Hissy fits will get you nowhere, playing by the rules will get you places

Well, it’s finally happened. A ‘Karen’ goes to KLCC.

No doubt, by now, many would have seen the 14-second video clip of a Caucasian, her close-coiffed hair in place, wearing a white summer dress and clutching a tote, arguing with two men in dark suits, in front of a luxury store, somewhere in Suria KLCC.

The lady could be heard saying; “You can’t stop me… it’s a free country, you don’t own the shop…”

She then went on, asking for her money back and saying that she couldn’t do anything (about what remains unclear), before in true Hitchcockian fashion, the video abruptly cuts off, right at the instant she says “I am with the…”

For the love of everything holy! That cliffhanger was worse than watching Michelle Joyner as Sarah, slowly falling to her death in the 1993 Sylvester Stallone vehicle of the same name (no, not Sarah la… Cliffhanger).

Apparently, what had happened was that the two store executives had refused the lady entry because she was sans mask.

What I found extremely intriguing were her arguments, that ignored the historical fact that Malaysia was once a proud member of the British Empire. As such, grand concepts of justice and equality, so favoured by the West, are not exactly alien to us natives.

Here are some fundamental flaws in her arguments:

“You can’t stop me.” Let’s see… Well… yes, they can. If the men in suits were employees of the store, enforcing the store’s rules for the safety and comfort of their other customers, they jolly, bloody well can.

I’ve watched enough sovereign citizens/Karen videos on YouTube to know that in the West, any shop reserves the right to refuse service to anyone. I have a feeling this concept is fast gaining popularity here, too.

“It’s a free country.” Yes, it is. And freed from the oppression and tyranny of the colonialists without a shot being fired (not counting the years before the war, of course).

Here, the argument can be broken down into two parts. The first, goes back to the earlier point. Just as you are free to walk around without a face mask, the store is free to refuse service to anyone who does not play by the rules.

Secondly, as the lady pointed out, Malaysia is a sovereign country, with its own set of laws and rules. Thankfully inherited from the British, which distinguishes us from the savages.

“You don’t own the shop…” Quite right you are, m’lady, but that’s irrelevant. If they are employed by the shop and were acting as duly appointed agents of the establishment or brand, then they were well within their rights to stop you from entering the premises because you were not wearing a face mask, as mandated by the Malaysian government.

She’s fortunate that Malaysians are, by and large, quite accommodating and forgiving. I recall standing in line at an airport security checkpoint in the Middle East a few years ago, and in front of me were a couple of Silicon Valley-types.

Thanks to Richard ‘The Shoe Bomber’ Reid, countless passengers suffering from foot rot, bunions, ingrown toenails, and smelly feet, have had to suffer humiliation at airport security.

“For God’s sake, Vinod, take off your shoes… the man wants to see your shoes… SHOW THE MAN YOUR SHOES…” said the more seasoned, but clearly exasperated exec to his visibly confused, and less-travelled colleague.

The Kalashnikov-armed security officers were clearly not amused.

Rules should apply to all. You don’t get a pass just because you’re a foreigner.

And for these ‘sovereign citizen’ types who don’t want to mask up, who don’t want to get vaccinated, and who don’t want to show their vaccination status, have a little consideration for the others.

Just stay at home and shop online. Not everything has to be a cause you need to fight for.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, an Oxford man, weighed in on this episode, tweeting: “When in Malaysia, please mask up. Regardless of the rules elsewhere. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

I don’t claim to have the same pedigree as Khairy, so I’m going to leave you with the immortal words of another great man; Spock, son of Sarek.

“The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.”

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