Sunday, 12 June 2011

Passionate Tukang Becak vs Smelly Rude Waiters

My husband took me and the kids for a short weekend gateaway to Melaka.  While we've been to Melaka several times, my kids were still amused by the colourful becaks (rickshaw) covered with plastic flowers.  So everytime we were there, we always had to have a becak ride.

Despite the hot sun and humid warm weather, our becak peddler kept on smiling and talking non-stop about the history of Melaka.  I was a bit embarrased for my shallow knowledge in history.  He told us how the Portuguese came to Melaka, how the Chinese influenced the culture in Melaka and how the Dutch tried to eliminate Catholics and convert the Melakan to be Protestans.  The only thing he missed was where the best Assam Pedas warung was located... (Assam Pedas is Melaka's signature dish of spicy and sourish fish stew)

He was so knowledgable that he made me forgot that he was "just a becak peddler" not a personal tour guide.  I was almost dissappointed when my ride ended.  I felt like staying in the becak longer and hearing him telling more stories. He made history sound very interesting, much more interesting than my high school history teacher who made me memorize a lot of "historical" things that I forgot after the test.

My heart always warm up when I meet such person... A person who is passionate about his/her job, whatever his/her job is, be it a teacher, a clerk, a receptionist, a doctor, a waiter, a banker, etc.  You can tell a lot from the service he/she provides the customers whether or not he/she has pride on his/her job. 

Not being able to afford fine dining all the time, a lot of times I had to settle for ridiculously bad services in smaller restaurants or warong.  I really hate waiters who are rude, have strong body odours, and think that we need them more than they need us. In KL, those type of waiters are abundant.  And to make it worse... they speak neither English or Bahasa Malaysia.  I wonder what the employers think on hiring people who can't speak the spoken language in Malaysia, let alone put them in charge of servicing customers.

I wonder if it's because customers in KL don't really care about the service?  I read an article about this very delicious char kwey teow in Penang whose owner, chef and server are super rude.  Yet, people line up everyday to buy the kuey teow.  As for me, no matter how good the food is and how much I love food, I just don't have any respect for business owners who are rude to their customers. I will choose to spend my money somewhere else.

I am not fussy about food or service... I don't mind waiters or shopkeepers who don't say hello or thank you, but I think a pleasant face is essential when serving customer.  I meet a lot of grumpy, unsmiling and irritated waiters/bank tellers/shop keepers almost everyday. 

When I feel nice and in cheerful mode, usually I tell them that the secret of being beautiful and healthy is by getting rid of that grumpy look they have in their faces. But a lot of times, I just couldn't be bothered to tell them anything.  But I always try to give compliments and/or tips to those who smile and/or give good services.  I hope the compliments and tips will encourage them to keep on doing the good jobs.


  1. very good "convert girl".....really good...makes me want to go to malaka for a becak ride myself....but you know I am 'super heavy" am afraid mr.becak might not be able to accomodate worries I can still see melaka by becak thru your eyes...Z

  2. Hi Z... thanks for dropping by.. You should still go to Melaka, not for the becak ride, but for the"out-of-this-world" assam pedas fish infront of pahlawan market... yummmm...!

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