Monday, November 21, 2011

The Colour of Courtesy

I spent a few days at a 5-star beach resort in KK with the H - just to get away from the craziness of everyday life (but that's another blogpost altogether). The resort is absolutely breathtaking and the service is hospitality at its best.

We were probably the only non-tourist guests at that time and the staff kept asking if we were Korean or from Hong Kong. None the matter, we were treated wonderfully during our stay until we started hanging out by the poolside. You get the usual spatter of Caucasians sunbathing topless (face down of course) and the Korean family frolicking in the pool or the quiet Japanese enjoying the sun. And then there was us: The two local Sabahans just wanting to get away from the city and the usual faces. However, when we walked by looking for available sundecks, a waiter would run up (i kid you not, RUN up) to us and ask, "Excuse me, may I have your room number?" and we would of course give it to him.

I didn't give it any thought until our next visit to the pool. Again, as I was slathering on sunblock a waiter came up to us, "Hello, what is your room number?" and I gave it to him, slightly annoyed. I decided to sit back and see if they did the same to other guests visiting the pool. A silver-haired Australian couple sauntered by and sat down. No waiter asking for their room number there, instead they were being served drinks immediately. Another Caucasian couple came by and even 10 minutes of wading in the pool, no one asked for their room number. Hmm.

Half an hour of swimming later, I decided to soak some rays and moved to another deck chair just behind ours. As I settled in with my book, the same bloody waiter/poolboy comes along and says, "Hello ma'am, may i have your room number please?"


I'm sorry, did I just transform into an unrecognisable person after that dip? Did you not just ask me this? At this point, I am convinced it's simply because a) I'm not white and b) I speak English but don't have a pretentious foreign accent. I told him my room number AGAIN and he says, "Oh sorry sorry, you moved seats?" Well done, Einstein, did you figure that out all by yourself?

Now I'm really starting to get pissed off. Yes, everyone else has been extremely pleasant to us during our stay but I'm really getting sick of being suspiciously questioned each time I lounge by the pool. And no other guests are getting this treatment so it really makes me wonder. Is it because only a local would 'sneak in' and abuse the facilities? Is it because there is no way a local could afford a RM1,200 per night room? Is it because I don't matter as much because I tip in Ringgit and not US Dollars?

It pisses me off when some foreigners look down at us Asians but it pisses me off EVEN MORE when our own people treat us like shit. Tidak sedar diri kah? Why are you tripping over yourself to open the door or carry the luggage of a Caucasian woman and not care less about the woman in a tudung, struggling with her 2 year old and lugging her luggage? Sincere common courtesy should apply to everyone across the board - no matter what currency their carrying.

It's called being a decent human being.