Mexican Standoff

I’m not going to share Youtube videos today. Instead I want to talk about a real life experience today. Or more like, a trivial bitching rant…

You see, I was buying lunch in Queensbay Mall’s food court today, and when I was carrying my tray of hot claypot with hot soup away, looking for a seat, I got into a mini Mexican standoff with a young couple.

You know, usually, I would actively try to walk in such a way to avoid being on a collision course with other people, and if I really find myself and another person in each other’s path, I would be the proactive one to step aside and make way for him/her.

But sometimes it is just too difficult, especially if I am carrying bulky items or hot soup, then my attention would be focused more on the item I am carrying rather than my surrounding. And that was exactly what happened today. I was focusing not to spill the soup from the claypot and noticed the couple too late.

So I found myself staring at the guy’s face. He didn’t seem to have any intention to make way for me, carrying the hot soup as I was. His girlfriend (I presume) was alternating between staring at him, and at me. I guess she was not sure how to react, so she stared at us as well.

Now, I normally would avoid conflict and just move aside in such situations, but… I don’t know, I saw that condescending look in his eyes which at that instant, made me pissed off.

So I held his stare. I didn’t talk to him, I just held his stare. But I was transmitting this message with my stare: “Come on man, you seriously expect someone carrying a tray of hot soup to be the one to step aside for you??

I don’t know if he got my stare-message, but I’d like to imagine he did, because he didn’t budge at all. And I imagined he transmitted another stare-message back to me which sounded like: “Yeah, I do expect that!

It lasted probably about 5 seconds. If that had persisted, I do not know what might have happened. Probably nothing much, I would probably yield after a second too long. But I was pissed off, so there might be a small chance that I might accidentally let slip the tray and have the soup facing forward. Fortunately, the girl was smart enough to tug at the guy’s shirt and yank him to the side to make way for me.

I know some of you might now ask, what was my lunch. I don’t really want to share a photo of it, it was something that I regularly have in the food court nowadays. And my lunch isn’t the point of this post at all.

Okay, well, one photo…


And now let’s see how many of the comments end up talking about this lou shu fun soup rather than about my little Mexican standoff.

I don’t know, this is such a trivial thing to blog about, isn’t it? Actually this isn’t the first time such things happened to me. I remember when I was a kid, we were taught by our parents and teachers that if we come across someone walking while handling something difficult, the least we could do is step aside and give him passage. It is the decent thing to do. In fact, it is the sensible thing to do.

But apparently this common sense is reversed nowadays, I don’t know since when. I have been on the receiving end in the office cafeteria, in food courts, in malls, on the streets, for countless times. I have always encountered, when I was carrying heavy loads or hot food with me, some folks who could see me coming from afar but instead of adjusting their path slightly, walk straight in front of me before they veer off and make that “tsk” noise. Sometimes they would stop and stand in front of me. Usually I would also stop and give them a knowing look, most of the time they would then utter a “sorry” before stepping aside. Today was the first time I encounter someone who would refuse to give way to another who is carrying hot food.

And I’m not just saying for myself. I have also observed countless times, other people carrying heavy/hot items but had to stop because an asshole decides to stand in front of him/her.

I know, this is such a trivial thing, but it bothers me to no ends, because it is precisely in such trivial matters that I can observe how Malaysians have really lost common courtesy, nay, even common sense. How hard is such a simple thing as giving way to others? And how hard is it to see that it is plain common sense to give way to others who are handling difficult items and may not see you so readily?

There are things that we cannot change to easily (for example, the 2.6 billion man), but there are also things that we can change easily. Simple things like showing an ounce of common courtesy. And I think it is high time that the current crop of Malaysians do that.

Until we can start to behave like how first world country people behave, we will forever be a third world country. The journey to being a first world country starts with the people and our attitude, I believe…


  1. Having just returned from Msia, I do have to say sometimes, people can be quite rude, as in your case, the guy who did not have the common sense and sensibility to move. I notice that when going into a building, people ahead of u have no qualms abt slamming the door in your face. And they do it to young mums with kids in tow. To these losers, sometimes I yell out “Thanks a lot!” but I fear the sarcasm might be lost on them. Mum was right, there is no cure for stupidity.

    • Good that you did not yell it. Your suspicion is correct. Malaysians don’t do well with sarcasm. Strange, considering we embrace American and British sitcoms well for entertainment.

  2. I learn a new vocabs today – Mexican Standoff! I was expecting to see some lazy tortilla wraps with salsa but you actually almost bashed a black eye on that guy! LOL
    Honestly, I do encounter such menace in KL and they were sadly often Chinese CB guys instead behind the wheels. What is wrong with the world today??

    • Probably no black eye lah, unless he provoke me further. Hahaha!

      You are so right! More often than not it is the Chinese Bengs who are so “kiam pak”! Always bragging about 5000 years of civilization and yet lack basic manners…

    • If I do that in a food court in the mall, I would more likely embarrass myself than the moron I am facing off with. 🙄

  3. haha…I seldom eat in food court so this sort of scenario happen less to me…anyway, I agree that M’sians are lacking courtesy, it’s everywhere, at bus stands, lrt stations, on the road, toll booths…wherever that needs queue etc…

  4. I can’t understand how some people are so lacking in basic courtesy and common sense. The scary thing is that there are many out there behaving like that. Good thing the Mexican Standoff did not culminate into anything violent like a punch in the moron’s face 😀

    • I can’t punch him anyway, my hand was “busy”. The worst I can do was engineer and “accident” to teach him a lesson. That is probably worse than a punch though, hahaha! 😀

  5. I can’t imagine that awkward situation because in common sense, if I or anyone else see someone carrying a tray with a claypot of hot soup, we will naturally give way worrying that the one carrying may cause unwanted accidents huh?? actually it can be seen as being selfish also lah, you spilt your business but don’t kena me okay, hahaha!!

    • Yes, common sense, that’s the words! That’s why it baffles me, when what comes to me as a natural course of action, seems to be beyond some of the people I encounter nowadays. I don’t understand why some people seem to have that “oh no no no, I don’t care you are carrying hot soup, you’re in my way so you should get lost” kind of attitude. 😐

  6. Ok, say something about your loe shu fun first, I noticed and read it all.. 🙂 There are a few strands of koayteow in the claypot? Or are they something else? Now back to the situasi… in such situations where you are carrying a hot stuff and not the other party, it is natural that the one with “free hands” will move out of the way to allow the one with “hot hands” to pass… I would definitely do that… avoid being “burn” by you… hahahaa… good that there is a lady around to tug his shirt away, otherwise he might be staring for another 10 seconds!

    • Those are not kuay teow, those are cabbage shreds.

      Right? In such cases, it is more common sense than common courtesy. Unfortunately I think Malaysians nowadays, especially the younger ones, lack both. 🙄

  7. I ever experienced some aunty spilled her hot soup on my pants and she just walked away without saying sorry, I was so pissed off, I shouted at her and said “Don’t know how to say sorry ah?”…

  8. 1. I did not know that a situation like this is call a Mexican standoff. Betul kah? Anyway I am not only to verify this point.
    2. The way you put those imaginary conversation sounds like the new movie Aloha starring Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone, Bradley Cooper and Bill Murray. You should watch this movie.
    3. How long exactly was the standoff? If that man has uttered the word “Excuse me” and expect you to make way for him, would you have done so?
    4. I don’t think I have encountered this situation before so I don’t know whether it is more common now than before.
    5. Perhaps you should have said “Excuse me” loudly so that he would make way for you.
    6. Is that a pot of lo shu fan? Looks more like pan mee to me.
    hahahaha, so long hor, my comment today.

    • A Mexican standoff is a standoff between three or more people (sides) where whoever moves first might cause an effect on all three sides. I guess it is a bit dramatic to use this term to describe what happened to me hahaha! 😀

      If we kept up the stare for a few more seconds, I would just make way myself, probably. No point saying “excuse me” to someone who doesn’t want to move.

      That is most definitely lou shu fun. The bits that look like pan mee, those are cabbage shreds.

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