Preface: The instances listed below are admittedly trivial. But small instances of theft/scam, while bad enough, have a much worse affect. You are always on your guard, not able to fully delve into the culture or trust the people.
Within a week of our return to Asia, we encountered three somewhat dubious incidents. Two of them weren’t really a big deal, but each of them was kind of a surprise after our time among the lovely Kiwis.
Wednesday afternoon. The monsoon has come in and we go to the movies. Rach wants to see a musical, and I’m keen for rewatching the Hobbit. We get to the theatre, she buys her ticket and pays 12 ringgit. (4 USD). I buy my ticket and hand the checkout lady 12 ringgit as well. As we walk away, I realize my ticket only cost 11 ringgit. I have been swindled .30 cents by a teenage movie theatre worker.
I don’t go back. It’s just not worth it for a ringgit, and I did initially hand over too much money (on the assumption that all movie tickets cost the same.) She could have let me know I overpaid and given me the extra back, but she was probably stoked to make a little more than the pittance they pay here.
Rainy Thursday Night. We take the metro to Little India. The restaurant we want to eat at isn’t open yet, so we wander around. We pop into a 7-11 for soft drinks while waiting. We pay with a 100 ringgit (33 bucks) and the guy at the til shortchanges us 20 ringgit (7 bucks). He turns to the next customer and tries to ignore us, but we persist. When he next opens the til, he pulls out a 20 and hands it to me without saying anything.
Him I kind of don’t blame. Many foreigners treat money like it’s from Monopoly and once we called him out on it he paid us back quickly, if a bit begrudgingly. Still, if you can’t trust 7-11, who can you trust?
Saturday Morning. Rach throws our dirty clothes in at the laundromat. She put down her kindle case (my xmas present to her, hand-crafted with a retro print in NZ) down while she was doing laundry. Now, it’s also possible that she left for a few minutes to grab a bite to eat. Anyway, long story short, when she went to grab it next the case was gone.
Leave your pretty anything anywhere (maybe especially in a laundromat) and it can disappear. This isn’t one we can blame Asia for, but coming so soon on the heels of the other incidents it was an extra bummer.
That’s it. Malaysia doesn’t have much on India or Thailand when it comes to scams, it seems.