This weekend, I have guests from Singapore... two nice ladies with their husbands. I don't know the husbands very well but the ladies are my friends. It's not their first time here so I don't really need to bring them around - all I have to do is take them to nice places to eat and shop. Because I don't know the husbands very well, I do end up making small talks - you know, telling them about this place and that place.. some stuff about the economy, the people and even politics. I feel like a tour guide :)
However, typical with any interaction with Singaporeans, they tend to "criticize" their neighbour. Things like the cleanliness of the shops or the poor state of the road or the corrupted police/government officials. Or how inefficient and lazy Malays are (even though they are also refering to the Malays in their country). Or how bad the services is (though it has been improving quite a lot, they observed), how the taxi drivers are all crooks unlike the Singapore taxis, etc etc. Sometimes they talked about this among themselves and I wonder if they even realize that a fellow Malaysian is there listening to their conversation.
I mentioned before that I have no love for this country. While I don't agree nor disagree with their observation, I do not feel comfortable to hear a foreigner talking about the place I was born in. And suddenly, it just hit me. I wonder how people like Mido, our Egypt tour guide, feel when they hear tourists complaining about their country - every week! I mean, Egypt is not exactly heaven nor their politicians angels. Even I am guilty as I complained about the city/people when I was there. I am not patriotic, yet I feel it when people critisized Malaysia. What about those who are patrotic? How they must have resented the foreigners!
Lessons learned for the week: watch your tongue especially when visiting a foreign land!
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