Wednesday, October 20, 2010


My impression of China improved after I visited the Shanghai Expo, as the Chinese had put in much effort into the planning and management of this event and it is indeed quite impressive. Be it for entertainment, or amenities such as food and restrooms, one can find all of these easily. Also, there are buses to ferry passengers around different pavilions and service ambassadors are available at all times to provide quality service.

Nonetheless, it is rare to attain perfection and I felt that the expo is too big with overwhelming crowds. One often needs to join a very long queue to enter the different pavilions. I spent six hours and was only able to visit a few of the pavilions. It is inevitable that I have some regrets for not having explored the entire expo site.

Shortly after my changed impression of China, I was astonished when we visited the Shanghai Pearl Tower. There were no problems with the queues but upon reaching the retail stalls and eateries, problems arose and I felt as if I was transported back to China during the 1980s. Service was scarce and we were pretty much left to our own devices.

I was at one of the stalls trying to get the attention of the salesperson. After calling out for three to four times, someone finally brought the item that I requested for. I merely asked a few questions when the salesperson retorted and asked if I have the intention to purchase. I made the purchase on the spot, as it was a small item that costs only 100 Yuan.

Upon reaching the restaurant, I was barred at the front door, as I could not find the tour guide. The doorkeeper asked me several questions that were even more direct than a security guard. However, once the tour guide appears, the attitude of the doorkeeper changed immediately and even welcomed me into the restaurant heartily. Although, it was supposed to be an international buffet, there were no tea, coffee or even water! Additional charges for drinks apply and we have to pay if we need to use their cups! Such retail methods are really astounding and it was an eye-opening experience!

I have been traveling to China since 1980s for leisure trips and I am always happy to see China progressing throughout the years. Usually, I travel to destinations that are off the beaten tracks with lesser crowds. However, my encounters while travelling in a group tour on this trip gave me much food for thought. I cannot help but to ponder: does mass tourists really deserve such treatment?

It goes to show that a city cannot rely solely on its exterior; it also requires good service that can provide satisfaction. Therefore, it is necessary to introduce adequate training to raise the local service standards. The development and progress of the city does not come easily and it is essential not to fail due to this minor aspect.

After evaluating others, I look back and figured that Singapore has much room for improvements in the aspect of service as well. Hope everybody can work together to achieve better service standards and progress ahead!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Master Tan,

    I like to seek your kind advice if 3 room flat fengshui consultation with personal life analysis will result in a cost of over S$4k? I have recently consulted a fengshui master but the fengshui products which I am asked after the consultation cost almost $4K. I really like to know if I've been conned as I have a look at the products you have on your e-shop, none is as expensive as what they quoted me. Hope you could take some time out to advise me. Thank you so much and have a nice day.