I definitely wasn't in a rush to post anything related to smoking but having my nostrils attacked over breakfast (at hawkers) by the posoinous smoke of a cigarette pushed me over the edge! I skipped school today for no outrageous (nor valid) reasons and went for breakfast with Mum, Dad and Edmund at the nearby hawker centre, a distant walk away from home. Mum's office is shut down today due to Qing Ming (Chinese All Souls Day, a totally different thing from Hungry Ghost Festival!). So she had time with me.
Anyway, what happened was this. Before reaching down to the last spoonful of oily and cholestrol filled Fried Rice while discussing with Mom about our Asian diet, (which I came about to realise that it consists mostly of carbohydrates and fat) my nostrils were literally assaulted by the smoke of burning cigarette (which I despise very much F.Y.I) of the man sitting beside me. Urgh. My whole breakfast was ruined and I lost my appetite immediately and swallowed the spoonful of oily and cholestrol rich fried rice with the sickly taste of nicotine or tar.
Oh, this is definitely not the first time for me, neither it is for other Malaysians or even worse, Penangites. It's such a common thing nowadays. If it's the old ah pek who was smoking with his right leg folded into half, on his chair while sipping his cup of coffee in a typically, old fashioned coffee shop (not hawker centre), he'll defnitely be excused by me. But now, things seems to be different. Men (and women) who look like they're dressed for a royal ball or for an important meeting with a client, with high-tech mobile phones and the occasional bluetooth device stuck on the ear, are seen lepak-ing around at numerous hawker centres with a cigarette (or two) in their hand while they yell their heads off to the other line through the phone. This is fairly obvious especially during office lunch times.
The ah pek is totally excusable as he was not well-educated and was definitely not exposed to the dangers of smoking at his time. But it's inexcusable for the people who were dressed so well. I'm sure they're educated enough to dress as handsomely as their paid (which explains those expensive gizmos and gadgets) for their job. I'm sure in those 16 years (or more) of education they recieved to get them where they are today, the dangers of smoking was at least made an issue to them by the helpless Science teachers. And look at what they've become. It's sad. Both to the smoker and the community who has to bear with them. Sometimes, I really admire the people who has enough courage to go up to the smoker and show them the 'No Smoking' signs in public places.
My ultimate fear of doing so is that you would never know who the person is. The smoker would probably be the leader of a certain triad who makes dumplings out of human flesh. Not that I've heard off any since after I watched a Cantonese movie of a triad doing such a thing when I was 6. Offending him would be the last thing a health-orientated guy (I didn't say me!) would wanna do. He might just turn up and pull out a gun from his socks and shoot you on the head. So, that explains why most of the time, I just bear with it and try to get out of that certain place as fast as possible. Little amount of nicotine (or whatever that's contained in cigarettes these days) would be the best substitute for death than from dying instantly from a gunshot!
The worst thing from this smoking habit in public is that it's being picked up by students also. To make the worst worser, even teenage school girls are following this trend. It's so sick. I'm not sure what goes on in their minds, but can't they see the dangers of smoking? The government is already doing their best at raising awareness through campaigning. The 'Tak Nak' anti-smoking campaign is the most common one in Malaysia. As a student, I personally have to say that I was exposed to the dangers of smoking in my Form 3 Science and it really got me thinking twice before I'd like to think of taking a puff. What about them? Is the cause of this to be entirely dumped on peer pressure? Do teen smokers think it's "cool" and "happening" to be holding a cigarette in your hand while you puff out clouds of poison? Or is this to be blame on low moral values? Lack of parent's guidance? Religion plays a role too.
Female smokers are the ones more discouraged to take up the habit of smoking. The only importance I know off is that it'll affect your babies when you finally grow up, get married to a husband and conceive. Chances of getting physically challenged babies are high. And in recent surveys, 1 out of 10 men asked are only willing to date a woman who's a smoker. It's not the best potrayal of an adequate woman, eventhough you may posses all the moral values in the world. Women's image are more important than a man's. Like how important virgnity is to a woman. First impression says alot! So women, think twice before you'd like to try that 1st puff. Chances are, it'll lead to the second.
I'm definitely not descriminating smokers entirely. This is coming from a son of a former smoker. Dad was a heavy smoker. He just gave it up recently, after 21 years of persuasion from the family. He's doing fine. But we came to realise that he became more temperamental at certain times. We usually will calm him down and he's doing just fine. Smokers are also human. Human who needs love and attention and a little psychological help. if it's anything worth saying, don't descriminate smokers, instead, help them make a change in anyway possible. Just like AIDS patients, let's treat them all normally.
As unhappy as I am about this smoking matter getting out of hand, we should not hate smokers. Like Grace used to do, she'll crunch her face up in a disgusted manner at a smoker if the smoker happens to be around or if she's stuck in a place with a smoker, until I approached her and told her it was not a very nice thing to do to be shooting looks of disgust and despise at smokers. She stopped eventually, with a normal cover up of her nose and mouth with her hand when she comes about a situation like that. I hope we all do the same.
Although this post may have not brought any useful information of smoking or ways to raise awareness, but I think I got my opinion through.