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Friday, December 27, 2013

Malaysians for the better: Malaysian Hospitality

I have spent months away from home, and this is my first two weeks back home.

As much as I missed the food, my family and friends and tons of malls to hang out in,
nothing beyond all these that I actually enjoy in this place I called home.
I can say I am quite well traveled, and I know the good and bad side of things.
The grass can be greener on the other side, but that's not always the case.
I say this based on my own personal experience.

There's one thing I hope can change for the better - the Malaysian mindset.
I know some would say I always only pin-point the negatives.
I have to agree to some extent, but I try to look at the bright side too.
The thing is, majority of Malaysians think and act the same.
And that really really irks me!

I've not experienced any so called "Malaysian Hospitality" since I got home.
Ok, maybe I did on my flights back home and outbound for my holidays.
The chief steward and older cabin crew in my MAS flight from AUK-KL were nice,
they treated me well throughout the 11-hour journey home, no complains there.
I received better treatment when the chief steward found out I was a dentist.
Even a newly graduated one is entitled to better hospitality.
He gave me a cup of Maggi mee filled with chicken, fish ball, prawns and vegetable
after our conversation about life stories, without me requesting for it.
And a slice of chocolate cake from Business Class right after I finished my dinner.
"Cos it's not everyday that I get to serve a dentist." he said. Awww.
You might say it's double standard, I agree, but he gets nothing out it.
He doesn't know my name, probably forgotten my face by now.
I will always remember is his farewell greetings "Thank you and good luck, dentist!"

I can't say the same for the younger cabin crew in the same flight.
I've pressed the flight attendant button and requested just plain water.
I think I pressed the button thrice before someone came to my service.
That's fine, but after that I had to ask 3 different flight attendants for water,
before the last flight attendant finally brought me some, a good 30 minutes later.
The flight attendant didn't even smile when serving or when I said thank you!

When I did my shopping in Forever 21 Pavillion just yesterday,
the service by the shop attendants at the changing room was horrible.
I went in twice and both were similar experience - from queuing to my turn. 
Those girls treated customers as if we were transparent.
It was bad enough that they sulk when removing the clothes from the hanger,
worse when they slam the hanger on the table after,
worst when they raised their voice (like shouting) right in front of your face,
while talking about their shifts and with the b*tch faces.
And they actually think it's alright to say "thank you" in a softer but forceful manner,
without smiling or looking into your eyes. If you don't mean it, just don't say it!

In H&M Pavillion however,  I had a slightly better shopping experience.
Malaysians are not known for their friendly customer services but the cashier was polite.
She smile as she greeted me, when collecting money and when saying thank you.
That is the very least a customer service personnel should be.
It would have been better if they attempt to strike a conversation with you.

In NZ, the standard no matter where you is "Hi, how are you?", 
but they don't expect you to answer. I know it's weird, didn't get used to it at all.
When I do, they would be pleasantly surprised and reply "I am good, thanks".
Sometimes the conversation can flow to "How can I help you today?", "I love this too!"
"This is such a bargain isn't it?", "The weather's excellent / horrible today"
and a few times "Your jacket is a beautiful, where did you get it from?"
This is solely the friendly Kiwis, you don't get the same treatment in Australia either.
It may be difficult to start an awkward conversation here, 
we were taught not to talk to strangers from young but the very least SMILE!

My first nasi lemak in months was at Village Park in Uptown Damansara.
They were busy, serve 5-star meals with efficiency but friendliness was 3 stars.
Cos they seem to want to get us out of their way constantly.
Similar busy restaurant Nirwana in Bangsar where I had banana leaf rice,
had 4-star meals with efficiency with 5-star service.
They were quick to serve, smiled and laughed with us when serving.
When the queue was getting longer, they started clearing our banana leaves,
and politely asked if we wanted to order more drinks.
That was a sign for us to pay and leave but in a more socially acceptable manner.

So please Malaysians, be pleasant to everybody although you can't please everybody.
My philosophy has always been "treat people the way you want to be treated",
cos whatever you do, karma can go both ways. 
Be positive, show fellow Malaysians and visitors our Malaysian Hospitality! =)

Enough for now, more rantings next blogpost before New Years. =P

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