I had been back for around 10 days now in Kuching. A bit bored, hence tried to busy myself by finding something to whinge and whine about.
So lets focus on the oft said problem of the ill-mannerisms of sales staffs. Been to a lot of supermarkets recently. Forgot this is not Melbourne where 8 in 10 cashier will greet you with a smile and a ‘How do you do’ and say a ‘thank you’ at the end of the transaction. It is bad enough that their skin colour is a shade darker already, without being made worse by that non-smiling face at best or frown at worse. At least there’s a mitigating factor in that they will smile back if you the customer takes the initiative to say “thank you” to them.
But in fairness, I guess it is hard for them to decide which language to use when wanting to deal with customers. Malaysia is truly a melting pot of different cultures, but without an obvious national identity. The physical distinction is a bit blurred now, with Chinese looking Iban and Iban looking Chinese. Coupled with the fact that there are non-Malay or English speaking Chinese and banana Chinese, its hard for a cashier to decide whether to speak in Malay or Iban or Chinese or English or one of the dialects when approached by one of these customers with un-straightforward identity.
Speaking English may be deemed a “show-off”; speaking Malay to a Chinese may result with a “Do I look that dark???” scowl; speaking Chinese to a banana may be received with a distained “I am the new age” look. Really a language conundrum we have here. Not like in Melbourne, where English is the default lingua franca. Maybe we should really enforce the usage of Bahasa Malaysia in daily life no matter what race we are, like in Indonesia. Makes things so easier, and perhaps as an indirect result, we will have more friendly cashiers.
Seems far-fetched. An easier solution will be paying them much much more money. With more money, they can fulfill more of their needs and desires, and consequencely, will be happier. But who cares. It’s not my business anyway.