MY wife and I recently went on a holiday to London and after much deliberation, decided to stay in a hotel near Bayswater.
The locals were really friendly and helpful and even went out of their way to offer us assistance whenever asked.
After spending a few days there, we were pleasantly surprised to find that Malaysia Hall was located in the next street from where we were staying.
My wife and I excitedly made our way there and felt a great sense of pride and belonging when we saw the Jalur Gemilang blowing in the cold morning wind. However, all our excitement was doused the moment we entered the Hall.
Firstly, the two staff at the counter couldn’t have cared less about our presence and were least bothered to even greet us.
Maybe with our jackets and gloves on, we did not look Malaysian enough! However, we did introduce ourselves as Malaysians and even spoke in Malay (Malaysia Hall London does not admit foreigners without them being accompanied by a Malaysian).
The cold treatment given to us by the counter staff made us feel as though we had trespassed into someone else’s property.
To make matters worse, we were disappointed to find out from a notice on the wall that the canteen was under renovation and hence, our craving for some hot and spicy nasi lemak could not be fulfilled that morning.
I then proceeded to ask the counter staff if there were any Malaysian restaurants nearby.
One of the staff nonchalantly replied “Banyak. You ‘Google’lah. Semua ada di situ...”
I tried my luck to ask for directions to the nearest Malaysian restaurant. However, I got further orders to use Google and was handed a brochure for one such restaurant.
Not wanting to be demoralised, I asked her for directions to the nearest laundry. The same lady answered “Kat area ni banyak. You cari dalam Internet”.
Feeling rather shocked and aghast with the way we were both being treated, my wife and I decided to leave immediately. Honestly, that episode was the only unpleasant experience we had throughout our time in London.
I honestly don’t think that the counter staff at Malaysia Hall in London had so much work to do at the time of our visit that they were unable to spare a little time to help fellow Malaysians like us.
My brother had posted our experience on his Facebook page to which a friend of his had replied, “Maybe they wanted your brother and his wife to feel right at home!”
I really hope that the relevant authorities will look into this matter and help remedy the situation.
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