I WORKED at an eatery here as a part time frontliner tending to customers’ orders during the summer break recently.
During that time, I was shocked to have been verbally harassed by some customers for speaking in English and not prioritising Malay. At one point I was told that I was not a ‘pure Malay’ because I could not converse well in Malay.
My parents and grandparents are all Malays and it is disheartening to be looked down upon by my Bruneian peers just because I speak in a language I am more comfortable with.
I have been studying at a campus in the United Kingdom where no one speaks in Malay. It has gotten to the point where my Malay speaking skills deteriorate without practice.
I can read and write Malay, but speaking is a different thing altogether as I tend to speak in a mixture of English and Malay.
I understand that ‘customers are always right’ and I agree to a certain extent that customers’ priorities should be taken into consideration.
However, we need to remember that those working in the service industry are people as well.
Customers should be respectful as respect goes both ways.
– Please Be Polite