I have written something on the tyranny of uniforms. The gist of my post there was: Lesser persons assume a different personality when they put on uniforms. Its like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde syndrome. Soekarno the Indonesian leader, was among politicians who capitalised on the majority of people’s obsession with uniforms. Soekarno knew psychology. Perhaps that too explained his prowess with the fairer sex. When asked, why he is normally in uniforms, bedecked with medals and complete with baton, he replied, the Indonesian people are so depressed , they need a strong figure who symbolises strength and security.
Equally possible too, is the preference for inadequate people to compensate their shortcomings and lacking by wearing uniforms. People try to compensate their shortcomings by masking them. Uniforms tend to hide most. The sombre the better, the more elaborate portrays a sense of grandeur. The peon in uniform holds the power to make files disappear or appear on the officers’ desk quickly. The city council enforcement officers in military-like garb appear so officious and authoritative.
Uniforms allow the wearer to assume vastly different personality. In social psychology much has been written about the process of stepping out. See for example:- Stepping out : the making of Chinese entrepreneurs / Chan Kwok Bun, Claire Chiang See Ngoh. The typical Chinese entrepreneur projects an image of what he wants to become and then steps out from his current shell. He works to attain the projected image and the process of attaining involves a series of stepping out.
I suppose, the uniform confers on the wearer a projected image too. Such as an authoritarian master, a task master, an enforcer. The wearer steps out to assume that projected image. Once accomplished, the projected role is played to an extreme degree.
The negative part of that is, it gives middling and pedestrian people the power and authority to abuse others, ,ill-treat people. It gives the uniform wearer a artificial sense of superiority.
Perhaps this psychological defect among middling and pedestrian people is typified in the security personnel working for MAS. Apart from MAB, MAS employs security men who are either in uniforms or in plain clothes. The plainclothes security men for example, are responsible for the cabin cleaners of the MAS planes .
Please indulge me in my narration. A few days ago, I was at the KLIA. By any measure, KLIA is a first world facility. MAS has a fleet of world class airplanes. Combined,
I called a friend wanting to meet up with him. He works as a MAS planes cabin cleaner in KLIA. He is perhaps the most qualified cabin cleaner in the whole of
He should spend time looking at the front liners working for him. The painted faces manning ticket counters are OK. But what about the bully boys wearing the sombre uniforms and the plain clothes security men looking after the planes and cabin cleaners.? They give a bad name to MAS.
We don’t want MAS security people running around and bullying their own people. The uniforms and the security IDs do not give them a right to be abusive to workers even though they are not of the same level. The security personnel of MAS have chosen the wrong person to bully. Yes, I regret to say as does my friend, that the security personnel of MAS are their bully boys. They give a bad name to MAS.
This friend of mine says cabin cleaning personnel working for MAS are treated like mangy dogs. They are verbally and sometimes physically abused. Their bags would be emptied on the floor without any trace of respect. Your personal things would be strewn on the floor. The Security men would motion you with their fingers to do their biddings.
My friend is a Malay and yet he has certainly learnt the real meaning of racism. The security personnel admonished my friend saying, that if he were an Indian migrant worker, he would be carted off in a lorry to the illegal immigrants detention centre. This kind of incendiary remark can only suggest that Indians and other immigrant workers are actually harshly treated. .
And so my friend, with his MBA( honestly obtained) has decided to put up a fight for his rights. His rights to be treated decently as a Malaysian citizen. He decided to confront the security officers about the abusive and ill mannered treatments. Cabin Cleaners have endured cruel and disrespectful treatment. Security guards would confront a hapless cleaner with their menacing officiousness and their regulation supplied black spectacles. The kind that is used by policemen to enhance their menacing demeanour.
My friend has decided to quit in protest. But he has also prepared a letter addressed to Idris Jala to give a fuller account. Let us hope, Idris Jala will spend some time mending the 3rd class mentality at the front lines. We wouldn’t want these bully boys to downgrade our first class facility, would we?