your own experience into perspective):
►The door test (as in whether someone would hold the door open for you)
►The document spillage test (as in whether a complete stranger would help you pick up documents you dropped)
►The courteous salescleark test (as in whether the shop attendednt thanked you for your purchase)

The scale is presented as an aggregated pass-percentage of the three tests. OK - not the most scientific survey ever done. But it is a survey of large cities, which may not always reflect the rest of the population in a given country.

Singapore-bashers will be happy to note that our neighbors to the south came in at a pretty sorry #31, with a pass-percentage of 41%, compared to KL, which had a 37% pass-percentage.

We may tell the world how friendly Malaysia is - and we generally are very friedly to our tourists - how friendly are we, really, to one another? KLite to KLite?

Walski finds some truth in the survey. Which is why it's tagged "humor" - you gotta take surveys like these with a grain of salt. But there have been instances where people entering through the door in front of Walski just walk in, oblivious to whom could be behind him/her, and don't bother to keep the door open. Maybe not 59% of the time, but it does frequently happen.

Having said that, over the years, Walski has observed that KLites today are perhaps not as rude as they were 10 years ago. At least, on the road, if you put your signal out there usually is a chance of cutting in. And Walski does wave his hand up as a gesture of thanks, when that happens.

So, the onus is now on us KLites - how do we make our beloved city less rude? Well, going by the survey, you could start with those three things. Especially the last one - it never hurts to say thank you.

So, dear reader... thank you.