Face saving: Malaysia

Saleh Mohammed | .

Saving face is one of the traditional Malaysian cultural assumptions.

Malaysians strive to maintain face and avoid shame in all circumstances. It embraces qualities such as a good name, good character and being held in esteem by one's peers. Face can be considered as a commodity - can be given, lost, taken away, or earned. It extends to the community, place of work and even the nation itself. The desire to maintain face makes Malaysians strive for friendly and harmonious relationships.

Face can be saved by remaining calm and courteous; discussing issues maturely and professionally along with honesty, integrity and sincerity. Face can be lost by openly criticizing, insulting or challenging someone in authority in public; showing anger at another person; not keeping a promise or disagreeing with someone publicly. This usually happens when one party prevaricate or deviate from the truth.

Other cultural assumptions include respect for family, group and community; humble submission and respect to authority; acceptance of hierarchy; self-discipline and modesty and humility. Emphasis on unity, loyalty and respect for the elderly is a unifying value of most Malaysians.

Talking about someone in authority, we would expect them to also carry responsibility. In short, the buck has to stop somewhere.

It is refreshing to note that someone reminded leaders to do away with the 'ostrich culture' and should not pass on the burden to others.

Under current scenario in the country, I think this is the best advice to be followed.

We have had issues without closure for sometime now and the Rakyat is still waiting for clear, unambiguous answers with some details by independent body(ies) and not just denials through few sentences. It is as hazy as the current haze outbreak. There was hope for clear answers a few months ago but that hope was dashed a couple months ago when the investigating bodies were somewhat crippled.

We have just heard an authoritative body had concluded an investigation and the findings is with the prosecuting body. I guess the Rakyat have confidence in the latter to do the needful. We hope the existing system is not too complex or overburdened because "Justice delayed is justice denied".

I was reminded by a lawyer friend that there is such a thing as conflict of interest/loyalty issues in the fraternity.

Be that as it may, there are a few more investigations to be completed. And we hope the investigating and prosecuting body will give precedence to issues of concern by the Rakyat and not issues deemed important by a select few or any other considerations.

More importantly, the investigations have to be carried out with honesty, integrity and sincerity. Also with the good name and good character the individuals involved are known to have.

A large segment of the population has shown unhappiness for quite sometime and we request the most sensible thing to do now is bring closure to these issues as soon as possible.

We would also request for our leaders not to tell us who are unhappy with the current situation to leave our beloved country. Together we want to see our country achieve the plan laid out about a quarter of a century ago and go to greater heights thereafter.

We will then use and wear red colour, associated with energy, strength, determination as well as passion, desire, and love. We will also use yellow, associated with joy, happiness, intellect and energy. It produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity, and generates muscle energy.

Ultimately, the country has to also save its face by fulfilling its promise to be a developed nation. We as citizens will increase our humble submission and respect to authority. God willing, we will see Malaysians living with self-discipline, modesty and humility.


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