What some S'poreans do when travelling overseas

What some S'poreans do when travelling overseas

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 Singaporeans travellers.


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

"They even expect the overseas chef to whip up local dishes like fried beehoon," says Mr Tan. Singaporeans also demand cheap stuff but then complain about the poor quality, he adds.

"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 recalls: "The child wasn't sick, just naughty. Yet the parents still accommodated the kid's antics."

Just before the flight landed, the father stood up with the child in his arms to pacify him. Jude says: "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 to an East Asian country chatted loudly on a red-eye flight. It prompted a passenger trying to get some shut-eye to throw water on the group.

The water fell on a teenager and escalated into a fracas when the girl's father stood up and grabbed the neck of the passenger, says 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 about NT$30,000 (S$1,315).


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 serving 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 still 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.

Says Jude, who works for a no-frills airline "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."

This article was first published on March 15, 2015.
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