Sometimes parents behave badly in public, perhaps forgetting that there will be consequences to their actions. Maybe they are under pressure; maybe they usually behave badly anyway; maybe they are spoiling for a fight.
The past week has seen two fathers berating employees who were only doing their jobs.
Edi Rejang scolded a beer promoter even though he must have known that she was in the non-halal section of the supermarket. Perhaps he had a bad day at work, or at home. Perhaps he was just letting off steam and the girl happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But no one is forced to buy beer at supermarkets. There was certainly no need to bring in race. If he objected to the sale of alcohol, he should have brought it up with his MP.
If he had been accompanied by his family or friends, surely they would have felt embarrassed by his actions. But sadly, behaviour like this is all too common. It is embarrassing to watch and throws doubt on his upbringing.
Just days before, another father threw a temper tantrum at a KLIA employee. MIC president SA Vigneswaran was said to have breached security protocol but maintained that he did nothing wrong.
Mothers can behave badly too, not just fathers. Several months ago, the grandchild of former home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was featured in a video clip, scolding Malaysians and telling them she would take revenge on behalf of her grandfather.
Her mother should have realised the consequences of such an act. But all too often, they think they can do no wrong.
At least Edi has realised the error of his ways and apologised. Not everyone is willing to do even that.
* The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.