Monday, October 13, 2008

Mulling over a simple 'Good morning'

Every morning, I would pass an errands lady enroute to the toilet. The lady would always wash her dishes and cups quietly under a running tap, not alike that of the past practices of Starbuck as reported in the recent news, except that she would shut off the valve after she is done with her chores.

This morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see a foreign apprentice beside her, learning the trade. I was even more surprised when the foreign apprentice turned and greeted me with a ‘Good morning’, for which I responded with the same. Months passed without a word of greeting from the errand lady and there the apprentice was, in just her first day of work, giving me a greeting!

Her simple act of greeting may seem insignificant but in its entirety it exemplifies the distinction between a foreign service worker who adds value in his work and a local who simply does not care more apart from doing the basics. Singaporeans grip about the threat of foreign competition but it all boils down to whether they want to make that extra effort to be even better than their foreign counterparts.

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