Our shit and the day we don’t pick it up anymore

A lot of times we look at politicians who created problems but don’t pick up the mess. I mean, you don’t have to look so far, Malaysia’s political scene totally deserves a channel on it’s own at Astro. Like a bad script for an action movie, the flow is usually:

  1. Shit happens
  2. Appoint scape goat(s)
  3. Misdirection
  4. Bury said shit
  5. Look elsewhere
  6. Post credit scene: Launch new campaign for next impending shit

And everyone has an opinion about said shit, too often occupying the topics around dinner tables. But I think that sometimes, it’s over these dinner tables that the seed of such irresponsible behaviour were planted, and over the course of last month, I had witness three of such incidents.

But unlike the scandals that have wolves, C4 charges and over-the-top-generous donations, my encounters involved only a handful of people, two spoons and a pair of chop sticks.

Incident 1:

Scene of the crime: Kuroshio Market, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A Malay couple dropped a pair of chopsticks. Guy went over to take a new one, totally ignoring the pair he dropped. At one point of the intimate dinner, the lady even spilled some green tea on her shoe. She reached down to wipe it off, missing the fallen chopsticks by less than an inch – the same distance Takumi of Initial D would put between his AE86 and the guardrails of Mount Akina. I waited, believing at one point of their one hour dinner would they pick up the chopsticks after kicking and stepping on it a few times, but I was briefly disappointed by humanity when they ultimately left. Of course, without picking up the shit.

Incident 2:

Scene of the crime: Dom Cafe, Think Park Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai, Thailand

I used to joke that sometimes it takes me faster to finish the instant noodle than some mamaks to get around making it. Well, on the same spectrum of sarcasm, some trigger-happy-photo-loving girls would use more time taking photos of their cakes/food/desert/latte art, than the time it takes for the cafe owners to build the cafe.

One of those couples decided multi-angle shots were a good thing in case the F&B CSI ever needed to recreate a 360 virtual crime scene, and as they were moving the deserts around, the girl dropped the tea spoon. Realising that her intagram feed deserved desert pics complete with a tea spoon, she walked over to the counter, asked for a new spoon, came back, took more pics, and just ignored the fallen one that she stepped on a couple of times. Obviously her partner couldn’t care less because his eyes were on that piece of glass in his hand for most of the time. 43 minutes and 1327 shots later, they left, with the spoon still on the floor, complete with authentic shoe prints.

I just chalked up the incident to stereotypicality, as the couple were from China, and they must have consciously decided to live up to their reputation as everyone’s least favourite tourist.

Incident 3:

Scene of the crime: Kodawari Menya, One Utama Shopping Complex, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Back home for less than 24 hours, and the Chinese family of six (sorry, they are not China tourist, but our local variant) totally took the trophy home for this post. The 4 year old son, mischievous as a four year old would be, accidentally dropped his spoon. Dad was grumpy, huffing as he stood up, kicked the spoon aside, took a new one for the son, and reminded him to be careful. And the whole family just resumed their lunch.

Then just like those movies where a mini you popped up on your shoulder and whisper words of wisdom, mine went, “Hey Mav, why not you just head over and pick it up, and who knows? It may give them an opportunity react to your action and maybe even for the kids to learn something. I mean, isn’t it odd for a total stranger to just walked over to your table, bend down, picked up a spoon you have dropped, and put it nicely aside for you?”


You know how when it comes to business ideas, you just got to validate the concept and analyse the outcomes? The outcome of me picking up the family’s shit? Nothing.

Dad and mom stayed on their phone, kids continued eating, the maid saw me but looked away. Kinda wow moment actually as I took my time to reach for the spoon and picked it up. Bruce Wayne would be proud of my stealth skills because while Batman needs his smoke pellets and the dark of night to sneak up on criminals, I basically pulled it off in broad daylight, sans utility belt too. #keepituprobin

Oh yeah, by all means I am not perfect. I’ve made messes before, caused shit to hit the fan before, and sometimes I even delayed my responses to them, or simply just wasn’t aware of them. But those inactions usually eats me up in the form of guilt, and ultimately I had to man up, own up and do what’s right.

As I walked away from those three experiences, I recalled what my mom would do if she ever caught me not picking up my own mess. And it’s reflective too because when I saw Will not picking up the mess he caused or not taking ownership for the mistakes he made, usually the punishment for ignorance was more severe than the original crime itself.

Sidenote: He still makes a mess daily as he’s building his endless Hotwheel loops around the house after sketching his master plan on pieces of paper. Something I hope by putting this article public will constantly remind me to teach him well.

So we chalk it up to parenting, then? But I’m pretty sure those politicians don’t coincidentally all had bad parents, right?

Well, until the answers come around, I’ll still be hopeful to see more people picking up their mess around the dinner table. Just hate it when I look at my forks and spoons and found dents potentially caused by the weight of a human feet or two.


Co-Founder of KICKSTART by night, Talent Development Consultant, organising workshops and conferences by day, and full-time single dad in between, Maverick is pretty much a renegade. An ex-monk who's always first to ask "why not?", Mav enjoys hacking the way things are done, and pretty much happy with the success rate of 50% (coz sometimes mom is right after all...). When it comes to business, give him a million bucks and he'll most probably get a new set of gadgets, drive home an Audi R8 and reload his Starbucks card. But give him little to nothing, and see how he starts switching on the little brain-matter between his ears. Challenge ACCEPTED!

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