Our Desk | The silver lining is what is missing

Julie Zhu

– For Cantonese, please press 1; for Portuguese, please press 2; for English, please press 3; for Mandarin, please press 4.

– Du… du… du… du… du…, Nei Hou […]

Several times, when I have called companies (which probably provide services to all nationals), their hotline services claim to be available in several languages.

In this particular case, that is, in Macau, languages available include mostly Cantonese, Portuguese, English and Mandarin.

However, how many times have you effectively received language services that do not correspond to that which you require when requesting help in a non-Chinese language?

I am not trying to imply that language skills across town are poor. This is just me depicting how much a poor person needs to show other people that he or she is rich.

The truth is, when a place does not have one particular thing, that place tries to show other people that it has that particular thing.   

Another example is when you dial a number to get some kind of phone operator and then they provide a machine to serve you, but the machine cannot solve any of your problems. That’s what they call a smart city.

In particular, service industry services provided by human beings are still lagging so much behind that they try to encode the incapability of human services into a machine. Well, we can all figure out what the consequences are.

Once again, it’s people trying to highlight what they don’t have and force people to be part of it.

Another example is when you dial a number looking for some customer service and, before you are finally served by a human being, the recording asks you, “Are you willing to give us a review? If yes, please press 1,” upon which the phone goes off.

Yes, you read it right. People are only given one option: “yes.” You can only dial “1” and you can only say “yes.”

Here is another thing that some places, in particular, Macau, try to do to make people believe they have, but in reality do not at all.

Last week, lawmaker Cheung Lup Kwan spoke the truth for so many people. Basically, he said that he goes to see a doctor out of Macau because he does not trust Macau’s medical professionals, nor Macau’s medical skills.

What he said was closer to the truth – not in regards to Macau’s medical skills, but in regards to his words matching his behavior.

Where do those who brag about Macau’s medical skills see a doctor? Those who brag about Macau’s education system, where do they send their children to school? Those who say Macau is beautiful and is a world leisure and tourism center, where do they travel?

Admitting that “Macau is not good at this and that, or Macau is not doing a good job at this and that” is something that would be easily said if Macau were a really a good place. Moreover, admitting it would also give the city a lot of credit.

When Macau government officials say that Macau’s public transportation is fantastic, how many times do they take public buses in order to support their claims?

When Macau government officials say that Macau’s universities have trained tons of brilliant elites, how many of them actually send their children to study at public universities?

Macau, you speak very good Mandarin and that’s it. At least it’s always good to try and keep improving.

Categories Opinion