Monday, February 17, 2014

God bless you...

'God bless you'... This was what I got when I shared something with someone not too long ago. '

Oh, you are angel sent to help me,' was another one which came my way on another occasion. The latter made me felt a little squirmish, of course, because I know I am definitely no angel.

Yet I have learned too that the same people who blessed me when I did my little part in reducing whatever load that they were facing were even quicker to 'curse' me too. One went on a tirade of lecturing me about road manners in what was an honest mistake on my part.... and this 'angel' has since then steered clear of that character. Another went running like a kid rushing to his parent(s) to solve his problem because completing a negotiation regarding a professional matter became too much even as an act of consideration, let alone kindness for a little inconvenience is too much to shoulder. The parent here refers to the boss or one of the 'bosses'. So, I mused the GBU in my email...... because it tells me too how little we actually value our own words or the people those words are directed at. But I guess I am no exception too, I supposed since, I too belong to this selfish, inconsiderate species called human beings and also contribute to this problem.

Talk is cheap, I realized... We bless and we curse in the same breath. We preach but we don't follow what we preach. It's usually in times of dire straits or needs, do gratitude, humility usually creep in. Else, Freud was right.

I teach history. In one of my lessons, we discussed about the Spaniards in the Phillipines. Gold, Glory and Gospel.... The colonialists felt that the savages of the east needed God and they came preaching the gospel. And so we are told that the gospel preaches that God is love, that we are all his children, etc, etc.... And so the savages embraced the gospel freely..... only to discover to their horror that the God preached to them and the God of their colonial masters seemed to be different.... God is love.... The natives were forced into labour and they had to pay high taxes. And when the natives asked that they be made a territory of Spain, their colonial masters balked.... So much for God is love.... or God is a just god.... Semantics, rhetorics...uh, the list never ends... As and when it suits us. God certainly wasn't the main reason for their coming....

And so back to the characters who blessed and then cursed me... Sometimes life throws such kinds of characters into our lives for a reason. I was cheesed off for sure but I have also since realised that they will not be the first nor the last and that I, too should be mindful of my own actions. I wonder too whether such people can ever understand or truly appreciate what it really means to be gracious.... An ongoing lesson which I am still grappling with myself....

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Not Everything Shiny is Nice...

A customer walked into one of our local franchise restaurant on a busy day. One of its staff approached her and told her she would have to wait a long time as there were many customers. A look at the counter indicated that chicken was still available and there were a few empty tables too. But since there was going to be a long wait, the customer walked away. That was a couple of months back.

We were on our way back after CNY celebrations. The roads were busy enough but the jams were just sporadic. It could be due to the fact that we were going the opposite direction of the main flow which was heading south. Anyway, we stopped by Juru. There were many cars but one could still get a parking lot without needing to go beyond the first attempt. A few restaurants were closed. So we decided to go for Subway. Two or three tables were occupied. When we got to our turn, we were told that only 3 pieces if 6-inch bread were left.

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We could see rows of bread in the open oven. The customers after us were told that they had to wait 20 minutes for the bread to cool. We took the 3 remaining pieces. I thought the staff took a rather long time to prepare our orders. The clock continued ticking as we ate.

A while later, more customers walked in. We heard customers being told again about having to wait 20 minutes. I am sure more than 15 minutes had passed by then. After chomping down my last bite, I decided to walk over and asked if I could place another order. I was told.... Another 15 minutes. Lol! I am sure we had been there for at least 30 minutes. I supposed this is Malaysian rubberized time in its element..... in a foreign franchise. Then again, maybe the bread in those opened oven must have some special heat retention powers.

A restaurant shouldn't turn away its patrons unless they have run out of tables. Franchise names draw in patrons because their food is supposed to stand for something.... Good taste, service, quality, etc. It down't so any more. I was recently at Old Town Coffee, another local franchise. An nicely located empty table with a 'reserved' sign caught my eye. As I knew that the sign was always there, I moved it to another table. Shortly after, a staff approached us and told us that the table was reserved for their staff to rest. One of the best seats in the coffee shop and they reserved it for their staff! So much for eating there. I walked out.

I have been to other franchise outlets and very often their tables would be sticky or oily from the lack of proper cleaning.

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Earlier in the morning, I another experience at the above ramshackle stall which was totally different. When we got there, it was packed. There were many outstation cars and some people were standing around but we were fortunate enough to get a table. I thought we were in for a long wait. Much to my pleasant surprise, all 11 of us were served within 15 minutes. Service was prompt.... Food was not bad...

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12 bowls of mee and 11 drinks... Thumbs up for their service. Well, franchise outlets don't give such good services any more.