Why some risk arrest to go to pubs, nightclubs

25-Sep-2020 Intellasia | FreeMalaysiaToday | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Apathy, defiance and extroversion are among the reasons people continue to patronise pubs and nightclubs despite the risk of arrest, according to experts.

Such places have been closed since the movement control order (MCO) came into force last March, but those caught in them consistently account for most of those arrested daily for not following SOPs.

The arrests reached a record high of 600 people on August 31.

Psychologist and criminologist Geshina Ayu Mat Saat of Universiti Sains Malaysia said an eagerness to fully resume social life, a sense of entitlement, and a distrust of official news could be some of the reasons for the SOP violations.

“To a large extent, it is public apathy, a disinterest in information or issues that are raised on local and international platforms,” she told FMT.

“For some people, what is raised in the news is seen as serving a political agenda and government manipulation, even if such news is of vital importance.

“However, it is also partially about being unable to do activities that have been the norm before the pandemic.”

Geshina also spoke of the attractiveness of breaking the law to some people who are highly extroverted and sociable. “A sense of a cheap thrill in risk-taking underlies frequenting bars and pubs,” she said.

Another factor to consider was the expectations of people with regard to what they perceive as their right.

She also said that some of those arrested probably thought the odds of them getting caught were slim considering the number of bars and pubs in the country.

On August 28, prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a speech that entertainment centres would remain closed for the duration of the RMCO due to difficulties in implementing SOPs.

At a political convention three days later, he said bars and pubs were among the few businesses which would remain closed during the RMCO.

Senior minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob last week, noting the high number of arrests involving activities in nightclubs and pubs, said he had asked local authorities to revoke the licences of such premises. He also suggested that their owners be imprisoned.

Ronald Lee of the Centre for Psychological and Counselling Services said even though the public had been told it was difficult to practise physical distancing in bars and pubs, some people probably thought such premises are no different from packed public transport during peak hours or crowded malls or planes.

“The reasoning could be, ‘If those are fine, going to a bar is fine too as long as I wear my mask, wash my hands frequently, and don’t touch my face’.

“This could be just one of the reasons related to health-risk decision making processes. There could be other reasons as well, such as peer pressure or having the optimism bias, where they think that ‘it won’t happen to me,’” he said.

Philip George, who leads the psychiatry department at the International Medical University, said human beings are social creatures and the lack of opportunity to socialise could be stressful for certain individuals.

While he noted that there had been no studies or research done on why people continue to risk arrests by frequenting bars and pubs, he said the three-month MCO, during which all non-essential travel was restricted, was “definitely” a factor.

“Now they over-celebrate the opportunity to be connected,” he said.

George also noted that fake news could play a part in influencing people’s behaviour.

Referring to some talk about reducing the risk of contracting the virus by drinking alcohol, he said: “Typically, alcohol is used to sanitise your hands. But your mouth?

“There are other orifices such as ears and eyes. Are you going to pour alcohol down there too?”



Category: Malaysia

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