El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

Ease of living

April 4, 2011 0

easeofliving

(Taken with my iPhone)

Let me come out and say it now – when it comes to infrastructure and customer service, Malaysia absolutely sucks.

The Internet in SunwayMas is starting to get on my nerves, with its slow speed and constant dropping. Never do I miss England and O2 more than in moments like this. Even at its slowest, it was still faster than Malaysia’s Internet, and much more stable.

I miss the unlimited data plan I got on O2, which always worked and never gave me any problems with MMSes and SMSes and the Internet. Because in Malaysia, the network suffers from PMS.

I miss wrestling with Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U, and trying to get the best contract possible. Because in Malaysia, the customer always loses.

Even if they are corrupt, and they are embezzling money, I miss companies investing in the more expensive option like fibre optic cables, because they understand the long-term value of doing so, in comparison to the short-term “skimming the cream off the top” opportunities. Because in Malaysia, they just embezzle money and forget about the customers.

I miss HSBC UK because underneath the random charges, and their constantly asking me to go green and not receive paper statements, and their odd opening hours, I know my card works when I want to use it. I know the ATM machines won’t be temporarily out of service when I want to get my money out. I know I won’t be charged to withdraw my money from another bank’s ATM – who the hell charges people to access their money?

I miss the wonders of British direct debit, and money being taken out of my account automatically for my bills. Because in Malaysia, such ease of living has never been considered.

I miss the Plain English campaign, which made my bills easy to understand. Because in Malaysia, if you confuse the customer enough, they don’t bother to ask for clarification which means you can charge them more for nothing.

I miss British workmen being late and not turning up in their stipulated time. Because I know chances are, when they do arrive, they will fix my problem once and for all. And the fix will be guaranteed. Because in Malaysia, they’ll more than likely arrive late AND apply a temporary fix so it breaks down again, and you have to call them again.

I miss calling up customer service and actually understanding the person on the phone, because they actually know what they are talking about. Because in Malaysia, when I ask customer service something else, they don’t know how to help me and they stumble over their English because they are panicking over the fact that I’ve diverted from their script.

I miss health scares, superbug worries and over-prescribing on antibiotics because I know when I go to the doctor in England, not only will I be seen for free but if I need surgery, it is free just like when I injured my finger. Yes, in England, my consultation was free, my surgery was free, my rehab was free and, to a certain extent, my medication was free. Because in Malaysia, the doctor charges me a minimum consultation fee, just because I’ve gone to see him, even if he can’t find anything wrong.

I miss the constant roadworks on British motorways because at some point, the roads are nice to drive on. Because in Malaysia, there are never any roadworks, and the roads are never fixed. My car suspension hates me.

I miss people not double-parking because the traffic wardens do their job, without bribery. Because in Malaysia, cars think where there’s a free space, it entitles them to park. And if the owners know someone in the road department, they don’t even have to pay for their tickets.

I miss people using their indicators, and public transport being relatively reliable, and unlimited free travel after I have paid a certain amount. I miss British trains being delayed, and buses being muddy with winter slush, and chavs taking over the top floor of a double-decker, and empty cans rolling around the bus floor, and trains smelling of piss. Because in Malaysia, indicators are an accessory and any form of reliable, extensive public transport is a dream.

I miss 24-hour supermarkets, and weekend farmers’ markets, and easy access to organic, free range food. I miss the concepts of food providence, food air miles and minimising packaging (why do you need to wrap my lemons?). Because in Malaysia, they won’t sell me loose vegetables unless it’s weighed in a plastic bag. In fact, in Malaysia, when it’s No Plastic Bag day, some places still give out plastic bags.

I miss recycling as a national service provided by the bin men. Because in Malaysia, recycling is a money-making operation.

I miss vegetarian food being a staple of restaurants, and not just an after-thought of a menu option. I miss not having to order food ‘without the meat’ because I can’t find anything vegetarian on a menu.

Yes Malaysians are kind, giving, compassionate, generous, pleasant, the country is politically stable and few are left in want…I am grateful for all that, and thank the government for all of it.

But omg, on a day-to-day basis, living here and dealing with the businesses can sometimes be the most aggravating experience on earth.

And yes, it is one of those days.

, , Reflections and Teachings

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