Over the weekend Noi got understandably irate, as did a fair number of folk on this island, about a story that strongly suggested an attendant at a patrol station had been scammed in a particularly egregious manner by a customer driving quite a flash vehicle. She also showed me a story that had been run earlier on the Channel News Asia website concerning the trials of an elderly gentleman who needed to make a desperately small living doing the same job. At one time he'd had to pay the S$87 shortfall resulting from a customer saying he'd put the wrong grade of petrol in her vehicle.
It's difficult to comprehend that customers would treat obviously vulnerable attendants in this way, but the sad fact is that some do. I'm not sure there's much we can do to alter what seems to be something close to the innate cruelty of these people, but there's an extremely useful lesson in this for anyone who aspires to civilised, compassionate values, one that my wife taught me some years ago. When you feel stressed enough to get irritated at the security guard who's behaving very obtusely, or the attendant who's managing to get in your way rather than actually attend to you, take a deep breath, remember the details from the CNA story (and so many others like it) count your blessings (in the entirely clichéd, yet deeply appropriate manner you've been told so many times to adopt), and behave not just well, but with unusual kindness.
And if the above sounds untypically preachy for this Far Place, please note I'm talking primarily, if not exclusively, to myself.