Monday, October 24, 2005


I was just reminded of an incident that happened about 2 weeks ago when someone asked if I was Taiwanese and related to another dancer and good friend who is. Serene, myself and our Taiwanese friend, Charmaine, had gone out to a shisha place where we met a Moroccan dancer who used to live in Singapore.

I could barely remember her but we all greeted each other and Charmaine was very excited. She had apparently taken her first lessons in Singapore from this Moroccan lady whom we shall just simply call Sam. She was very impressed with her dancing and after some discussion, we decided to ask her if she could spare a couple of hours to give the three of us a private class. It was all rather loosey goosey with Sam telling Charmaine to call her the next day to make arrangements for the class.

Anyway, the next morning, I messaged the girls to ask about the time of the class as I had quite a lot of work to do and I needed to time myself just right so I could make the class. No one responded. By the time it was 3pm, I was wondering if the class was cancelled.

At almost 5.30pm, Serene messaged to inform me that the class was scheduled for 7.30pm and she was out buying a present for Sam since the latter had kindly offered not to charge us for the class. We were all going to chip in to buy a nice present for her to show our appreciation. I was told to make my way to Charmaine's house where she had booked her condo studio for the session. With my eternal bad luck with taxi drivers, I got one who went to the wrong part of the island. So by the time 7.20pm rolled around, I was still standing at my house in the rain waiting for the taxi to turn up. I decided to call Serene to report that I would be late and for everyone to go ahead without me so I do not hold them up.

When Serene answered the phone, I angrily blustered that I had another fecking no-good taxi driver and was going to be late. She laughed bitterly and told me not to worry as she was still waiting for Sam who was having her dinner. I assumed they were having dinner together till Serene put me right. Poor Serene had shown up at Sam's hotel at 7pm to pick her up for the class and had been waiting at the lobby while the woman was having dinner with her friends. Ouch ... she could have at least invited Serene to join them while waiting. I felt sorry for Serene and told her I would go to the studio and let Charmaine and Mariko know.

Arriving at the studio at last, I informed Charmaine of what happened. Like idiots, we sat there and waited. We did not even dare to eat as eating before dancing is like asking for a scene from Monty Python. By 8pm, I was starving as I had not eaten the whole day. Serene called and I could hear the ire in her voice as she stated that she was pissed off (I am so astute ...) because Sam was still having her dinner and she had been waiting an hour now. And she was furious that Charmaine had not answered her phone. Things were getting tense. I told Charmaine to make a decision as this was ridiculous. I really did not care who Sam was but this was very bad form and I really felt bad for Serene.

At 8.20pm, Charmaine was still waffling. She was annoyed at Sam but too afraid of confrontation and she was also afraid of speaking to Serene to apologise. I finally had enough so I called Sam, told her thank you but let's forget it and we'll see about doing it another time (NOT!). Can you imagine the woman's gall? She did not even apologise! She in fact made it seem like she did not know we had booked a studio and that she assumed it was at Charmaine's house so she could come anytime. Yes, and that is why we made an appointment at 7.30pm. Duh.

This was so typically middle eastern - we usually joke that middle eastern time means turning up for a 9pm appointment at midnight. But this was ridiculous. I knew it would be a lost cause trying to make her see how rude, inconsiderate, badly brought up and unprofessional her behaviour was. I messaged Serene to let her know I'd told Sam to feck off, and we were going to rescue her and go off for dinner instead. I forgot to mention that none of us had eaten dinner yet as we were all waiting for Sam.

We ended up having a mini, impromptu hafla in the end and had a ball. But what astounded me was that this woman who is not known anywhere behaves like a grand diva with no consideration of anyone's feelings or time. I have had many teachers who are world renowned and none of them has ever behaved in this manner.

I also felt bad for Serene as she always seem to take the brunt of all this. Everyone always relegates her to designated driver status every time a teacher comes to town. And it has become so expected that I do not think anyone ever thanks her properly or treats her with enough respect and consideration. I once kept her company as she was asked 30 mins before a class starts to go get some medication for a teacher - just because she is a doctor and has a car. Because of this, we missed more than an hour of the class which no one ever compensated us for. Mind you, the hour costs about US$100.

She is doing it as a favour, people, so show some grace and gratitude, for God's sake. Show a little respect.

Categories - Rambling Prose


Blogger Rachael said...

I love reading your blog. It is such a great peek into your intriuging life and culture. Keep up the great posts!

10:55 am  
Blogger MM said...

Awwww, ta so much! That is high praise coming from you. I love your blog too. I always get so famished right after I read it! LOL. Thanks for the encouragement.

9:23 pm  

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