From the start when they entered the restaurant, i could see from their faces that they were overwhelmed by the number of people in it. They also seemed confused by the menu since it was written only in Chinese. The Chinese waiter had a hard time communicating with them. She got a bit frustrated and it did not help with the restaurant buzzing with people. I did not bother much initially as they seemed to have order and I was too hungry gobbling down my food.
It has came to my attention that they were each serve with the amount close to what my family have ordered. People in the restaurant could be seen laughing at them. I felt that it was rather annoying and distasteful so I decided that I should help them. I stood up and walk toward them and asked if they needed any help. They were so thankful that someone actually stepped up.
Firstly,they told me that they were not sure of the quantity and the crew was not being very helpful as they were rushing to serve the other customers. Succumbing to pressure, they just ordered what they feel like eating. Little did they know that food were meant to be shared. Upon hearing this, I quickly signalled to the crew to reduce all their orders order so as to prevent them from ordering too much.
I understood from them that they were from Sweden. Back there, they simply order their own share. They do not have the habit of sharing. They were here for vacation and have travelled to other Southeast Asia countries, Singapore was their last stop. Along the way, they have experienced different cultures. They were largely amused by the eating culture that Asia has. Back in their country, the only time they use their hands is when they are eating pizza or burgers but along their trip they encountered places where food are eaten with their hands. They found it quite unique. During their stay in Singapore, they also realised that people like to share their food. They made some friends along the way and have always order several dishes to share. Not long later i have to leave and they thank me profusely for my help and that made my day.
As I reflected back on this very day, I understood that different countries have their own eating styles and habits. For the case of Europeans, they tend to order just for themselves while for the Asian, we are more inclined towards sharing. I guess this culture has been passed down from Chinese culture of gratitude, where sharing is caring. I could not help but the link this incident with the video that Hiranya's group shared during peer teaching. If the crew were more helpful to them and explain to them how they should go about ordering their food such incident would not have happened. As for the group of Europeans, since they have travelled to a few Southeast Asia countries, perhaps they should have an idea of how the eating style will be like here in Singapore. This mutual understanding between different cultural eating habits will definitely result into a win-win situation for both parties.
At the end of the day, I feel that when you are in a foreign country, you should try as much as possible to assimilate into their culture, then only you will understand from their point of view why certain things are done in this way. Like what Aster has mentioned in her post: " This is part of adapting and respecting the culture of the country".