Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Witnessing a raving ranting British guy...

The thing about long flight is that they always made me tired once I'm home. Slept like a log last night and retired to bed at 10pm, something uncommon for me here. The trip to HK had been great. It's always nice to be back in a familiar city, even though it aint mine.

The whole trip had been wonderful. HK within the space of a year since I left, had continously been revamping itself onwards and many retails have replaced those that I had known, or sprung up in places that wasnt there previously. Thankfully, my old favourite haunts are still there, and coupled with some new ones, made the trip all the better.

The only thing that marred the whole pleasant affair was at the last leg where I was checking in to return to Sydney. Luckily I had forsight to check in hours early and hence caught the nasty "surprise" in time. Apparently, the HK check in counter couldnt locate my visa on their system, even though i already had my A$75 visa label stuck on my passport. I didnt need an ETA since I am on a bridging visa but the guy at thge counter was sweating it out for 30mins (and me standing there idiotically for 30mins with him).

I was getting impatient only because I was rushing to catch my movie at IFC, and have no intention of lugging my baggage to the cinema with me (since I have absolute confidence my paper work was in order).

While waiting, there was a British old guy, who was raving and ranting at the 2 poor counter girls serving him at the first class counter. He was abusing them verbally at the top of his voice, calling them Stupid Girls countless times, and i mean countless times almost spitting at their face. Apparently, he had a valid visa pasted on his passport allowing him to stay in Thailand for a year, but the HK counter staff had requested for a valid return ticket.

Being in a smiliar situation as he was, with building frustration, I can understand his anger but I do not concur with his uncivilised behaviour. He was really having a go at the 2 staff. Short of resorting to physicaly violence, he was really putting them down in public with his endless "stupid" verbal abuse. I gave credit to the girls to maintain their tone, while trying to sort out the situation. However, he was having none of it and refuse to answer anything except saying "I have a valid visa to STAY in Thailand and its none of your business to ask for return ticket. You are STUPID, STUPID to be working here." He was intimidating them with his anger and loud voice.

Meanwhile, I just waited for the guy to find out what was wrong with my case- QUIETLY although i did hurry him as I have to rush to my movie starting in 10mins time. The guy must be stewing in his seat wondering if he will be next to be yelled at, which didnt happen of course.

To me, there really was no reason to create a din or kick up a stinker. These staff are just doing their job and as far as I know, the airline will be hit by a penalty if they allowed an unauthorised passenger on board and land on the destinated country without visa approval or documents. Plus, in these cases, especially like mine, it is not the fault of the HK side, it is the useless Australian side that didnt update my data and status into the system. (What is new with slack Australian service?) So if i have to yell at someone, it would be the Australia authority and not the HK staff. Likewise, the Brit guy should be yelling at the Thailand side for not updating his visa status into the system, allowing HK counter to check him in. So the poor messengers (Hk staff) got yelled at instead.

If this was in London, or even in States, his unruly behaviour would not be tolerated. The staff there will not stand for such abuse and there are very CLEAR notice everywhere to remind passengers that abusive behaviour will not be tolerated. The brit guy will probably be hurled out of the airport in a flash or retained somewhere in a room and ready to be sued.

So here he is in Asia, thinking he is "Bigger" than us, yelling at the staff for being stupid, while he looked equally like a stupid baboon screaming red in the face himself.

Eventually, the girls called up their supervisor who let him board the plane. Even that wasnt enough to satisfy the brit guy. He insisted all his baggage to be tag with first class priority tag or he will send a letter of complaint to Cathay main office. I was wondering if he was already Q'ing at the first class counter, won't his bags be already tagged with priority tag without having to ask for it? Guess he isnt as smart as he thought he is isnt he? As for me, the guy told me to watch the movie while he will sort it out within the 1.5hours I was away. It worked, when i returned, he had checked in my bags and my ticket and lounge pass was waiting for me to be picked up without further glitch.

While there are times I like to think some people really are stupid, but even so, I would think about it furiously in my head and I wont insult the other person in their face. In this case, I think the british behaviour was totally unwarranted though. These people come to Asia,stay in Asia and think they can do anything they like, such as behaving like man from the stone ages just because in Asia, we have a service mentality which is unlike those in the western countries. These are exceptional minorities I hope.

In one conclusion, would he behave the way he did back in his own land or in states, the answer is probably not. Naomi Campbell would be proud of him. They must have been related in some way.

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