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Discuss about life in Singapore. Ask about cost of living, housing, travel, etiquette & lifestyle. Share experience & advice with Singaporeans & expat staying in Singapore.
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taxico
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Post by taxico » Sat, 18 Oct 2008 7:52 am

QRM wrote:
taxico wrote: nevertheless, i find as long as the black/brown/yellow/non-white person speaks properly and carries himself properly, the service gets better & better.
So its elitism then, when you say speaks "properly" do you mean Queens English rather than Singlish, and that only comes about if a huge sum of money has been spent on overseas education?

If you are black/brown/yellow/non-white person who cant speak properly you are in trouble?
i don't believe bad english alone will get you bad service.

just behave and enunciate properly; don't make the waiter's life horrible by giving lip. waiting on tables is what, maybe a rung above garbage collectors? (in singapore)

would you expect your garbage man to be nice to you while picking up your trash?

so it's not quite "elitism." the service sector in singapore isn't as "refined" as elsewhere so if you're speaking and behaving in a weird/negative way it would annoy them even more.

neither do i think you're up for major evil treatment if you have a strong accent (irish/cockney/russian?) or can't speak english properly - heaps of non english-speaking (and non mandarin-speaking) people come to singapore and they fare fine.

but these are based on my observation - something i enjoy doing especially in singapore...!

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road.not.taken
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Post by road.not.taken » Sat, 18 Oct 2008 8:16 am

taxico wrote:i don't believe bad english alone will get you bad service.
Not sure which of you originally said this but I have to agree. Specifically for food service, there is a real discrepancy in how a western meal is served and a Chinese meal. This leads to all sorts of problems that are still being worked out. It's often not about misunderstanding the words (though, for sure, at times it is just that).

The other day in a western restaurant we ordered an item, new to their menu and the waitress (who of course was not the same person who took our order, Problem #1) delivered the item, no one realized it was the large size, not the small we ordered. We dug in and started eating, then she came over and mumbled "so, sorry that is the large size, is that fine for you? "

I said, yes it's fine, but you have to charge us for the small, we didn't ask for a large and didn't know this was a large.

But, that is a large size, is that OK for you?

Yes, it's OK, but you shouldn't charge us for a large, we didn't ask for it.

That is the large size.

I know, you've told me that three times now. I don't understand, you'd have to just throw it away if we sent it back, we've already eaten half of it. What is it your hoping I'm going to do?

Off she goes to talk to a Manager and then: so sorry we won't charge you for the large.

:roll:

Part of the retailers credo here is the customers always wrong.

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taxico
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Post by taxico » Sat, 18 Oct 2008 8:35 am

the service industry there is just weird and i'm not looking forward to having to deal with any singaporean wait staff/phone persons because 99% of them exist solely to drive people's blood pressure up.

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Post by kristyna » Sat, 18 Oct 2008 11:24 am

taxico wrote:the service industry there is just weird and i'm not looking forward to having to deal with any singaporean wait staff/phone persons because 99% of them exist solely to drive people's blood pressure up.
...and Singlish makes it even worse! They don't understand half of the time. Why the hell they say 'Oh, yes, madam' with a fake smile, when they didn't get it! :x

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Post by snowqueen » Sat, 18 Oct 2008 3:54 pm

I have to say that the service we have received in shops and restaurants etc has been excellent, however I do still get aggitated when being followed around a shop. I had 3 assistants follow me whilst looking for a hand held vacuum cleaner at Best this week - I turned round to one of them and said that I will come to him if I need any help - he moved away and 5 seconds later a lady came and stood next to me. Aggh.

Myself and my husband have been more appauld by other expat's behavour here and can't believe the way some westerners talk to locals.

Also, we were out cycling/blading this morning - the path was quite narrow so we got into single file but the westerners coming in the opposite direction did not extend the same courtesy and practically pushed us off the track. Ignorant f***ckers.

I have also heard an indian resident at our condo speak very rudely to the bus driver here for no reason.

So, with this kind of behavour going on by fellow westerners, it's hardly surprising the locals are not being nice towards us all the time.

I'm just over 5 months pregnant and only once has someone given up a seat on the MRT, and that wasn't even a Priority Seat. I had a Singaporean businessman barge me out of the way this week so he could get the remaining seat left on the train. However, there was a lady on a different day who looked like she could give birth any second - at no-one gave up a seat for her either.

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Post by NZGirl » Sat, 18 Oct 2008 5:23 pm

I also have a very negative impression on the locals. I find them to generally to be rude, ignorant and very self absorbed.

Things I dont care for are things like opening the door to let yourself through and people pushing past you like your opening the door for you.
The constant pushing and shoving down the streets, and letting their children run wild in the malls....

In saying that I have met a few locals that are lovely, but they are the ones that have lived overseas in a western society.

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Post by road.not.taken » Sat, 18 Oct 2008 5:31 pm

NZGirl wrote:I also have a very negative impression on the locals.
This is funny because whether or not the original poster meant to write 'of' locals and misspelled it as 'on' locals, you've written it out again as 'on'. The gist of what you've written above is that locals have a negative impression of you or about you. Considering the bad karma you're tossing around, it just might be true :D

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Post by QRM » Fri, 24 Oct 2008 8:56 am

road.not.taken wrote:
taxico wrote:i don't believe bad english alone will get you bad service.
Off she goes to talk to a Manager and then: so sorry we won't charge you for the large.

:roll:

Part of the retailers credo here is the customers always wrong.
3 months ago I ordered one of those crosscom " your kids wont grow up deformed like quasimodo" desks. Just been informed they messed up the order, but there is a new version and if I want it I would have to pay 90 bucks extra, (the whole lot cost about 3500) I told them its their fault, and in the West that would be known as "taking the piss". I asked for a full refund and cancel the whole order. Lots of phone calls to management later, they finally agree to a "good will gesture" and let me have it for the original price, but I have to wait again for delivery for the new parts.

I mean if they had their customer service hat screwed on it should be a call to me saying, sorry we messed up, we will cover the cost of the new part and as a gesture of good will and in appreciation of your understanding we will be sending you a crosscom teddy bear for your daughter.

When I highlighted how crap the customer service is, the sales girls joked that I have been in Singapore long enough now to be used to it.

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Post by boffenl » Fri, 24 Oct 2008 10:04 am

"Having been brought up in Hong Kong, I remember the biggest culture shock when I went to the UK as a kid, was seeing white folks digging the road and driving a bus.

I thought that's what most westerners like it here in Asia, even trailer trash get treated like royalty, especially by the SPGs "

I HAD to respond to the trailer trash comment. There are many, many expats who are here by LUCK. Not sure they would be exactly trailer trash in their home country, but certainly not living in $15,000 p/m homes with two maids. Made me giggle recently when I overheard a "Harley" momma suggest there's no good BBQ here in Singapore. This after she suggested $60 was a deal for lunch. AUGH! Where do these companies find these people? But you're right, that's why so many don't want to leave!

And I hope to hell I never get used to the pushing. Living in DC for years, you'd NEVER expect someone behind you to barge infront like they own the Metro. I was shocked when my 6 yr old rushed onto the elevator the other day. I said loudly--so everyone could here me--Get back here and wait your turn. Don't be so Kiasu! I think I struck them dumb. Of course my kid said sorry to the people getting off. But so shocking the acculturation can happen so quickly.

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Post by k1w1 » Sun, 26 Oct 2008 9:05 pm

boffenl wrote:There are many, many expats who are here by LUCK. Not sure they would be exactly trailer trash in their home country, but certainly not living in $15,000 p/m homes with two maids. Made me giggle recently when I overheard a "Harley" momma suggest there's no good BBQ here in Singapore. This after she suggested $60 was a deal for lunch. AUGH! Where do these companies find these people? But you're right, that's why so many don't want to leave!
I had just typed up a big rant, and then realised I was about to unleash that on you, when really I am addressing the points you have made above - in general, and not directly to you. This is an (increasingly common?) idea that a lot of people seem to have here. Frankly I am really, really tired of it. I actually snapped someone's head off for making a similar comment not too long ago about how I wouldn't want to go home since 'you have it soooooo good here'...

While I DO enjoy living here (most of the time - nothing is perfect, after all), I resent the assumption that I simply live here because I couldn't hack (an apparently God-awful) life that awaits me at home. I, like most expats, do not come from the back-waters of hell. I am not here purely because I have a white face. My employment pass application (like EVERY other applicant) requires my employer to prove my job cannot be filled locally. I do not resent this - actually, I applaud it. I did not simply buy my degrees from my university - I had to work for them. This is another assumption that gets right under my skin: I did not simply turn up to school and paint pictures and eat my lunch for twelve years. My education was demanding in an entirely different way. Having long examinations from an early age does not mean a person's education was better or harder.

How many people, really, do you know that are EMPLOYED here, and are here purely by luck? (Oh yes, I know first-hand about the vulgar wives that you can find here. "Hideous" is really an understatement, but they are not what I am talking about...) Why is Singapore seen as some amazing, wonderful place and expats had better be told they are all damned lucky to be here? I'm so sick and tired of the assumption that I have never lived as good as what I live here.

Actually, I could go home and have a decent job and a decent life. I could have a car, a house, a garden and all the rest of the things that seem to be seen as "luxuries you only have now because you are lucky enough to be here in Singapore". No, I couldn't have a maid, but that is because my country has labour laws which would prevent this kind of thing - labour laws that I am actually very, very grateful for. (But THAT is a rant I will save for another day! :wink: )

edit: weird wording

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Post by Plavt » Sun, 26 Oct 2008 9:29 pm

boffenl wrote:"Having been brought up in Hong Kong, I remember the biggest culture shock when I went to the UK as a kid, was seeing white folks digging the road and driving a bus.
I have a friend who has a University degree and is a qualified teacher; he's far happier driving a bus for a living!!
I thought that's what most westerners like it here in Asia, even trailer trash get treated like royalty, especially by the SPGs "
Errr.. um what? I thought a good many especially newcomers are on local terms?

Just what is 'trailer trash?' :???: :???:

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Post by Global Citizen » Sun, 26 Oct 2008 9:36 pm

k1w1 wrote: Actually, I could go home and have a decent job and a decent life. I could have a car, a house, a garden and all the rest of the things that seem to be seen as "luxuries you only have now because you are lucky enough to be here in Singapore". No, I couldn't have a maid, but that is because my country has labour laws which would prevent this kind of thing - labour laws that I am actually very, very grateful for. (But THAT is a rant I will save for another day! :wink: )

edit: weird wording
With reference to your points above, I'm curious K1w1 and please take this question for exactly what it is, what is it that keeps you living in Singapore?
One man's meat is another's poison.

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Post by sierra2469alpha » Sun, 26 Oct 2008 9:36 pm

k1w1 - good points as always. A suggestion - while you talk about the "...hideous wives...", please do remember that there are also those of us that come over to support our wives.

Mr. P

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Post by sierra2469alpha » Sun, 26 Oct 2008 9:40 pm

Plavt wrote: Just what is 'trailer trash?' :???: :???:
A derogatory term for those of feeble minds, mate. Think of all those silly cable TV shows that I watch all the time - larger people with not a huge amount of intelligence or self-perpetuating longevity.

I believe the saying is "Trailer Park Trash" - very nasty term.

But I watch cable TV! So what would I know! Mr. P

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Post by k1w1 » Sun, 26 Oct 2008 9:48 pm

Global Citizen wrote:
k1w1 wrote: Actually, I could go home and have a decent job and a decent life. I could have a car, a house, a garden and all the rest of the things that seem to be seen as "luxuries you only have now because you are lucky enough to be here in Singapore". No, I couldn't have a maid, but that is because my country has labour laws which would prevent this kind of thing - labour laws that I am actually very, very grateful for. (But THAT is a rant I will save for another day! :wink: )

edit: weird wording
With reference to your points above, I'm curious K1w1 and please take this question for exactly what it is, what is it that keeps you living in Singapore?
I like where I work. My kids are happy in school here. I enjoy the travel options we have. I have lots of very good friends here now. I guess I've just become very comfortable. Or old. :)

I do like it here, don't get me wrong. I just like home too.

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