So this morning I went to Raffles Hotel at Cityhall to work as a part-time waitress at their Bar and Billiard Room (BBR) which serves buffet breakfast and lunch. I woke up at five am, I took the first available bus to the MRT station and still ended up being later than my charge because well, work started too early at 7am.
When my charge, Ting Neng (who is actually a guy, but I kept just assuming him to be a girl) called me I was still at Tanjong Pagar. So poor Ting Neng was snoozing on the stairs by the time I reached, and I think I was about 7 min late in meeting him.
There was a bit of complications in getting our passes settled because we were called down on an ad hoc basis and they didn't print our tables in time, but thank god it all turned out fine, so hee, I am not gonna elaborate much.
Instead, I can't help but keep comparing Ritz Carlton to Raffles Hotel.
I know many of you would disapprove of it, because you know, after all, each hotel is really different and they always have their pros and cons, so we really shouldn't be so judgey. That's what I tried telling myself, but I had this tiny commentator in my head that kept up a running commentary on everything I was experiencing, like those narrators in a documentary.
I felt like I was doing a documentary on "Waitress Experience in Singapore Hotels".
Anyhoos, foremost I was impressed by Raffles Hotel when we were actually given our own lockers to put our belongings and lock it. We were also promptly reminded by the security guard that loss of keys would cost us 15 bucks.
Yeah, it was a mercenary world.
The reason why I was so impressed with the locker is because at Ritz, we kind of just dump all our bags in this shelf in this office where we sign in and sign out. Whilst there is this office lady there to kind of "protect" our belongings, it is still risky because I went into that room THRICE to retrieve various items from my bag and she never even turned her head to see who.
I mean, I could have been a snoopy snoop. Right?
Yeah, so that means I can safely dump all my stuff inside whilst I work.
Secondly, I like Raffles Hotel's BBR uniform much more than Ritz's banquet uniform.
I know that is not suppose to be a main point, since you know, we are really just clearing dishes and not doing anything else, but I really like the color of BBR uniform. It looks like a simpler type of air-stewardess uniform, those brownish gold in color.
Since I am not sure whether I can post a picture of the uniform without being sued, I sketched out how it looks!
|Raffles Hotel BBR uniform|
Okay, maybe it looks kind of crappy here, but it really looked quite nice (on me). Hee hee, thick-skinned much.
Working at BBR was extremely exhausting, even more so than doing banquet at Ritz because I feel like Ritz was over-staffed on that particular day so there weren't too much to do. At Raffles' BBR, I was walking around clearing dishes almost every minute when the breakfast crowd came in, and my feet hurt as much as it did after 10 hours at Ritz.
The manager at Raffles BBR was just as strict and scary as the one at Ritz, but I kind of like her.
The reason is that, when she told me off, it was in a professional manner. She kind of instructed me to do dishes clearing, but then the other regular staff told me to do the table set up as well, and the customers really don't know or care what your job scope is, so they would tell you to get them juice.
So when I complied and went to get the customer her juice (or was it English Breakfast tea?), my manager happened to pass by and went like, "What are you doing here?"
I was pretty frightened at the moment because she has a very strict face. The fact that her eyebrows were drawn in this fierce arc didn't help to make her look any friendlier.
So I told her that I was asked by the guest to get them drink. She told me to stick to my job scope of clearing dishes and make someone else to get the drink, which is like, okay, fair enough.
(You can read about my experience with the slightly less professional "telling off" I got from my Ritz manager in a separate post.)
But since I carried on doing everything she told me to do, she didn't keep on looking displeased with me (cough, unlike some). In fact, she became quite friendly after a while, and was actually quite nice. I suppose being stern is necessary in her jobscope since she is in authority after all~
I also liked another senior staff, who is a non-Chinese (sorry I am not very good at telling apart ethnicity) who was really really nice and encouraging, albeit in a way I found awkward. Because I did what she told me to do without her having to keep repeating her instructions, she was happy and said "Very good girl" which made me quite happy. Hee.
I am so easy to please.
I actually also overheard her telling another staff that she found me very good (but I might have hallucinated it), and that "the other boy arh...haiyo".
Speaking of the other boy, let's call him uhhh Shawn? I have no idea what his real name is.
Shawn wasn't a very good dish-clearing partner to be working with. Especially not when you are in court shoes that are a size too small for your feet.
Silent Shawn looked blur half the time and stood immobile by the bar table for majority of the first half of the breakfast rush. It is like, I would be tottering past him three times to clear two tables at a go and he would still be standing there, like an awkward statue.
Maybe that's why the senior staff was always telling him what to do.
He isn't annoying in the sense that he deliberately slacks off. It was annoying in the sense that when I was so busy clearing things, he just stood there looking dazed and calm even when I passed by him thrice.
It is like, even when he is clearing the table, he does it slowly.
Which clashes so badly with the speedy-speed of the restaurant that sometimes I feel like shaking him hard to make him do things faster.
After a while (like a really long while, perhaps 3 hours later), he finally got less confused and less dazed and started doing things with more haste. But then there was another problem.
He doesn't talk. To me.
See, it is not that I desperately wanted to talk to him. He is not that attractive, It is that when you are clearing tables together, sometimes you will ask something related to that matter, and he doesn't reply, so I found it kind of irritating (like very act like that).
Me: "Where are the smaller forks?"
Shawn: *shakes both hands in the air to signal don't have*
I mean, you could have just said "don't have" loudly and clearly, I mean, I was focusing on clearing the dishes, who would have the time to look up and figure out, oh look, he is waggling his hands, he says there are no more small forks.
So we just worked in this sullen silence with me asking questions in a somewhat impatient tone at times, and him doing his pantomime. Then I realized another thing that niggled at me again.
He put very few items onto his tray.
Granted, the silver tray (I actually believe that it is real silver) is extremely heavy even when there is nothing on it. It is like those kind of things where you get arm-sore from supporting just from raising it in the air for a minute without even moving around.
But there was so much to clear, and he put so little on his tray when he walks back to the bar (to deposit the dirty plates etc), when he walked back I would have cleared the rest. A much heavier load.
Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little. See, I am rather disgruntled with him over all (not because he is a Sullen & Silent Shawn) but because everything he did kind of annoyed me. Like how in my busiest moments I caught him sneaking behind the bar to chat with his friend. Like what-the-hey man!
Okay, Sullen Shawn aside.
It was weird because none of my co-workers would speak to me.
I dunno why, did I look like an alien with grey contact lenses today?
Like the 4 of them were definitely a group, because I saw them coming in together in the morning when I was settling the pass-issue, and they were pretty happy around each other. And they were my age ( I think), so I was mildly happy that I would have some friends to talk to.
None of them spoke to me, not even in work related stuff. The only girl I spoke to and spoke to me was the one who was managing the coffee/tea/juice side of the bar.
It would go like that:
Me: One coffee, one English breakfast and one orange juice.
Her: *repeats my order* Okay.
And that was about it. The one who was clearing out the dishes from the bar counter didn't say anything to me at all. Even though at the start I thanked her each time she took the dirty plates from me. Then I grew tired of being too friendly and just worked silently. Fine, I was grumbling to myself.
I was really glad when it was time for break because damn, my feet were again swollen and painful by that time. I was shown to the cafeteria by this other co-worker who was friendlier, but not friendly enough to eat with me.
Sighs. It was a lonely meal.
I loved the cafeteria though! Too bad I didn't take any photos to show you all.
The cafeteria wasn't air-conditioned, but it was really posh. Like the arrangement, the furnishing, the tables and chairs resembled that of a restaurant-cafe, and the food was actually quite nice. I had fried wanton, Tofu and some green veggies. The wanton was too hard and too much (each one was given 2), and I ate less than one of them. The tofu was nice. There was a salad bar with fresh clean and juicy looking vegetable mixture, as well as ham, raisins, tuna or chicken I couldn't tell and strwaberry jam. There was also fresh fruits along with a chopping board and fruit knife for one to cut up the fruits. The drinks counter had as many drinks as Ritz did, one machine serving 5 types of soft-drinks and the other hot drinks like coffee, latte, mocha and Milo.
We all know what I chose.
I love Milo. It is so yummy, sweet and the aroma is irresistible.
I was absolutely delighted to find the Milo of a good concentration and taste, wayyyyy better than Ritz's Milo that didn't even smelled like Milo. Ritz's Milo tasted like milo-flavoured water, till the last mouthful that tasted a bit better.
And the soup of the day was pretty awesome too. It was lotus and peanut soup that was really well cooked and delicious, and there was an alternative choice that I couldn't remember. I drank all the yummy soup with my yummy food. o\^.^/o ( <-- happy face, haha)
Ritz's Sze Chuan spicy soup tasted like someone added half a gallon of hot water to one packet of vegetable pickles. It wasn't spicy. It wasn't salty. It wasn't anything. There wasn't much taste. It was healthy.
And since I loved raisins, I took some vegetable salad to eat with my raisins and stawberry jam. It was also very delicious. I shall not again complain about Ritz's salad.
Anyway, I just love the Raffles' cafeteria. Muhahaha.
After lunch I was posted to work at Tiffin room, which was another atas looking restaurant that had quite few people eating in it. I had to change from that goldish-brown outfit to another...
|Tiffin Room uniform|
Yeah I drew it on my iPad again! I thought it looked good when I didn't colour, the colour made it look amateurish hehe.
The Tiffin room uniform is really nice! It was really troublesome to wear though.
See, there is first a shirt. But I was lazy to take out my singlet, so I wore that underneath.
After the shirt there is a vest.
You have to button all the way to the neck and tie a tie (real tie, not the put-head-thru-tie tie) which I got an auntie to help me with. Then the tiny green triangle near the chest area is a fake hanky thing to put in the chest or breast (?) pocket. With grey fitting pants.
I was sweating bullets by the time I reached the Tiffin room, which thank god had really strong air-con.
I didn't do so much in the Tiffin room, I mainly sorted out the cutlery and carried the dirty dishes to the kitchen for washing. Then I spent half an hour polishing about 80 or more teapots of various sizes. All made in silver, I think, since they were really really heavy.
What made me like Raffles so much is that the senior staff and the people who were managing me were really nice. Like the lady who called me "good girl", she was one of the nicest there. She kept reminding me to sign out when I leave because otherwise I won't get paid. The aunties there were really nice, like the ones who were washing the dishes in the kitchen behind Tiffin room. Okay actually all the regular staff were really nice and friendly.
There was this Indian guy I ran into when I was looking for the cafeteria. I was actually outside the cafeteria but I kept thinking it was a restaurant (it looked that posh) and he was like, "yes this is the cafeteria". He even gave me the directions to the lift so that I won't get lost after lunch. So nice. ^^
The auntie at the uniform room was really nice too, she helped me change my uniform when it couldn't fit properly, and was really patient in finding the right size. Basically, every staff inside the hotel made my part-time job there a rather fabulous experience.
When I was leaving, I ran into this super hot girl in the locker room.
Like, extremely boyish-hot kind of girl.
She had her hair cut short like the popular men cut now, with the sides short and the top longer.
When I was changing my courtshoes to sneakers, she plopped herself down in this chair a few down from mine and spoke to me,
"You work in the Tiffin room?"
"Yeah! How did you know?"
She smiled mysteriously.
"Are you based on agency too?" I asked.
"Nope, I work here full-time." she said with that really cool, nonchalant wave of her hands.
"Is it very tiring?" I asked.
"Of course!" she said with a roll of her eyes, but it wasn't your usual annoying roll. It's that kind of really cool and blase way that made me like her even more.
"Yeah I once worked 12 hours in a go and nearly died." I recounted.
"12 hours? I do that too, not so bad what."
In all, I like her. She is friendly, DAMN cool and really nice. Like if there is a cool meter and all the people who wear crop-tops with words like "GEEK" and "NERD" on them think they are 10/10 cool, this girl can probably be 100/10 by just sitting down in her boyish manner and rolling her eyes. At the "GEEK"s and "NERD"s.
Bahahaha, I sound like a crazy fan girl.
I am not.
I just like friendly people, and those effortlessly cool people.
Will be blogging about Ritz Carlton next (it will be much longer), when my left arm doesn't hurt as much. I feel like waitressing has changed the wellness of my left arm for good. :<