By Mariam Mokhtar
Take the incident which was detailed in the Ipoh Echo recently. On June 17, Priya Vivek and her family went to the Barossa Restaurant of the Royal Perak Golf Club in Ipoh to celebrate Father’s Day.
What should have been a happy occasion turned into a nightmare when her family was trapped in the club lift for an hour. It was an horrendous experience for the two elderly people and two-year-old toddler in the family group of five.
No one responded to their plight. Was the alarm in the lift broken? Undeterred, they telephoned the Barossa Restaurant to summon help, only to have problems with communication.
Ms Vivek said: “I called and the person who answered the call seemed not to understand the situation or simply could not understand basic English”.
Many people would have thought that Ms Vivek should have spoken Bahasa Malaysia, unless of course, Ms Vivek is not Malaysian. Perhaps, the staff were foreign workers who spoke neither Malay nor English.
It transpired that the employee who took Ms Vivek’s call was the restaurant manager, who told her that they “…..did not have the receptionist’s number and would try to pass the message as they were busy attending to their customers in the restaurant”.
This is shocking. Can someone’s safety be less important than the pursuit of profit? Is the restaurant manager so callous and uncompassionate? The trapped people had to ring the restaurant manager a number of times, before finally asking for the telephone number of the maintenance staff.
The maintenance person who took their call said he would come to their aid, but he never turned up. Finally, after much banging on the lift doors, the security guard heard their cries and forced the lift doors open.
We are told that the maintenance officer did not show concern for the family or the failure of the lift. We are also told that the management of the club have not apologised for their poor customer service.
The Barossa Restaurant subsequently wrote a long letter published by the Ipoh Echo, which was littered with excuses. Although the Restaurant cannot be blamed for the equipment failure in the Club, their attitude in responding to emergency situations is appalling.
The greatest problem is the management of the Royal Perak Golf Club. Their indifference and attitude towards this incident is outrageous. Perhaps, they would have shown a more professional attitude if a datuk were trapped in the lift. Perhaps, Ms Vivek should have phoned the bomba – that would have got the management running.
In Issue 142 of the Ipoh Echo, the article “Mayor’s Concerns” gave an interesting insight into the attitude of public servants and their sycophants. The article generated a lot of criticism but there were some members of society who failed to see the bigger picture.
They did not see the problems in Ipoh society but just wittered on about the way that the mayor should be addressed. They failed to understand that respect has to be earned, especially by a public figure.
The article said that the Mayor was late. This is inexcusable. It shows arrogance and a lack of respect for other people and their time. The media representative, Rosli Dahamin did not appear. So, are we to be proud of wasting other people’s time?
This is a community paper and some residents have used this vehicle to express their beliefs that new blood should be injected into Ipoh. Many Ipohites suffer from the stagnation that comes when people remain in their jobs for too long. These people lack perspective and motivation. Some are simply warming their seats till their retirement.
The Town Planning Division Chief’s response to the public transport system was a mind-boggling “…time is not an issue”! This sort of mentality is one reason why Ipoh lags behind.
Before they know it, 2020 will be upon them. Do we need reminding that Visit Perak Year 2012 suffered from poor planning and a late start because of this laid-back mentality?
The article also exposed the lack of engagement by our city officials. How does one expect things to move forward with this attitude and mind-set? When will our public servants reach out from their ivory towers?
The dry humour and irony of the writer is evident when the mayor says, “It’s an attitude problem” to which the writer responds, “I couldn’t have agreed more”.
So how do you explain to the Malays what irony means, when there isn’t a word, for ‘irony’, in the Kamus? A dull, uninspiring leader only demotivates his team. A good policy that serves Ipohites well, will outlive anyone’s term in office. If a leader has a positive attitude and is committed, the team members will also be enlivened.