Lateness Culture, and making it a little better for everyone

This post hasn't been updated in over 3 years.

Illustration for Lateness Culture - Traffic - Commissioned from Ibrahim

You see all those cars around you? Yeah, it’s traffic. Yeah, you’re late. (Illustration: Ibrahim Yussop)

So, this one time, I was half an hour late, and no one else was late, and being late actually mattered.

It involved underestimating 5pm traffic, and forgetting that I’m not too familiar with Kota Batu. The event was full of formally-dressed people. The event only kicked off only after my arrival. I was mortified.

And yet, I do not know if this is unusual in Brunei. I do not know how often instances of lateness are met with shame. You would even say that lateness is unashamedly rampant.

In some social circles, 5 to 15 minutes’ lateness may be accepted. But I’m amazed at how tolerant we are, when:

  • “late” means half an hour late, or even an hour late
  • a latecomer to a meeting doesn’t let you know they’ll be late
  • a rehearsal or a launching starts more than an hour after the stated time.

Surely this can’t be normal. I’m not talking one-off lateness, I’m saying that perpetual lateness is a habit. I’m talking about how we perpetuate this unnecessarily in all our social and work groups.

How are we constantly letting others wait for us? How can we be happy to throw around the excuse “Janji Melayu”, allowing it as a cultural habit, and masking that it’s actually an inconsideration to others? Read more…


This post hasn't been updated in over 3 years.

(This is not a post about volunteerism. This is my speculation about viewpoints that other people may have, their motives and feelings, i.e. being all sensitive to other people and stuff.)

You’re starting a new club… well, you know how it is. These days, it’s a club in the form of a new group or page on Facebook. You’re looking for people with a common interest, or to rally people for a cause you believe in. You wait for people to join. And then, when you’ve reached a good number of group members or “likes”, you find yourself not wishing for more people, but for your 50 (or 100, 200, 500) members to be more responsive to your posts.

I reflected on this a few weeks ago, during a dialogue I attended. There was a girl in her late teens, who had tried getting her friends and peers from school involved in volunteering for various causes or events. She felt frustrated; they didn’t seem to show interest in volunteerism. And thus followed some discussion about how to encourage local youths to volunteer.

Are teenagers apathetic? The answer was “yes yes, and how do we solve it?”. But I’m not sure I agree. I wouldn’t say her peers are apathetic; perhaps they can’t get involved at that point in their lives.

When I was at school, I didn’t have an urge to join any sort of student council, and had to be forced into positions of authority. (That was fun.) Participation in school competitions was usually initiated after nomination by teachers. School clubs were a sad affair at the time, with many club activities not lasting for more than a few weeks.

A few years later, however, I was in university and I found myself signing up for the “executive committee” for a student society. After avoiding sports for half of my teenage life, I started playing netball in a team. Being a bit older seemed to make all the difference in my confidence and willingness to try to new things. You’re more comfortable with your “identity”, and you have a more solid sense of your aspirations, with a consciousness of the type of person you want to be. You’re also more at ease with interacting with others.

Read more…

Sep 2012
POSTED IN Thoughts

Facebook Groups still suck

This post hasn't been updated in over 3 years.

Is it just me, or has the concept and interface of Groups in Facebook not undergone any major changes in the past year? That is, no good major changes.

I have, at various points of my life, been active in forums or discussion boards (e.g. FictionAlley Park, DonationCoder), so I guess I’m biased towards them. My main beef with Facebook Groups are with the two points below:

  1. Activity in Groups are not prioritised by the News Feeds or the Groups application page.
  2. They do not encourage focused group discussion.

So, to better sort out my annoyances with the current Facebook Groups application, I have drawn up some not-so-pretty images of (1) what I would like the Groups main page to look like, and (2) how I wish the discussion boards could be organized.

Read more…

Jan 2011
POSTED IN Apps and Sites