Thursday, January 30, 2014

Social Bigotry, Theft and Gangsterism at MPPJ Kelana Jaya Swimming Pool. If you think this is funny, something is seriously wrong with you. (Updated)

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The opposition media claimed that our rights as non-muslims are being taken away from us. At least for me, I'm simple. Don't take away my rights to lose weight to look healthy, so I can wear what I like and my rights to do the exercise I enjoy doing - that is swimming. Here's what happen. I need to maintain (and lose) my weight, so I created an exercise plan in which I went in the afternoons and evenings session for swimming at the MPPJ swimming pool at Kelana Jaya. Each session I swim for 45 minutes, then off to the showers. Then I'll be back again in the evening after my rest to continue my swimming regimen of another 45 minutes. Being there for some time already, I notice the lifeguards there having the easiest of time and job in the whole world. They don't have to do anything, pretty much sit at their asses and watch the swimmers.

In the evening session, I went in as usual to change, walked out to the pool area to place my bag securely on the seating area and quickly dip into the pool to start my regimen. Right after I got myself into the water, I heard something like someone calling me with a rude "Oi". This never happened before. So I turned quickly to see who the call was meant for and saw this overweight-sized lifeguard sitting at the iron rails forming the entry to the pool. He was using his hand gestures at me to order me to go over to him. I was already in the water that time. Notice the word I used "order", because he didn't come to where I was, tap on my shoulder gently and enquired. He was actually shouting like he's the fucking boss and I have to go to him.

I refused to bother such rude approach or listen to him, which is common rude behavior among those thinking they're "the authority",  so I stayed in the water calmly. But by then it seems there was some serious problem, for he himself now actually walked up to where I was (at the edge of the pool), ordered me to come up from the water like I'm some kind of arrested convict and demanded I go meet the other lifeguard sitting all the way at the top bench. The way he treated me is like I'm some stupid school kid, and he's the headmaster. I quickly got up from the water and headed straight for my bag so as to avoid any further confrontation that will waste my time and go home. But he doesn't want it to end and followed me right to my bag area! He then tried to grab and daringly pull my bag aside. I looked at him in the eye and pull my bag right back to me. I asked him what's the matter. You know what he said? He said my swimwear is too sexy, showing my pubic hair.

I know you may find this to be funny (because a lot of Malaysians are too lazy to stand up for themselves and quick to judge), but I wasn't out there showing anything to anybody. I have an exercise regiment I need to follow to lose weight. I explained to that overweight lifeguard that I went straight to the pool after changing into my swimwear and never parade around like some float for people to see. He saw me before in the afternoon sessions - I always go straight to the pool to swim. He then called his other collegue, a skinny dark-skinned guy, whom I know gives swimming lessons there. I looked at his colleague and asked him is this the way to treat a paying customer by shaming them of what they wear? I further explained to him that his colleague (the rude overweight one) didn't even come and request me to change into a pair of swimming shorts, but ordered me out from the pool right away in front of other swimmers, so as to make an example of me. People in Malaysia are easily scared when an example is made of and painted negatively but not me.

I further elaborated to the skinny lifeguard that if his colleague were to ask me to change to another swimwear, I would do so willingly, but he didn't. Instead he ordered me to come up from the pool and go to the other much older lifeguard (another overweight one, and how can they even be lifeguards in the first place? There are 4 of them on duty that time, only the overweight one got a problem with me) to show him what I wear - like I owe them what I wear and my life. I told him right away "you think I'm your coolie?" By then the overweight lifeguard was throwing accusations at me right at the pool area causing the other swimmers to start paying attention by saying I should be going to some gay clubs if I were to wear this type of skimpy swimwear that shows my pubic hair and even admitted that he was watching me early on in the afternoon session to catch me when I was there. I looked at his other skinny lifeguard colleague, and asked him is this the way a lifeguard is supposed to behave - targeting swimmers for any "wrongful behavior", throwing accusations at swimmers, grab their bags to search and make a scene in the public pool so everyone can see? The overweight lifeguard growled at me like he wanted a fight. I wasn't afraid at all. I was waiting to see what he's going to do next.

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UPDATE: The truth is this swimming pool is infamous for theft. I lost my wallet and bags before, and these lifeguards don't do anything about it. At the entrance, there were cases of snatch thefts. I remembered the time when I lost my wallet, I received a call from the thief himself! That was because I posted my handphone number in my worn-out wallet. The thief said he left my wallet (with my money gone, of course) at a nearby store room at the pool. Upon receiving this call, I have the funny suspicion that this thief might have some affiliation with these lifeguard, who knows? I'm not the first one being preyed on. Innocent swimmers are being shouted at, intimidated and talked down in very condesecending tone of voice - for even the littlest conduct of wearing a swimming trunk! I got another friend who hangs around the seating area before, and even that he's being reprimanded and ordered like some prison inmate! These lifeguards are unafraid to harrass swimmers because their jobs are not in jeopardy because the swimming pool facility is supported by the government municipal. With that incident, I began to be very aware of how to spend my money NOT on facilities that harassed swimmers because they think they're invincible due to government funding. Boycott is in order of this ridiculous place.

His skinny lifeguard colleague then took me to their mini-store, thinking I would rent their silly swimming shorts to replace my "pubic-hair revealing" swimwear. I continue rapping him that this is not the way to talk to paying customers. Already I felt the discomfort and uneasiness from the confrontation, and now I have to pay you to rent this used-before swimming shorts and continue swimming like nothing has happened? I know other scared, mousey Malaysians might do that - but sorry, not me. I turned to another direction in one swift move, walked away with the air of a free, dignified, democratic Malaysian, changed to my casual clothes and head to the front counter to complain. I know I'm not the first person being treated rudely before and there are other, better swimming pools than this. I've already paid my entrance fee and now I want a refund. Instead of giving me a refund, the front counter attendant responded to my complaint that next time, I need to wear a more appropriate swimwear. I told him quickly - there won't be a next time.

The truth is, complaining at the front counter is useless because they are all in the same gang of bigotry. We are not all democratic-minded Malaysians, too afraid to stand up for our own democratic freedom and very easily boxed into our unfounded fears when little, little hiccups like my very public confrontation occured. When this is allowed to happen, you cannot blame these criminals of democracy who enforces their dress codes and ways of thinking onto others. Since one group is forbidden to wear a skimpy swimwear, all other groups are forbidden too (they actually took the childish trouble to draw out the types of appropriate and not appropriate swimwear and print it on a large board by the pool.) I pointed my swimwear as appropriate since it was on the board section labelled as "appropriate", but that over-weight bastard said he saw my pubic hair, and to him he was the law.

I remembered being encountered before at the pool one sunny day by this lady and her friend - both of them wrapped up in some body latex swim suit with their bodies and heads all covered. They asked me politely when I was catching my breaths awhile at the edge of the pool after my laps "Sir, where is the pool for women?" I'm not surprised anymore with that question because apparently it was NOT obvious to her that this pool is meant for everyone, the almighty public of democratic Malaysians like you and I, regardless of your sex, race and religion. When someone asked me a polite question, I have the obligation to reply with a polite answer.

I told her she should try the children's pool.