Wednesday, January 31, 2007

On the Train, Apr. 5, 2005

(What you see may not be what you think it is)

The lady boarded the train at Mid Valley on my way home and her appearance told me she was a Malay lady. I was very sure of that and if I were a gambler it was a sure bet for me. Now I understand what it meant when Malcolm Gladwell describe this situation as priming. I was so focus on the obvious that my thought process was blinded and my brain made a conclusion that the lady was Malay. I completely ignored her dressing. The type of dress she was wearing and the way she tied her hair. When we got to Serdang she alighted and at the same time talking to her handphone a bit loud. What I heard actually stunned me to full attention; she spoke in a very fluent Cantonese. I looked up and watched her walked out in disbelieve. I should have known better to assume that she was Malay. In our society we could never assume race and religion by just one look. That reminded me of what KM is all about. Any body of knowledge would only be useful and properly shared if the context associated with that knowledge is right. In this case my judgment was based on appearance and made a decision based on the knowledge that I have associated with that appearance. My context was wrong.

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