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    Mar 16, 2015

    Badly behaved S'porean tourists

    CHINESE tourists, who have been making headlines for poor behaviour abroad, are not the only badly behaved travellers.

    Singaporeans sometimes don't fare much better.

    Here are some anecdotes from Singaporeans serving Singaporean travellers.



    Singaporeans are among the hardest to please when it comes to food, said John Tan, 50, a tour leader and guide.

    "They even expect an overseas chef to whip up local dishes like fried beehoon," said Mr Tan.

    Singaporeans also demand cheap stuff but then complain about the poor quality, he added.

    "They do not understand that it is 'yi fen qian, yi fen huo' (the quality of the product depends on the price)."



    A child, aged five, refused to have his seat belt fastened and his parents did nothing on a flight from Jakarta.

    An air steward, who wanted to be known only as Jude, recalled: "The child wasn't sick, just naughty. Yet the parents accommodated the kid's antics."

    Just before the flight landed, the father stood up with the child in his arms to pacify him. Jude said: "It was very dangerous. I shouted at the top of my voice for him to sit down. He had a shock and thankfully sat down (with the kid)."



    A group of Singaporeans on a tour of an East Asian country chatted loudly on a red-eye flight. It prompted a passenger trying to get some shut-eye to throw water at the group.

    The water fell on a teenager and the situation escalated into a fracas when the girl's father stood up and grabbed the neck of the passenger, said tour guide Simon Lim.

    When the plane landed, the airport police were waiting for them. The tour group was held up, while Mr Lim tried to mediate between the feuding parties.



    In June 2013, a Singaporean couple wrecked a Hello Kitty-themed one-room apartment in Taipei when they were there for a holiday.

    They even refused to return the apartment keys and returned days later to steal snacks, a limited-edition Hello Kitty hair dryer and toys.

    The owner of the property estimated that the damage caused by the couple was worth about NT$30,000 (S$1,315).


    WHY TIP?

    A woman in her 50s told freelance tour leader Vincent Ng at the start of a tour in Egypt: "Make sure your service is really good. Otherwise, I'll deduct $2 a day (from his tips)."

    Mr Ng, 50, ended up waiting on her hand and foot, going as far as holding the woman's hands when she was walking across a bridge or riding a horse.

    She was pleased at first, but changed her tack when it came to their last meal. She grumbled about "eating in a Chinese restaurant in Egypt". Mr Ng eventually forked out US$60 (S$85) of his own money on room service for her.

    Yet, she wasn't happy when he collected service fees from the tour group, and relented only when others chided her for not wanting to pay.



    A plane nearly turned back after a woman in her mid-30s refused to stow her cabin luggage - not in the overhead compartment, nor underneath the seat in front of her.

    Jude, who works for a no-frills airline, said: "She was five seconds away from being off-loaded."

    She finally gave in after much cajoling from the crew. When they arrived at their destination, she went up to Jude's colleagues and threatened: "Don't you know who I am? I'm the Complaint Queen."