We are not okay

Let us address this need to take out our phones and make things ‘viral’ without actually helping those in distress

pic credit: Facebook

MALAYSIANS have witnessed some pretty bizarre occurrences lately. While they make good viral materials, these occurrences raise the question of human behaviour and some Malaysians’ mental state that led them to such actions.

On Feb 6, we watched in shock, while many also laughed, over a video of a woman reacting hysterically when her car was about to be towed by the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA).

The woman was clad in a pink baju kurung and a matching head scarf. Her attire alone hinted that she probably has a decent-paying desk job that requires her to look presentable.

However, in the two-minute- 20-second video, she can be seen throwing a tantrum not becoming of a full-functioning adult, what more someone who drives a Nissan Almera.

Just as the MBSA enforcer is about to tow her car away — which was illegally parked — she started jumping and screaming insults at the top of her lungs, aggressively shoving and spitting at the officer’s face.

Passers-by who try to help were not spared her aggression. Luckily, the officer and good Samaritan did not fight back. Instead, her car was released as shown towards the end of the video.

However, a police report was later lodged against her. The video, which has since gone viral, was recorded by onlookers who were in the building close to where the incident took place.

While many reprimanded her for overreacting over something which was her fault in the first place, some came to her defence.

Someone who claimed to be her colleague commented that she was suffering from depression.

The person claimed that one of her children had passed away, while the other was taken away by her husband who then ran off to marry someone else.

All this information has yet to be verified but if what was claimed is true, we should sympathise instead of using her as our daily dose of entertainment.

We then read in horror of an incident that took place on Feb 11 at a petrol station on Jalan Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur, where a 65-year-old taxi driver brutally beat another to death just because the latter cut queue at a natural gas (NGV) pump. The victim was 61 years old.

Three photographs of the unfortunate event were shared on Facebook. One was of the first man with his white taxi driver’s shirt soaked in the other man’s blood; one of the victim lying dead on the ground with the police and medic inspecting him; and another similar one, but with the perpetrator standing near the deceased with his hands on his hips.

Visually, he did not look shocked that he had taken another man’s life. Nobody likes queue cutters, but the most we would do is mutter a curse under our breath while the braver ones might honk once.

Overworked? Financial or family pressure? Mental illness? What tipped the 65-year-old over the brink into such an extreme act remains a question.

He has been arrested and investigation is being carried out under Section 302 of the Penal Code.

Another question of equal importance is, why did none of the onlookers interfered?

Where were the petrol station attendants and what were the other customers doing besides that one person who thought taking pictures on his or her mobile phone was more important?

If they were afraid to come close lest they also got hurt, how long had they waited before alerting the authorities?

From both mentioned incidents, while we ponder on the individuals’ state of mind, let us also take a step back and address this need to take out our phones and make things “viral” without actually helping those in distress.

It is a modern-day disease and we are all infected.

Farezza Hanum Rashid is the assistant news editor of The Malaysian Reserve.