Certain Malaysian run eateries in this country seem to think that customers don’t know about food. In a boutique café, one day, running through a menu of light desserts, I spotted “raspberry ice-cream”. Ahh, that would be wonderful on such a hot day, especially when I’d already had a cup of coffee and hadn’t treated myself to an ice-cream for ages.
Raspberry was a flavor I seldom chose because I’d usually go for chocolate, but wanted a change this time. The order taken, I sat there in great expectancy of a double hump of red-pink sweetish slightly sour creamy cold ice-cream. Much to my disappointment, there were two mauve colored scoops sitting in the desert glass in front of me. That’s not raspberry ice-cream! I cringed within trying to keep pleasant – that’s YAM ice-cream! Do they think I don’t know YAM from RASPBERRY? Well, not wanting to make a scene, and believe me, I have made ‘scenes’ in other places when I felt the need for it, instead I pretended ignorance to keep the peace and keep my friends happy. But, it isn’t the first time this has happened, not only to me.
Once in a Japanese restaurant, my sister asked for salmon sushi and she got tuna sushi. She certainly knew the difference and didn’t hesitate to question it. Hesitatingly with obvious uncertainty, the waitress explained that salmon sushi was not available that day. WHY DIDN’T THEY SAY SO IN THE FIRST PLACE? Did they think that a customer would leave the restaurant just because they didn’t have salmon sushi that day? Or order them to catch a salmon immediately wherever they could find it? Most reasonable people would simply opt for something else they fancied out of the large variety on the menu, unless they had run out of everything, which was obviously not the case then.
I wonder why certain eateries or rather staff working there find it so difficult to be honest with their customers. It’s simply a matter of giving the customer reasonable information to make an informed decision. Perhaps, we Malaysians seldom make really informed decisions or choices. We aren’t used to asking for further information. In fact we could be too lazy to find out; we’re even too lazy to read certain contracts we sign and are likely to sign our lives away without reading the small print. Worse still, when we do ask questions, we’re asked to shut up! If you ask too many questions, people make out that you’re a pest they prefer to be rid of as soon as possible. When you raise an issue, you’ll be asked to sit down or the subject you want to know about will be changed to something completely irrelevant to your question. These evasion tactics are not new nor uncommon, they’re used daily by everyone, especially politicians. So, to want more information is taboo in this country and to raise a subject some people are touchy about makes one an outcast.
From the government to joe public, we are expected to accept all that’s put on our plate (metaphorically) and swallow it up, even if it’s rubbish. It has become the habit, even of the man-in-the-street. Only when we find ourselves in ‘hot soup’, do we start to do damage control, when prevention is glaringly better than cure. It could at times come too late so we’ll have to live with regret all our lives. Inevitably, self-pity kicks in and we make ourselves martyrs of a lost cause.
Hopefully, this trend of habitual acceptance of what we don’t want will one day peter out and completely vanish, because if it never changes, the country will stay in the current quagmire of suppressed dissatisfaction. We’ll either drown in it and become moronic automatons mechanically nodding at everything like yes-men robots or ultimately become suicidal out of frustration. So, which would we choose to be? The option to become a real human being with a ticking brain is still out there.
Would you prefer to eat yam calling itself raspberry, without question?