Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Foreigners are rude; Singaporeans are...

Whenever a customer is being ill-treated, Singaporeans will form a quick thought about the whole affair, e.g. "How freaking rude, was he/she Singaporean?".
If the service staff, e.g. Bus captain shouted, "Ooii... Knn, tap the card", when a passenger forget to tap his/her Ezlink card upon boarding the bus, the Singaporean passenger will form a thought, "either he's Singaporean or Malaysian".
Lately, a KOI staff was rude to a customer, and the customer subsequently posted her complain on social media that got viral. Therealsingapore picked it up and posted the story with the first paragraph "KOI Café announced on Monday that they have now fired the foreign staff member who was involved in the incident resulting in a customer complaining about her treatment in a viral video".
The description "foreign staff" seemed to suggest that, "oh, no wonder la.... It's a foreigner. It's not surprising then.... That's our foreign talent (FT) at work. We should thank the garment".
Wait a minute.
Don't we see something wrong here?
Rude staff is a rude person. To give them a benefit of the doubt, their behaviour could have been attributed to bad management. OR it could be the reciprocal/reaction towards an unruly customer, or it could be the late salary, among others. However, as customer service staff, there shouldn't be an excuse for being rude to customers. Similarly, there shouldn't be an excuse that since he/she is a Singaporean or foreigner, hence is alright/expected.
Most of the time, bad service stem from bad management. A management that constantly take into account staffs' input about status quo of business operation will alleviate staffs' stress and improve service operation. Alas, in Singapore, it's easy to fire a staff rather than put the blame on management. Employers here are lucky that Workers Union in Singapore is not strong, so it's easier to blame everything on a single staff (and fire her) rather than itself.
An example would be on our SBS/SMRT buses. The bus captains are "pressured" by management to ensure that each customer is tapping their Ezlink card upon boarding. In addition, captains need to ensure that no passenger is standing on the upper deck of a double-decker bus. One problem though. There is no internal communication system for bus captains to communicate with passengers. As a result, they have to shout most of the time. If a passenger is standing on the upper deck, the bus captain had to stop the bus, move up the deck and ask the passenger to move down. Imagine the repetitive action everyday and the stress on the throat and mind! Surely someone must have highlighted the problem to the management? Or is there lack of communication with management too?
Even if bus captains are rude and can't communicate with passengers in decent way, as a management, surely is not costly to implement a buzzer/warning tune to remind passengers to tap their cards rather than asking bus captains to shout their lungs out, or worst, shouting vulgarity.
Last, it's UGLY that some Singaporeans and especially Singapore alternative online news, are inculcating bad values to people of multi-ethnicity and culturally and religiously diverse Singapore. There is the good of being nationalist, but a great risk of being plain Xenophobic pain-in-butt if left unchecked. Don't blame everything bad on "someone else" (them/their kind) without thinking out of the box (e.g. figuring out the real issue at hand). Bad management/staff is just that and doesn't involve skin colour, culture, religion, sex, and others. 
Just a thought.

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