People Skills

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Despite my introversion, I used to think of myself as a very polite person. Though I lack words, I often smile at most people. 

That was until my wife gave me a sort of wake up call one day. 

We just finished having lunch at Hotel UiTM's restaurant and was walking through the lobby towards our parked car. Suddenly, a stranger, a guy maybe in his 40s approached me. 

He asked, "Ni lecturer UiTM eh?" 

I slowed down my walking pace but didn't stop. In a brief moment, I smiled, answered, "Tak, lecturer poli..." & walked away. 

Wifey snapped. 

She scolded me quietly, "That was so rude!" 

At first, I thought she was referring to the guy because he didn't even say Hi before asking me the question. 

She then told me that if a person is trying to talk to you, you have to stop whatever you're doing and treat him/her with respect. 

So, yeah, that day I found out that I am a little bit of a douche bag. Not so polite after all. 

People skills. I have to really work on that. Being an introvert is not an excuse to be rude to people, that's what my wife taught me.

It is undeniable that many Malaysians lack people skills, especially those who work with people. Restaurant waiters, human resource staff, direct sellers... etc.

Reader's Digest once published Malaysia as one of the rudest countries in the world. At that time, I silently defended Malaysia, saying that it's not fair to measure manners in the perspective of the west.

However, now I'm no longer denying that most Malaysians are rather rude.

It's not hard to justify the above statement. A few weeks ago, my wife, Ubaid & I went to Mines Shopping Center to buy some stuff. Before we went shopping, we stopped by Kenny Roger's to feed baby Ubaid.

At the entrance, as we were checking the menu, one of the restaurant staff came to us & asked, "Nak makan apa?"

Wifey immediately gave him a brief lecture. Yes yes, my wife takes this matter very seriously. She said to the guy, "Is that how you're supposed to greet your customers? You're supposed to smile & say Hi, Welcome!..."

The guy awkwardly smiled.

Despite that, we went in because I didn't know what else to get for Ubaid. The one who waited our table was a different staff. A female. She didn't smile at all.

Looking at the waitress, I could tell that she's not smiling not because she's having a rough day but rather she's not a smiler at all. Her facial expression was portraying how much she hated dealing with people.

The other staff were also unfriendly. Instead of focusing on the customers, I could see that they're just playing around, not doing a thing. I had to get up & get my own drinking straws. They saw me trying to get the straws but they did nothing.

I decided to ban that restaurant. Heck, I won't even wanna go to other Kenny Roger's branches.

Kenny Roger's is not the first restaurant I ban myself from entering. I also vowed not to set foot into all Pizza Hut restaurants.

I went to Pizza Hut Dungun once with wifey & Ubaid. The service they offered they was the worst ever. The staff were unfriendly, unapproachable, lacking smiles. There was no salad being served even though it was lunch hour. The baby chair that Ubaid sat in was old & broken. Food was served badly. Bad bad bad service.

Anyway, back to the Mines story. After Kenny Roger's, we went shopping at Giant. Since I got my hands busy with Ubaid, wifey was the one who lined up at the cashier.

Wifey said the cashier was very very rude. I can't remember the details but wifey was obviously angry at how she was treated by the cashier.

I can give you more examples of how rude most Malaysians are (that thing at the post office, that moment when insurance agent ruined my lunch, that time when a company HR made my day bad & yada yada), but I think all of you have your own experience with that.

All in all, I just want to conclude that Malaysians (myself is probably included) are pretty rude.

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