And so it seems that I may have regretted migrating… Then lighting struck: Almost everyone looks frustrated, nobody is smiling, and many were plain rude to each other. Whenever I approached a counter staff for payment, I would usually greet them and smile at them just like what I did back in Australia. “Hello, how are you today?” And ending with “have a good day.”
Not that I have forgotten what’s ‘business as usual’ for most customer service experience here, I just want to maintain what I have learnt down under. Before I left Singapore, my attitude towards customer experience was ‘I am the customer, I am the king and I don’t have to be polite to any staff serving me. I expect service.’ It could just be me or typical of residents here.
Many were taken aback by my politeness and friendliness. Sometimes, I would engage in a friendly conversation with them. Some didn’t respond, avoided making eye contact or don’t give a fuck. For the record, I treat all nationalities I encountered the same: Filipinos, Chinese nationals, Singaporeans and Malaysians. Those who appreciated, were happy to serve me and gave very good customer service. For those who were receptive, it’s business as usual… Numb and immune to any stimuli. It is especially true for those who are lowly paid, over worked, serving long queues and constantly multi-tasking. Besides, there were plenty of customers who ‘expect service and acting like a big fuck.’
So who is guilty as charged? Singaporeans? Yes and no. Some of them deliberately display a fuck face when a ‘PRC, Pinoy or Vietnamese’ serve them. Similarly, my wife is a Vietnamese, and whenever she is being served by a Singaporean, Malaysian or sometimes a PRC, some would display a fuck face at her.
However, Singaporeans are not the worst of the lot. Most Singaporean young adults are reserved and unbiased. Throughout my stay here, almost all of the ugly scenes witnessed are tourists from China and a few Malaysian Chinese. I don’t want to go into details here but generally they are more demanding, less polite and likely to make negative comments on locals.
The problem is that the singapore society has been eroded beyond recognition. Do you remember in the 1990s and early 2000, Singaporeans are more relaxed, less frustrated, courteous, friendly and more conscious of our social and moral upbringing. I still remember the show Gotcha where earlier episodes were funny candid camera pranks while later ones focused on courteous and helpful social behaviour. The courteous Singa was prominently displayed everywhere promoting good social behaviour. Where’s all that now?
Nowadays, road rage is pretty common, nobody wants to give way and everyone is in a rush. I have experienced both and even been guilty of some antisocial behaviour before I so call ‘migrated’.
After 3 exhausting days in singapore, my positivity have somewhat drained. I have to reach inward, into my values, loyalty and beliefs to source for motivation.
Where are my roots now?
Now as I write this post, surrounded by caucasian strangers in the flight back to brisbane, I wonder when will our society crawl out of this propaganda sinkhole. Afterall, deep in my heart, I do yearn for a return. I am not a cacausian and haven’t live a cacausian lifestyle since young. May be my daughter will but I have my skepticism and reservations letting it happen. I realize I am spoilt for choice. Some yearn to leave but had no chance. For me, I am still torn between ‘leaving’ and ‘left’. But, who cares anyway???
For the record, not all Caucasians (living in Brisbane) are morally perfect or culturally advanced, some are worse, refusing to work and acting blatantly superior than ‘all other races.’ Generally, they are politically advanced compared to Singapore, a more socially cohesive and conscious community. That’s what I have learnt living here. Ironically, none of the educated ones acted like a bigot infront of me except for the few incapable and immoral PRCs who prefer to help ‘their kind’ and accusing me of being ‘UN-CHINESE-LIKE‘ for reporting their misdeeds to the academic faculty. They have no interests in learning but paying their way for a pass and hoping to get a PR in Australia. In the end, one of them dropped out of school because the ‘rich-man visa’ is available again from the Abbott government.
The great ‘economic’ leap forward… to ruins
What I wish our government should do to avoid slipping down the sinkhole is to get the people’s trust again through more transparency, less autocracy, cronyism and more welfare… My brother, a conservative and part of the 60.1% who voted for the PAP told me he would probably not vote for any party unless a credible opposition challenges his constituency. He said too much focus on the economy at the expense of our deep rooted social fabric will still eventually implode the whole economy. The recent Hong Kong occupy central movement can be a starting example.
Lastly, who can be a catalyst of change? Our current Prime minister? Absolutely no chance. I feel he still think Singaporeans are all daft and easily manipulated. Low Thia Kiang? I don’t know. Who else? When will our Ghandi or Obama appear? I am not against the government but indifferent to its self serving policies. We need a change, desperately.