Friday, August 03, 2007

Why does this always happen?

I have always wondered why it happens so often - not Singaporeans getting lower priority when they are served, but people complaining about such incidents. Just the other day a colleague complained that the person sitting next to her (with golden hair) on a flight had received more attention from the stewardess who explained in great detail what the lunch menu was ...the stewardess turned to her and simply asked "chicken or fish". I told her that when the stewardess was explaining the menu to the other passenger she could also hear so there was no point for repetition.

I hope Singaporeans don't become overly sensitive to such incidents. Many of these incidents can be logically explained and have nothing to do with race or skin color. The woman who happens to be Caucasian might have been a regular customer at the supermarket and hence given higher priority.
By now, I think most people have understood the concept of a genetic eve that humans are more similar to each other than any other mammals. If you take two chimps, the genetic diversity is far larger than two human beings. Skin color is the simplest of mutations and although it gives the impression that someone is different from you it is only psychological. Human beings who have lived in Singapore for 40 years are more similar to you in behavior than someone of the same skin color from another country. Being Singaporean, we have more in common in terms of behavior than being Chinese, Indian, Caucasian or Malays.


Capt_Canuck said...

Even if the caucasian woman have been a regular customer that really doesn't give a good excuse for the servers to give more and faster attention to her than to anyone else.

Though having shopped in Singapore I can see a definite preference towards caucasians and how they go out of their way to make it seem like you are getting a good deal. I remember going to SimLim City (that huge multi-level electronics place, I think that is the name) with my (then) fiancee to buy a laptop. We told a friend we went there and was told "you took a caucasian there??? bet you got screwed on the price"

Also if I (caucasian) go walking alone through the malls, I can't pass by a tailor shop without being called in to have them make me a suit of the highest quality, but when I am with my Singaporean wife they dont come near me. However, I can't pass by a single jewelery store with her on my arm without someone handing me a pamphlete or hawking a ring or necklace 'for the young lady'.

Face it, Singapore is a capitalist country where being caucasian means expate which means educated and coming from money (since how many poor homeless caucasian do you know in Singapore?) and that is what matters to businesses and service industry, keeping money coming back. I don't think it has anything to do with the colour of the skin, hair or anything else. It all has to do with who is perceived as having more money to spend and all. Money talks, and bull shit walks.

Anonymous said...

SG love FT......

Anonymous said...

(below was censored in OLC)

Have you watched how the house willy pussy when they talked about the affairs of the heart? The deliberation was masterful. The boundary clearly drawn and the sissy whip exist to ensure a fearful polite rectitude to maintain a certain order of compliance. This spread throughout the land. Soon, a smothering cloud formed and descended on the city. Oh what a transformation. Docile and subdued, the city once bright now became dark. There is no more color. No more street fashion. A shame culture has turned lions into stuffed kitty. So cute, so cute, a school girl gushed. Must queue, must queue to be like them.
If we are good little people, there will always be food slide below our doors. Even mice never have it so good.

Across the land there was another House.Plenty of fury, fireworks, noise and also moments of quiet platitude there. It was apparent the mould and mood were completely different from the former house. People were not inclined towards corporate attires. From gabana, grunt to naked, no one bat an eyelid. But wait, naked? A timid tried to conceal her shameful shade . Isn't that rude? She asked politely. Only if you have something to hide, retorted a member in the House. Soon, the honesty trickle into the streets. People came out of their shells. There was no condemnation. Only room to grow. With this new found freedom, many realised they walked awkwardly at times. No one laughed though. No one jeered. Soon, these find their pace. All were attuned to the strong rhythmic beat in the middle. The beat added strength upon strength and they became bolder in their stride. Like lions, these are fed on meat, not stale bread through the iron door.

And I thought, if there is a war, which house will you fight next to? A bunch of lions or people beaten into mice? Now that wouldn't be a polite question to ask, would it?

(i believe, point made?)

Anonymous said...

you're right, Lucky. There is no point of complaining. I think this is small matter. i have lost count to the number of times this has happened to me.

Among singaporeans, its normal to shorten conversations. its not in our nature to have pleasantries in conversations.

"u how?" "ok. u how?" "good. tomorrow on?" "can. see u"

so a "Chicken or fish?", the stewardess is trying her best to be as Singaporean to a Singaporean. The lengthy explanation is a typical conversation for westerners.

A small slight like that and this lady complain we still have a long way to go before becoming a nation? come on...

Rather than complain on a newspaper and make statements like we're not yet a nation, i think it would have been much better that she spoke with the manager of the supermarket, or just raise her voice to the attendant to get noticed.

complain for waht? what does it get you? will it mean the supermarket will be more attentive to locals and minorities? they're not even named.

want to complain - complain big issues lah...and complain in the right avenues lah... Put newspaper for waht?

Sometimes, ah...Singaporeans. No wonder govt give up on some of us.

Maybe we become a real nation when we can stop complaining about trivial matters, and use a bit more thinking and logic before doing anything.


Anonymous said...

I think Mr anonymous who left the last comment belong to the majority race here...try being a minority for just one day and u will understand how we are being treated....easy to talk when itz not you in the situation...

Anonymous said...

I'm caucasian. I think a fair number of Singaporeans have it in their minds that we are somehow always getting good service and treatment, as evidenced by that newspaper article. Therefore, many Singaporeans do their part to make sure Caucasians are treated badly (to make up for the good service they think we are getting elsewhere). There used to be an anti-Caucasian Singaporean racist website called (it's now defunct), which encouraged Singaporeans to treat caucasians badly. The website had a whole list of things to do to be mean to Caucasians. Racism works both ways.

Anonymous said...

a people immersed in corporate ideologies all their lives will not be able to stand up when it counts. it is, like one blogger said, deplete of ethical courage. ethical courage doesnt not put food on the table, so she said. it can't pay for the pair of prada shoes or that piece of jelwery
deplete of backbones, it can only collapse, fall flat and walked over by the powers.
profits even reign in the war field.

Anonymous said...

not forgetting. blind,dumb, deaf and

Useless Breed said...

What is there to fight for? Nothing.And they still don't get it.LOL.

Anonymous said...

Not too long ago, Singapore was a colony of the British Empire; for those born before the Fifties, The Whites were masters. Personally, I noticed that most locals liked to work for the White Masters and having them as their customers. The Local Maids liked to work in angmoh households, the taxi drivers liked to pick the sailors(including the Marines-angmoh pengs). The bargirls especially and the transvestites at Bugis would all forgo sleeps to keep the angmoh company. There was reason for carrying the angmoh then, because they were mostly kind, generous and humane. In that era, most whites in S E Asia and India were in control of the lands they annexed for the British Empire. In all honesty, most of the British Colonies were doing extremely well economically and socially. Credits must be given to the British Masters' humane and welfare orientated treatments of their subjects. A Malaysian cabinet member even said not too long ago that he missed the Colonial System, I missed it badly too myself. TODAY, most locals are still fond of angmohs, specifically for their working system(more democratic) and culture(romantic-bigger and stronger?). The preference stems from a short (hundred year or so) historical experience the angmohs provided vis a vis the local leaders, employers, customers have proven so far. Dare I say that so long as the Local, Asian and S E Asian Leaderships, Employers insist that Leadership means supremacy, the right to command, demand and ride rough over their subjects, the Latter will for pragmatic and practical reason, discriminates against their own kinds. Money crazy, power crazy and fame crazy leadership will breed a whole lot of lost, culturally biased and MATERIAL WORSHIPPERS in their citizenry, regards from scb.

LuckySingaporean said...

anon 11:35,

Don't worry the PAP will help us to break from our colonial past. Unfortunately for HongKong, they were under colonial rule for too long and the British infected with alot of bad ideas such as democracy, welfare for hongkongers, and freedom of the press. Thank goodness the PAP help to throw out our colonial masters and put in place its own system of govt over the last 40 years.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11.35 the proof is in the pudding, PAP MP married foreigner and it is common knowledge that local girls prejudice against local men. Sad but true!From scb.

Anonymous said...

It appears to be that many Singaporeans have the minds of children. "She got more attention than I did...waaaaa". Sound familiar? I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that you behave this way with a government that has shaped your every thought since birth.

Anonymous said...

to Anon 11.02pm,

I think you were referring to me. I am a minority, and not of the majority race.

Sometimes, as a minority, we carry a chip on our shoulders. we're always on the lookout for the smallest things when we are wronged.

Perhaps that salesperson is not worldly enough to know better, perhaps the causasian customer tips well, or has a kind thankyou afterwards...

maybe he's had bad or nasty experiences dealing with indian customers in the past that he's hesitant to help. the reaction of writing a complaint letter to the press over this small matter already gives a reflection of the attitude of this lady.

Anyway, we'll never know the motivations of that salesperson in wanting to help the causasin lady first.

Perhaps, to solve the problem, he needs to be reminded to treat everyone fairly, and serve all on a first-come-first-served basis.

To generalise her one incident of bad service to "Whites get better treatment", and "We're not there yet as a nation" is, i think, ridiculous. and EVEN MORE ridiculous when you have to write to a newspaper to complain.


Anonymous said...

to aygee

you neber step into any establishment regularly patronised by ang mohs and find to your indignation that the ang mohs are indeed given preferential treatment over you??? no? try zoo, clubs in boat quay, cold storage, sia and goodwood park hotel etc etc, ok?

what wld be ridiculous is that every singaporean who had been given cold shoulder in service over ang mohs had to write in and the shitty times to publish all before the rest of sinkees could wake up their ideas!

we are not saying all service staff are like that, but some definitely need to examine their heads (or hearts).

Anonymous said...

To anon 10.38am,

yes, i have been to all the venues you've mentioned, and more. Yes, i have seen how sometimes they are given better treatment.

You talk about bad service and - try flying into America and see how they treat you at airports, especially when you have a "Bin" in your name.

while sometimes some SQ cabin crew gives preferential treatment to westerners, there are also many other times where i was given just as good service.

While one staff in a pub may be extremely nice to a foreigner, there were other staff members of that same bar who are nice to me.

so I view it as an individual mentality, rather than a blanket generalisation - just like u said.

My point being, coming from a service industry, i can say that those who give better treatment to westerners is probably because he/she has had good experiences in dealing with white people.

When you're in a supermarket - and the angmoh next to you gets better treatment, how do you react? what did u do?

1. Did you pleasantly reminded that person that you were first?
2. Or did you get uptight and start passing remarks about poor service, etc etc?
3. Or did you fill up a Comment Box at that supermarket, or have a kind word to the manager about their service?

Which actions will result in a more positive reinforcement of future behaviour of the service staff?

I have Malaysian friends in the service industry who says they hate dealing with Singaporeans because Singaporeans are arrogant and demanding, yet dont want to pay. I was reading this blog (shut down now) by a Jetstar stewardess, who hates Hongkongers because they are rude. I have SQ friends who hate India flights because the Indian passengers are annoying. When shopping in another country, how much do you haggle and ask for a better price, when the angmoh simply just pay whatever's on the pricetag?

Talk about racism, let me flip the argument around, in line with Capt Canuck's earlier comments on this page - while one BBQ stingray guy gives me a discount at Newton, he charges extra to a foreigner. While my tailor gives me a good rate for the shirts i make with him, he charges a premium to his angmoh customers.

what is your response to that?

to sum up - if you've ever been in the service industry, sometimes you can understand why some people are more inclined to give better treatment to some people and less to others. That behaviour is a reinforcement to previous experiences.


Anonymous said...

oh, and if we were to come back to Lucky's post...

The whole point I'm trying to put across is that this lady who complains about poor service, as a reflection of our status of becoming a nation, is simply absurd. And even more absurd when she links it to racism.

Its not the service staff who needs to have their heads/hearts examined, maybe it should be this lady instead.

On that note, this will be my final comment on Lucky's post for this topic.


Anonymous said...

to aygee

i'm the 10.38. coincidentally, i AM in the service sector. and i have my fair share of nasty customers. however i make it a point to treat everybody nicely, cos that is only professional. you should not bring in any prejudice based on your previous experience when dealing with customers, even if it is the very same individual (and we are not even talking about steretyping pple) who gives you crap at the last contact.

with your service attitude, i won't be surprised that sporeans continue to receive less "preferential" treatment over ang mohs - and be PROUD of it.


Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Anon 11.35 the proof is in the pudding, PAP MP married foreigner and it is common knowledge that local girls prejudice against local men. Sad but true!From scb.

11:20 PM "

Are you sure it's because of prejudice? Or was it because our dear MP so old, not pretty so local men dowan and then hence she bo pian but choose to marry foreigner?

Anonymous said...

Al Gore yesterday said: ""We live in a world where what used to be called propaganda now has a major role to play in shaping public opinion."
ah ah ah I bet he wont shake hand with uncle Lee.

Anonymous said...

6:13 - I see you didn't answer the question posed to you. Couldn't think of an answer? You are the type that attributes any negative treatment you get as being due to "racism" when it is much more likely that YOU are the reason you weren't treated as nicely.

I have found some singaporeans (probably you), have this attitude that they are automatically deserving to be treated the same as whoever is around them *regardless* of how they act. This is absurd. The bottom line is, if you aren't as courteous, if you don't ask the right questions, if you don't spend as much money you are not going to be treated the same way....I could go on and on but I hope you get the point.

One more point I want to make, is there seem to be some people here that seem to want to go out of their way and be rude or arrogant to foreigners due to some self-perceived unfair treatment. And then you complain about everything and blame it on "ang mos". Which in itself pisses most of us off. I'm sure you wouldn't like coming over to Aus and being called yellow small eye all day would you?

And yes, we do get charged more money whenever there isn't a sticker price on something.

Anonymous said...

I think there's a more general theme going on here than just service. Look at the Straits times forum and just about every week (at least for the past few weeks) there is an article about some "wrong doing" by Caucasian foreigners. Not only involving "she was treated better than me", but also bad driving etc.

I think if anything, because we are so visibly different it's an easy scapegoat to single out for people. As an example, I've seen chinese people who are dressed nicely treated better in high end stores than chinese people wearing average clothes. But no one complains. If one of them were a different color you could bet some small minded individual would get offended and write the newspaper for racism.

Singaporeans like to talk about how multicultural and equal this place is, but I find that while this is true to an extent (based on a heavy govt hand), people here are often quick to generalize people by race and stereotype, as well as get into the more typical racist behaviors. I first learned of this not from being a victim of it myself, but by seeing how some poor indian workers were treated.

And last time I checked...caucasians weren't coming over and "stealing your jobs" as singaporeans often like to complain about. Rather, it is the low cost immigrants from india and china generally. The more skilled ones usually go elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

singaporeans are generally a racist,inconsiderate bunch.being a minority here, ive had to go through countless situations whereby people are speaking mandarin in a business context and they ignore the fact that i do not speak nor understand the language. oh and there are the racist comments in the newspapers and blogs...just have a go at any blog, you'll find evidence of racism in this country

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