ON DR HARLINA. A deeper analysis.

This a rebuttal to http://www.thelevel.my/2016/04/07/dr-harlina-nothing-wrong/

The writer started with “What’s wrong is this Malaysian mentality that’s always quick to judge something at the surface value, — thus misunderstanding the real context, — and proceeding to shove their opinion down others’ throats.” Which is kind of ironic isn’t it?

Dr Harlina did just that. Quick to judge something at the surface value.

She assumed
1. The seller is younger than her
2. The seller have a special power to know the other person is older than her.

On any circumstances, the seller can be same age of the buyer. Using awk(awak?) is not a big as a sin.

To understand why the seller uses awk instead of other official sounding language. We have to understand the culture among online sellers or ig sellers.

People who are familiar with online seller that communicate via text or whatsapp can tell that the culture is to sound as friendly and relax as possible.

They use the term, “dear”, “ awk”, “bro” or other endearing terms to make their buyer as comfortable as they can. This is normal. Go to any instagram shop and look at their whatsapp screencap. The conversation was relax and “santai”

What happened with DR Harlina, is what we call as clash of culture. What the Doctor expected was a formal exchange between a seller and buyer. But what is normally exist on this online business is informal business transaction. Both of parties is not at fault here. What happened is just mere misunderstanding of expectations.

This all “awk” fiasco is actually a illustration of power distance in Malaysia. Malaysia topped the countries in the world with the highest Power Distance Index (PDI) of 100, according to a study by Professor Geert Hofstede cited by the Iclif Leadership & Governance Centre’s Asian Leadership Index 2014. (http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2014/04/02/malaysia-at-the-top-of-power-distance-index/).

What is meant to be having a high PDI? Countries with high PSI normally those in authority openly demonstrate their rank and their subordinates are not given important work and expect clear guidance from above. If anything should go wrong however, those subordinates are expected to take the blame. The relationship between the boss and his subordinates are rarely close or personal. These excerp are taken from http://cgmalaysia.blogspot.my/2012/11/malaysia-has-highest-power-distance.html?m=1

We try to relate the characteristics with DR Harlina case.

Openly demonstrate their rank : Dr Harlina introduce herself as “DR” Harlina in a transaction that her credential is not relevant

If anything should go wrong however, those subordinates are expected to take the blame : Dr Harlina blamed the seller because not respecting the elder whom she assumed is younger than her.

Countries that having lower PDI score shows that superiors treat subordinates with respect and do not pull rank. Hence you find the phenomenon in some countries where bosses and subordinates call each other by their first names. In these countries, subordinates are also entrusted with important assignments. If something goes wrong, the blame is either shared or accepted by the boss as it is his responsibility to manage. This is why we often find company bosses in Japan or Korea resigning or even committing suicide if there is some scandal in the company. Managers also often socialize with their subordinates. These also are except from http://cgmalaysia.blogspot.my/2012/11/malaysia-has-highest-power-distance.html?m=1.

The DR Harlina awk fiasco is not an individual lone case, it is actually just a illustrative of what our society are.