Service staff such as waiters in restaurants are just like anyone else out there who are trying to make an honest living. Unfortunately, waitressing is often seen as a "second-class profession" and the people in this line are often looked down upon.
Sadly, that's also the case here in Malaysia.
Twitter user @naddyM recently took to social media to share about her friend's experience as someone who is working part-time at a local restaurant.
Naddy revealed that her friend, who is a University of Malaya (UM) student, is working as a part-time waiter at a restaurant for side income.
"For your information, she's from an average income family," she wrote.
Naddy was frustrated when the friend told her what happened recently when a family dined at the restaurant.
"This 'third class mentality' that some Malaysians have is hindering the progress towards a better Malaysia," she tweeted.
Naddy uploaded two screenshots of a conversation on WhatsApp with the particular friend, who told her about this customer who was dining with his family. This experience she had with that customer was rather unpleasant.
"The child wanted to ask a question, in English. But the father told the child, 'Speak Malay, she might not understand.'," read the message from Naddy's friend.
After hearing the exchange, Naddy's friend told the family politely that she understands English.
Later when she served the dishes, the father asked, "What are you studying? Hospitality at UiTM (Universiti Teknologi MARA)? Must be hospitality because you're working in the F&B industry."
"His tone was absolutely degrading," Naddy's friend said.
When Naddy’s friend replied and said that she is a computer science student at UM, the man was shocked
“He asked, 'Oh, why are you working part time?'," Naddy's friend said.
Although she was quite upset at this point, she controlled her emotions and stayed patient.
"I told him that a lot of my friends are working part-time and half of the employees in the F&B industry are part-time workers.”
"I said that I just wanted to find extra income."
Later, the man can be heard saying to his child, "I'll work so you don’t have to do part-time job, okay?"
Naddy was furious and appalled after learning what happened to her friend
"Even if someone has a low level of education, it doesn't mean that you can look down on them based on their job," she wrote in a tweet.
Naddy went on to say that it's not unusual to find students in Korea, Japan, China, or Europe, working to fulfil their needs and wants.
"In Europe, students that are not even 20 years old would have left their family and stay alone because they want to be independent. Friends that I personally know would have worked at least once."
"I don't want to talk about other people but even I, a scholarship holder, sometimes work part-time. Just for experience and extra income."
"So whoever that said, 'Study hard or else you would become a cleaner' is just... I don't know. But believe that Allah's rezeki is abundant."
Naddy added that there is a serious need for the society to change their mentality towards people in the service industry
"Do you think that those working at McD don't have any education? At least they're not wasting their time minding other people's business," she wrote.
"I hope that the uncle's kid won't grow up to be judgmental."
"Maybe this is why many people are embarrassed to work because they want to 'jaga muka' (save their face). Very sad."
Do you think Malaysians' perception towards people in the service industry should change? Let us know in the comment section below.
Speaking of societal perceptions, it's time Malaysians change the way we regard refugees in the country: