Saturday, November 24, 2007

Finally Ousted!

Just quick post this time. The whole nation is awaiting the election result now. Yet, so far the labour party is ahead its toughest contender, the liberal.

An old bag, conservative and succesful politician John Howard is finally ousted this time after ruling the country for more than two decades. A young, fresh, clever labour candidate, Kevin Rudd will be the next prime minister of Australia. Despite slightly similarities in their policies of certain aspects, this change might be hinting at a new environment that most Australians is looking for.

We'll see how Kevin Rudd will see and plan the future of Australia.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

No More Nice Guy!

Everyone is customer but not everyone is dealing with customers. To be a customer, you must know your right, according to those who champion the rights of consumer. Fair enough, i said. There are many bastards out there who only think of making their bloody wallets swollen up by ripping off the people. For instance, in some places you get charged for having strong coffee but don't get cheaper price for weak ones. Strange logic but again money rules!

However, i don't agree with a saying that says "customers are always right". No they are not always right. They can be fuckin nightmare and change your mood suddenly, from a happy camper to a nasty bitch. Once i had customer asked me as to whether we weighed the T-bone steak with the bone or not. Jesus, how could you weigh the T-bone without a bone? What do you call T-bone steak without a bone? It's called T-Bone because it has a bone which has shape of letter T. Next time, a lady said that she wanted a glass of wine but when i told her variety of wine that we had, she scoffed me. Well, sweetheart, surely you know that this restaurant is not a kind of place that sells expensive wine. Trying to up yourself by asking boutique wine in a bistro-looks-like restaurant does not impress me at all. It makes you look like a fuckin moron! Darling, i've done fine dining restaurant where a couple spend 300 dollars for two courses and dessert and a bottle of wine. These kind of people are surprisingly down to earth and generous as well, leaving me 50 to 80 dollars tip. Now, you ask only a glass of expensive wine which we dont have, and hardly leave any tips. You won't have any i am afraid apart from my sarcastic response: "i am sorry we don't have the wine that you're after but surely you know that this isn't the place that sells expensive wine".

The other
thing that i hate is when i am working on coffee machine and there are always some people asking for very, very, very hot flat white. I hate doing it because the longer you heat up the milk, the more damage you cause to the milk. It ruins the texture and therefore impacts on the experience of having nice smooth froth and silky creme from the coffee. What's wrong with their taste bud? Have they eaten charcoal for breakfast so their taste bud are completely fucked? If they are nice i normally would make pattern and use the right milk, like the one on the picture. If they are rude, then they wouldn't have sort of milk that they asked for. I use full cream milk mixed with skinny if they want skinny coffee or hot chocolate. With their uncultured taste bud, wouldn't they know any different? Hell no! They might have came up to you and say: "That was fantastic coffee/hot chocolate". So you like burnt full milk then?

I think that people can be so rude and annoying because they believe the stupid adage: customers are always right! It's about power game. When you are having money, you think you have more options than bums on the street so you can ask anything you want. And you believe that it's not good for business if the service is poor. I agree service is priority and i always bear that in mind. But it does not necessarily mean that i have to sacrife my mental health.

Having experienced these awful things, i always behave and try to be considerate when i am at the restaurant. Because i know exactly how it feels when some non-entity try to get their way.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Say it right!

I haven't been able to do some writing after my last post. I am feeling guilty actually and feeling it even more guilty after one fellow blogger commented about writing my blog. It's true that i brought up issue on my writing and they gave me helpful hints about it.

I remember that the Australian government once said that fluency in English language is prerequisite for those who like to migrate to Australia. If they think language skill is necessary then they must also emphasise all migrants to naturalise their accents. Because language is not all about grammar. It is bloody difficult for the police to question people with thick accent when they committed criminal offences. You can ask centrelink staff (centrelink is sort of social security service) if talking with migrants who are unable to speak English properly give them worse headache.

Speaking of accent, misunderstanding often occur due to different pronunciation. One particular example is when a Chinese chef was asked by the staff what the soup of the day. His answer made this staff offended and abused him. Chinese people can't say R properly. Every time they say words that have letter R, it will sound like L. So when this chef says the word creamy, most Australian perhaps will hear it as cleamy. The soup of the day was creamy mushroom but this staff thought that he said: cleaning my shoes! "I am not fucking cleaning your shoes man!", she replied. Luckily, being aware of this misunderstanding, another chef said that he meant creamy mushroom not cleaning my shoes.

For people with non-speaking English background like Indonesia, the letter P and B at the end of any English words could sound similar. For Indonesians ears, the word CAP and CAB, taken out of context, will perhaps sound the same. This happened to me when i was asked to explain the salad which has Italian name on the menu. My explanation only caused laugh and giggle instead of nod. It 's crab salad! But i didn't carefully pay attention to the different pronunciation on the letter b. So it sounded like crap salad! Would like fucking turd in your salad? Other time, i spelled it out rather than said the word as i would not intent to jeopardise their appetite.

These experiences make me think that language is fascinating. It develops very quickly without us knowing which direction it will head towards, particularly in this globalised age. Although it mainly functions as a tool of communication, going deeper into its uses, language can also be linked to identity and nationalism. Tetum as nationally spoken language in East Timor was used by Timorese to resist the Indonesian domination during the invasion. When i was in Sydney, often i heard people who live in western suburb or have middle-eastern background use the word BUT at the end of the sentence. The preposition BUT replaces a proper one THOUGH. "I love it here, but". For posh this might be considered as bastardizing the English language but for them it implies their social and cultural identities. Language, in this sense, is a form of cultural resistance.

The spread of English language in the world was a result of the expansion of the British Empire (thanks to Gladstone!). Although it came from one place, later on different social and cultural histories that people have determined the different changes in language. That's why we have so many different kind of English. Modern Australian English, for instance, has a long history. In a one doc that i've watched about Aussie English, commentators suggested that children play important roles in the forming of accent. They felt that they didn't belong to their parents cultures and started to speak differently. Attempts were made to sort this out such as emphasising elocution but this seemed to fail. Most people still speak with a broad Australian accent, like John Howard. Not many people here speak like Howard's foreign minister, Alexander Downer whose English is a sort of products of standarisation in Australian English.
Now the British empire had been gone but another one appears to be more and more dominating: The USA. The American English starts to penetrate into peoples' cultures.

Having lived in Australia for five years, i pick up Australian accent. However, i am suffering from a chronic Anglophile. English accents are fascinating for me. It's hard to deny how beautiful does it sound when Kelly Brook and Rachel Weisz speak with their English accent!