Thursday, 10 November 2005

The close encounter with the Malaysian High Commission

We finally sold our property in Malaysia but that's not what this thread is about. Due to the sale, we needed to get our sale and purchase documents attested by the Malaysian High Commission in New Zealand. So we called the High Commission and made an appointment to see someone of authority to get the documents attested.

This was not the first Malaysian foreign mission I am dealing with but will be one I would remember for a while. I hope this thread does not end up like my other thread "5 Malaysians I met in Wellington". Am not sure why I am sometimes so critical but there are people who don't like it! Anyway, back to this incident.

Before I write about what I thought of the High Commission, let me say what it is like in New Zealand in general. It is so common for a cashier at the supermarket to say "Hi, how are you?" or a taxi driver to ask you "How was your day?". I travel quite a bit and each time I take a taxi and get dropped off, the driver will without fail say "Hope you have a good day" or "Have a good weekend". This is what the last 6 months have been. Was kinda taken aback initially but am enjoying the politeness and hospitality in general.

Now this morning, we went to the Malaysian High Commission and met this lady whom I was very sure is a Malaysian. Not a smile not a greeting, nothing. It reminded me so much of going into a Malaysian government office to get something done. My daughter being herself was so chatty but nope, not a smile, not a frown not a single word! She charged us NZ$56 for attesting the documents when there was no mention of a charge anywhere. She said she could not give me a receipt but promised to mail me one and took down my address. I said "Thank you" but she just walked away.

On the contrary, we were talking to the driver who was sitting in for the receptionist, whom I believe is a Kiwi, and he was real polite and we actually had a conversation! We found out when the High Commission was opened and why he was sitting as a receptionist and if we were there for another hour, probably where he lived!

When I visited the Malaysian Embassy in Indonesia, I thought they were friendly and warm but then I realised today that what I felt was perhaps in relation to the surrounding. Indonesia is quite similar to Malaysia in a lot of ways and worse in some, so I felt I was being treated well. But here in New Zealand everyone is extremely polite and because of that I felt the High Commission staff was so cold!

While driving back, I was telling Vera that I still can't get over the fact that she can be so cold!

Wonder what it will be like, if and when we return to Malaysia!


rachael said...

I'm a long time reader from NZ, also a Malaysian. And the moment I read the title "The close encounter with the Malaysian High Commission" I knew it was going to be good! Yes they are always like that. It seems to be the persona of every single embassy worker on foreign soil. Maybe they're just sore that you've left your country.

We've been to the Malaysian High Com a few times over the past few years and they are ALWAYS unfriendly and cold. It's always just a coldness beneath the surface, nothing outwardly nasty that you can complain about.

It's just really childish, makes me feel like I'm back in primary school with a scary nasty teacher about to swat my palm with a feather duster! Everytime I'm there I want to say something but I never do...

I don't think it's about rotten customer service, I feel it's a bad attitude, perhaps jealousy... you get better service at the hawker stall than at the High Com!

Anyway maybe you'll be braver to say something the next time lol!

boo_licious said...

Hmmmm, maybe you should write a nice letter to the Star and see what the foreign ministry has to say?

mallanhead said...

Hello, Last week I went to the Australian High Comm. in KL. The staff there and even the local staff there are friendly and they seem to enjoy their work and so on. When I went to Australia, I get the same treatment. But somehow when I came back to my own country deal with my own paper regardless here or them, I also received the same cold treatment. I thought we are supposed to be a friendly nation with people so generous with out smile???

Edward said...

This is a serious case or Malaysia Boleh... :-)