Where is the love?

I complain a lot. And I mean really a lot.

There are people who don’t understand why I complain so much, and they assume I’m unhappy all the time.

Couldn’t be more false actually. I’m quite happy with my life as it is, but there’s always something to improve. My mum often impressed upon me the need to fix things before they fix you.

Plus it’s genetic. Already, Isabel is showing the same traits as she passes judgement on anything that does not please her.

But I hope my children grow up to be “Useful Complainants”. Which means people who complain, but not about insignificant issues. When I get unhappy about something, it’s usually because it’s plain wrong.

Digression here: I used to have long debates with Derrick Paulo and Sze Wang in NTU about who defines right and wrong. Society believes morality is subjective, but as a Christian, I believe that God has put in us the ability to discern between the most basic of actions.

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse – Romans 1:18-20

This post isn’t really about the general wickedness of man, but close enough.

The problem is that more and more, I see people who insist on complaining about really minor issues. It seems that Singaporeans equate service quality with grovelling at one’s feet.

So what if people give you a bored look when serving you tea? Do waiters and salesmen owe customers a living? Have customers ever thought if they deserved to be treated well by bossing people around?

When a friend read my earlier post about how the car sales guy left a blue pen mark on my new car leather seat, she said she would have demanded that the dealer clean up the car or provid some compensation.

I told her it’s no biggie anyway, because the point is that he didn’t mean to do it, and everyone’s just trying to make a living here. Why make things so difficult for everyone? Do we not make mistakes every week? Will one not spend more time and effort trying to solve this insignificant matter?

Most importantly, what kind of satisfaction do we get from doing such things? Will it make us feel more powerful now that we have someone beneath us to do our bidding?

But you see, they still don’t owe you a living.

(By the way, the pen mark mysteriously disappeared this week from Doracar)

Graciousness is a rare thing in our community. How many times do I see pregnant or old people denied a seat on the trains. Every week, some neighbour at my flat will hurry and get into the lift and zoom up even though he has seen me and Goy carrying the sleeping kids. Every night I resist cursing my upstairs neighbour whose inconsideration cost me a grand to buy him an air-con (which he never said one word of thanks for).

The worst thing is, people are encouraged to nitpick on each other through various means. For example, parents speak up so much in school, teachers can no longer spank their kids.

Marie told me of a parent whose son was caught cheating during an exam. The kid confessed, but the mother later told the principal: “He’s already confessed so he’s paid his dues. However, I wish I taught him how to deny any wrongdoing.”

What’s going on here?

8 Replies to “Where is the love?”

  1. Quality service is not grovel at one’s feet lar. Smelly. Maybe some do expect that level. ha. But I think a little pinch of smile and interest goes a long way. It’s basic courtesy.

  2. I’m all for the no-biggie reaction, but it’s also quite plain that more than 40 percent (I’m being generous here) of folks in the service industry have no idea what good service means.

  3. Oi Derricko, how did your retro camera purchase go?

    Anyway, the folks at Sim Lim Square are getting pretty good at this whole service thing. Last time, they would just chuck all the stuff and receipt and your face. Last week, they carefully explained every warranty detail to my colleague and even brought up the heavy parts to the next floor for assembly with a smile!


    Of course, the louts are still leery a few floors below.

  4. Something’s wrong with the light indicator. Let’s hope I get good service when I get it looked at. Anyway, one would think that service standards can’t get worse than what it was.

  5. I am in the F&B line, and I do believe in service with a smile. I go to work with my morales, values and principals in place. Whenever I talk to my staff about how we should perform at work, they thank me for being there to give them that little bit of motivation as it is not an easy job at all. I have to tell myself that it is gonna be a beautiful day just before i step in. I treat my guests well and cater to them the best experience i can possibly give. And imparting that attribute to my staff is just a way to make the rest of the guests satisfied as well. Service in my books, is going that extra mile and have a total stranger smile for you in thanks.Cause I love what I do

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