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Hello, Hello Kitty. Goodbye, Good Sense.

Disclaimer: I have nothing against the very popular feline, nor her numerous fans.

I don’t really know much about the recent hysteria and angry outbursts regarding the McDonald’s sale of Hello Kitty dolls, and what I do know is based on various videos and posts on FB and Twitter. Ah, the power of social media. I haven’t really bothered to read more about what really happened, partly because we are on holiday in Hong Kong now, but mainly because the more I read about it, the more embarrassed I feel to be a Singaporean.

I have never quite understood the need to be a collector of such items, and the only thing I’ve actually collected is erm, all ten seasons of my favorite TV series, Friends. But I never had to queue for hours to buy them, and I don’t think I would have, either. But the queuing up overnight for hours isn’t what bothers me. It’s the sheer ungraciousness of the people involved, that makes me question what our society is inculcating in her citizens. The worst part? This isn’t even the first time it has happened. (Many years ago, a glass door at one of the AMK outlets was shattered, and I vaguely recall reading about an old lady who was injured by it, but I can’t remember the details.)

Seriously, what is it about the harmless looking little kitty that makes grown-ups lose their good sense? Grown men were verbally abusing the McDonald’s staff, chanting things like ‘not fair, not fair’, and going to the completely illogical extent of calling the police. Do they honestly believe that our men in blue have nothing better to do than to go down to the various McDonald’s outlets to placate them? What on earth did they expect the police to do? Arrest the staff?

Back when I was teaching, this sort of behaviour usually surfaced in Sec One classes, and usually in the first few weeks of school, when the students were still adjusting to being in a secondary school. I had an extremely low tolerance for this sort of childish behaviour, and my kids soon learnt not to expect me to resolve their petty disagreements. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve rolled my eyes at them, sighed in exasperation, and asked them, “What are you? Five?”

Which brings me back to this. Why are grown men behaving in such a childish manner? Why are they acting like the world owes them a living? (Or in this case, like McDonald’s owes them a Hello Kitty plush toy?) What has happened in their lives to give them such a misplaced sense of self-entitlement? I cringed when I heard one of the men declare proudly, “We are paying customers, you know.” Why does he think that just because he has money, he is entitled to a toy? Which part of “no more stock” does he not understand? He then goes on to insist that it’s “not fair”. Again, which part of it is “not fair”? The fact is that he arrived later than the others in the queue ahead of him. So what if the staff originally said that each person was entitled to four toys, then changed it to two? Why do you need so many anyway? For your kids? Teach them the value of sharing then! The same man also challenged the McDonald’s staff (Kudos to her to remaining so calm through it all. She didn’t even roll her eyes at him! I would have snapped long ago.) to call her management, AND the police, asking her to get 120 policemen down to queue for the Hello Kitties. I mean, seriously? I wanted to smack the arrogance out of him. He even said in dialect that he would treat the policemen to a McDonald’s breakfast. I’m guessing that if they really did show up expecting him to pay for their meals, he would have something else to rant about.

Another cause for concern is the number of people who actually APPLAUDED after this man behaved so badly towards the McDonald’s staff. What’s wrong with them? Can they not see that this is NOT the right way to behave? And the people taking these videos too. It’s like those people who take photos of youths hogging the seats on buses and trains, and posting them online. You’re taking the photos and videos because you’re aware that it’s bad behaviour on their part, but by not doing anything to stop them, I think you’re part of the problem too.

The kitties that have awakened the ugly Singaporeans

I’m glad Noah is too young to be aware of this right now, because I won’t be able to explain this behaviour to him. It really worries me that there are so many Singaporeans who would behave in such a childish manner, and that many of them are parents too. What are they teaching their children then? What kind of examples are they setting? What is wrong with our society? Please don’t blame it on the education system or the teachers, by the way. It’s a sad, sad day, when values have to be taught by teachers, from textbooks, in the classroom.

On almost any given day, I am proud to be a Singaporean, but this is not one of them. I have no idea where good sense, logic, and graciousness have disappeared to, but I hope, for the sake of the children, that they will prevail over the madness that has descended upon these people.

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