Sunday, July 18, 2010

What is Happening to Singapore?

I must be crazy. Or perhaps I am just short tempered lately. But what on earth is happening to Singapore?

In the past 1 to 2 years, I have been encountering more and more service staff who have no inkling of how to speak English at all!!! And they are supposed to be in the customer service line!!

The reason I am angry is because one would expect them to at least speak some basic English considering the job that they are doing. Afterall, there are people in Singapore who do not speak Chinese.

Some of these service staff also have an attitude to go with it. I remember once when I clearly saw a service staff who I know was from China at first glance. I spoke in Chinese and asked for one food item. She packed in two instead and I quickly corrected her to say that I only wanted one. She had the cheek to speak back to me and said that I actually said two!! Wah...fainted...

The last encounter was really amazing. I was asking for a high chair for my child at a supposedly Western restaurant. The service staff stared blankly at me and I repeated the request.

The woman actually said this in Chinese: " Ni jiang hua yu hao ma?" (Can you speak in Chinese please?) I have nothing against speaking in Chinese to service staff. But my thoughts go out to the non-Chinese speaking population. How do they cope?

I have even seen with my own eyes, a service staff trying to speak to a Malay in Chinese before. After the Malay ignored her, she even like rolled her eyes, most probably thinking to herself why the customer was ignoring her.

My oh my...What is happening to Singapore??????????? Is it just me?


  1. My friend, the answer lies in our government's relentless push towards economic growth through growing the population. How do you get so many foreigners in to increase the population? By lowering the barriers and allow any tom, dick & harry to work in Singapore.

  2. Hi FF,

    Not saying about u, but I've seen pple who treat service staff with disrespect too, as if they own them anything. In my pt of view, there has to be mutual respect for each other.

    But I agree with u, service staff needs to speak basic English, otherwise it's just prejudice to non Chinese.

  3. Does the resturant's boss force you to patronize? Stop complaining if you still go there again.

  4. Maybe I am just being oversensitive =)

  5. I came across your blog when searching for the terms: What is happening to Singapore? I totally agree with your view that it's not right service staff in Sg cannot speak English and expect customers to speak their language.

    Now, when I encounter a PRC asking me if I can speak mandarin, I always reply in English: Can you speak English? I refuse to speak to them in Mandarin,even though I am capable of it. If they really cannot understand me, a simple one liner always works - I want to speak to your manager.

  6. Hi, I stumbled upon your blog while searching for "What's happening to Singapore".

    I had the same experience of getting such treatment from a China-Chinese service staff while buying food. And when I corrected her in my order, she said in mandarin "ming ming jiu shi qiao zhe ke" (literally translated to mean 'you did ordered this'), gave me a death stare and rolled her eyes at me. I shrugged, too stun to respond. She probably thinks Singaporeans are push overs to whom they can do whatever they want.


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