THE TEMASEK TIMES

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Netizens call for boycott of Fairmont Hotel after its director Brian Tan Cheow Eng made derogatory remarks about Singaporeans online

Posted by temasektimes on March 25, 2012

Angry netizens are calling for a boycott of hotel chain Fairmont Hotel and Resorts after its Director of Quality Brian Tan Cheow Eng made multiple derogatory remarks on Singaporean workers on Facebook!

In a discussion thread on Facebook about a Swiss lawyer’s comments on Singaporeans not being ‘entitled to jobs in their own country’, Mr Tan argued that it is not the job of the government to protect the jobs of Singaporeans and bemoaned the poor quality of Singapore workers:

“If you do that in the private sector, no company would want to move here just to hire WEAK and LAZY Singaporeans.”

Mr Tan added that foreigners do a lot of jobs that ‘Singaporeans don’t want to do’ and asked Singaporeans to stop behaving like ‘babies’:

“Foreigners do a lot of jobs that Singaporeans don’t want to do. What’s the harm in that? In fact, some industries will collapse without foreigners….If we Singaporeans think we are so good, then don’t be afraid to compete for jobs with the best talent in the world. Come on, stop behaving like babies waiting to be spoon fed all the time!”

Though he later clarified that his comments were ‘taken out of context’, the damage is already done as netizens rally to make their displeasure felt.

Tony Wee was one of the first to call for a boycott of Fairmont Hotel:

“Quality at Fairmount hotel and resort has just been struck off my list with immediate effect. Thanks to Brian Tan. I may be an insignificant customer but i believe everything has to start somewhere.”

Alan Tan added:

“more hotel on the blacklist…boycotted…owners and shareholders of Fairmont, you all can thank Mr Brian ‘traitor’ Tan for 1 less customer…i may be only 1 but every one makes up for a whole lot of lost businesses and I’m sure going to spread the word to my friends and relatives to do the same.”

One irate netizen Ken Ong has switched to another hotel:

“My directors were suppose to stay in Fairmont Hotel in Singapore. I have already cancelled the stay and switch to another hotel.”

Concerned netizens can offer their ‘feedback’ to Fairmont Hotel here.

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Related articles:

A Singaporean girl writes to Brian Tan Cheow Eng

Singaporeans are ‘weak and lazy’, says Fairmont Hotel Director Brian Tan Cheow Eng

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22 Responses to “Netizens call for boycott of Fairmont Hotel after its director Brian Tan Cheow Eng made derogatory remarks about Singaporeans online”

  1. Mdm Tan said

    Fairmont Hotel will be out of my list from now onwards !!!!

  2. Clowny said

    being a director also dunno how to keep ur mouth shut, itchy hands to type in facebook

  3. S V Govind said

    Let me share what a delightful experience I had at Swissotel (Fairmont’s sister company) not too long ago.

    —– Forwarded Message —-
    From: Xanther s
    To: stforum@sph.com.sg
    Cc: sayit@case.org.sg; stb_yoursingapore@stb.gov.sg
    Sent: Tuesday, 21 September 2010 18:12:00
    Subject: A Nightmarish Hospitality Experience

    I hope Mr Aiden McAuley, Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific Swissotel and General Manager Swissotel The Stamford would read this and give me an explanation because if he doesn’t then I might be forced to take this matter up to Mr Meinhard Huck President of Swissotel International instead.

    They say your wedding day is the most important day in a person’s life right? Naturally you want everything to go smoothly.

    My ROM ceremony was scheduled to take place at the Esplanade on Saturday 18 September 2010 at 7.30pm. In view of this, my husband & I had decided to get 2 rooms from any of the nearby hotels for us to get ready in. Against our better judgement, we decided to forgo The Ritz Carlton where we normally go for weekend staycations and for a change try the Swissotel The Stamford.

    We realised that we actually had Raffles Club-Amex vouchers for this hotel and decided to use this voucher for one of the rooms. I did an online booking for this and called the hotel 2 days prior to checking in and stated that I was using our Platinum American Express credit card to guarantee the booking and the Raffles Club discounted voucher for one room. I also clearly told what the occasion was and that I needed an early check in at 12pm and preferably rooms next to each other or adjoining.

    On the 18th of September, at 11.55am on route to the hotel, I called the front desk to inform them of my arrival only to hear that the rooms were not ready, not even 1 room was. Being the considerate people that we are, the two of us decided to go sort out some other things and returned to the hotel at 2pm which is the standard check-in time.

    On arrival at the front desk, we were attended to by a person named Jon. When we gave the details to the reservation we were told by this Jon that only 1 room was ready and we would have to wait for the other one. Further to this, this person also told us that our American Express-Raffles Club voucher could not be used because we hadn’t “called and informed” them that we were using it. While I was struggling to keep my annoyance in check, my husband being the accommodating person that he is told Jon that it was alright and we would take the first room and wait in it for the other room.

    We checked in and unpacked. As this was our wedding day, you can imagine the number of things we had with us. After settling in we ordered room service from In-room dining. All through this we called the front desk a total of 3 times with regards to our other room and were told all 3 times that someone would be calling us back. No one called us back.

    Having worked in the Hospitality sector for several years in the past, I pretty much understood how busy cheek-in time can be so
    I told my husband to wait awhile before trying again. I then proceeded to run a bath for myself before the arrival of my makeup artist. That was when I found out that the shower & bath in the bathroom was spoilt. Jon from the front desk had assigned me a room with faulty plumbing on my wedding day. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I broke down and started to cry.

    Really I want to thank the Swissotel The Stamford for making me break down and copiously weep on my wedding day. You guys are simply amazing. Anything to stress out a bride on her big day huh guys?

    My husband being the cool rational one immediately went down to the reception. He asked them what was going on with the other room and why we had been given a faulty room. Jon, however instead of answering him appropriately or even giving him the proper reasons, incensed my husband further by refusing to even look at him when he (my husband) was questioning him. This truly enraged my husband and he demanded to see the manager. After a little while the manager came out to talk to him. My husband’s understanding nature by this time had completely evaporated and he insisted that we get 2 proper rooms within the next 5 minutes. The front office then upgraded us to 2 adjoining rooms on a higher floor. This was apparently supposed to pacify us. I do not need to tell you how much more this distressed me.

    To get to our new rooms on the higher floor, we would have to take the lift on our present floor to the 38th story, walk to the other side of the building and then take the lift there to the higher floors. The lifts to the higher floors have to be activated by the key card. Now bear in mind that our parents, makeup artist, hairstylist and bridesmaid & best men were all on their way to the hotel. Also think of the eight bags of luggage that we already had unpacked and settled properly in to the old room.

    Needless to say, it was a mad rush to the new room for me as I had to shower before my artist arrived. My husband however remained in the old room waiting for the bell hop to arrive to help him move the stuff in our old room to our new room. The bell hop never came. After another frenzied, panicked call finally a bell hop appeared and helped my husband with our things. On the way to our new room, the bell hop tried to explain to us that there were some internal problems with the bell counter and the front office to which my irate husband just retorted that that had nothing to do with a paying guest.

    Eventually after rushing around we managed to get our things sorted in to the individual rooms and just as we were getting to prepare our stuff for getting ready for our ROM, one-by-one our family and co-ordinators started to arrive. This means that the phone kept ringing off the hook as each reception staff kept calling to ask if they should send so-and-so up to our room or not? You simply can not imagine just how upset I was. You have to be there, going through this, to actually understand how nerve-wrecking the entire ordeal was.

    Somehow, thanks to our amazing family and marvellous friends we managed to get ready and leave the hotel a full forty-five minutes late for our own wedding.

    Once again, thanks Swissotel The Stamford for making my Justice of Peace wait for so long. You really know how to make a wedding an unforgettable thing don’t you?

    If you thought this nightmare hotel experience ended there, you thought wrong.

    We had informed the hotel that we would be checking out late the next morning. So around 2pm the next day, while we were busy repacking our things, someone from the front office rang our doorbell to ask us when we would be checking out. I mean, really, isn’t there a subtle way to tell us to get lost? God knows, you guys have hinted it since we checked in that you would rather have us gone as soon as possible. Once again my ever patient husband explained that we were in the process of packing and we would be leaving soon.

    At exactly 2.20pm the TV and air conditioning in our room went off. When my husband called the operator to check on this, he was told that as long as a key card was in the slot the electricity would not fail. She then very kindly asked if my husband would like to have an electrician come up to the room to take a look. He told her not to bother and to send a bell hop instead.

    Having worked in hotels before, I know that if a guest is checking out later then what he/she said they would, the reception would have to send a re-programmed key card to them so that the electricity wouldn’t get cut-off. Really, how rude was this? We had to wait in a stuffy, non-aircon room for a good fifteen to twenty minutes before the bell hop arrived to help us with the luggage.

    While my husband went to sort things out with the valet for our car, I proceeded to the reception to check out and who should be the one there to check me out other then the infamously unhelpful Jon.

    I did not get a single apologetic or contrite word from him with regards to almost ruining my wedding. Not even a word of thanks for my patience in not throwing a tantrum and demanding the world. He didn’t even ask me to come and stay in Swissotel again as he passed me my receipt (not that I would in a million years, thank you very much!) but isn’t that supposed to be the standard way of saying “Good bye, good riddance” in hotel lingo?

    Needless to say that after tipping everyone when we checked in from the valet, the bellhop to the in-room dining waiter (we spent almost $50 just in tips in that hotel) I am extremely disappointed with the horrible, atrocious service standards in Swissotel The Stamford. It is truly appalling that you have people like Jon standing at the front of the house as your first line of welcome to the Swissotel brand in Singapore. Simply terrible! There is not a chance in hell that I would ever recommend this hotel to any of my friends or family living overseas to try out nor would I ever suggest this hotel to my attached friends looking for wedding packages or staycation hotels.

    I am truly curious how the Swissotel The Stamford could win the Hospitality Asia Platinum Award 2009-2011 in 23 categories. If you want my honest opinion, Swissotel should really take a page out of The Ritz Carlton’s book of excellent customer service standards.
    To re-quote what I said seconds before I broke down in tears to my husband when the shower wouldn’t work, “We should have just gone to the Ritz”

    Mrs S V Govindasamy

    Mr McAuley responded by asking me and my husband to come back for a stay “on the house” to make up for this dismal display of hospitality. I told him as politely as I could where he could place that offer.

    The moral of the story is, Brian Tan, dont talk so much cock. Just make sure all your staff can speak english well beyond basic conversational level and stop paying slave wage for cheap labour. You know what they say, you pay peanuts you…(finish the sentence yourselves please.)

    • spotlessleopard said

      Ms. S V Govind….a little verbose….but you certainly are polite…..I have stayed in Singapore Hotels from 3 to 5 stars and from your letter I do recommend to his Bosses ……likes of Brian Tan should be removed immediaely from that Organisation and must be blackballed from ever being part of the Hospitality Business……

  4. wayang said

    Is there such a hotel in Singapore? I have not heard of it in the first place!

  5. Bernard Wang said

    Those remarks by Mr Brian Tan seem particularly vicious to me. Why does he hate Singaporeans so much? Is he a foreigner? Is he a member of a political party?

    If he is a Singaporean, then I am saddened to know that such extremely derogatory remarks can be made by a fellow citizen.

    I hope and pray that all Singaporeans will avoid staying at this hotel chain which seems to discriminate against Singaporeans, if the disparaging words of this particular person is anything to go by.

    I wonder if his remarks can be considered defamatory.

    • M said

      He is a Singaporean..and if you go to his facebook page he supports the Worker’s Party. Anyway it’s not the hotel chain’s fault..fairmont singapore is run by a totally different management team than other fairmont properties throughout the world..

  6. explorealberta said

    There is truth that due to market forcess, private sector companies tend to choose the cheapest possible option to maximize profits, while remaining operational. However an employees’s work ethic and efficiency has NO direct relation to his/her nationality. Both foreigners and local Singaporeans can be equally efficient or equally inefficient in their work.

    One of the many reasons for the global phenomena of large corporations and SME preferring foreigners is basically due to BOTTOM LINE (profit/loss), Brian Tan being a Director, with performance (bonus) being pegged to profits and shareholder value, knows that all too well. But for Brian to make a sweeping statment that Singaporeans are “WEAK and LAZY” is just wrong!

    Let’s see Brian’s reaction when his ‘Ang Moh’/Caucasian (Canadian) Fairmont Chairman decides that they need to ‘downsize’ the executives because all the local Singaporean directors and managers are getting too expensive, and decides to hire fresh 30-40 year old MBAs (?) from India, who’s willing to accept half of their salary. “Rinse and repeat” the cycle, its all about financials (money). Its already widespread among the entry-level positions, and its also beginning to spread to the middle and upper management positions too!

    In 5-10 years time, when you wave a cab along Orchard Road, you might just see Uncle Tan at the driver’s wheel.
    You: “Uncle, Vivocity, thank you. Hey you’re that infamous Brian Tan, I remember you!”
    Uncle Tan: “Yah, I got retrenched. I used to be a director, but lost my job last year to a cheaper foreigner. I had to ‘downsize’ from my $2.5mil condo to a $800k 4-room HDB. Now I have to drive a cab to payoff my mortgage, feed my 3 children and see them through University. I know, karma’s a bitch.”

  7. Nottingham said

    nowadays singapore netizens is destroying the fundamentals of freedom of speech (including the freedom to criticise). if they want boycott, lets boycott freedom of speech too!

  8. Prabu said

    Dear fellow Singaporeans for the last 10 years or so we can see how the civil service & policies crafted by the government is favoring foreigners over Singaporeans. There is a sense of double standards as if if you are a foreigner you are automatically a talent, if you are a local Singaporean you are discriminated while jobs, education scholarships etc at our expense is given away to foreigners.

    In recent days the above mentioned just got worst as some foreigners brought crime along to our Singapore. Cases such as the 24 year old PRC who raped a 13 year old girl.

    Now there has been cases of potential kidnap of young children and the police dismissed it by “warning Singaporeans not to spread rumors”

    We need to come together, as many of us in huge numbers, to demand transparency from government, the police, immigration authorities and hold them accountable for the current sad state of events our country is in.

    Come rally with me for “A Rally for Singaporeans”
    Venue: Hong Lim Park
    Date:31st March 2012
    Time: 5pm

    Yours truly,
    Prabu

    PS: If you want to be a speaker or help with this event email me @ fluteprabu@gmail.com or SMS to 92230514

  9. Ron Lim said

    I stay many nights in hotels every year and most of them are in five stars. Things do go wrong and can be irritating. Quite often they are quite minor but I may get upset because I am stressed out already. This is what I normallly do:

    – There is always a Duty Manager around and he can be approached. They are well trained and will often assist to solve the problem.

    – The Front Desk staff can vary from experienced to just very fresh staff who do not even know how to handle an upset customer.

    And always write a note to inform the GM. Most hotels have their Operations Meeting at 9 AM each morning and all guest complaints are reviewed. The senior management will get to hear about it.

    The hotel will very often make amends by sending up chocolates, fruit basket even a bottle of wine with an apology. They value customer feedbacks. I have learnt to tone down my writing and just let them know the issues and what can be done better.

    • SV G said

      I have worked in hotels before and do let me assure u @ these morning meetings we usually laugh at the guest complaints and dismiss them with a “buy ‘em off with a fruit basket” and as I can see here it clearly works..but when its your wedding day I’m sure you wouldn’t take too kindly to being offered “amends”..what can you possibly do? Rewind time?

  10. Charlotte said

    i totally agree that the nationality of a person does not depict the capability nor work efficiency. However, after seeing the article above, my take is that the statement is probably targeted at certain Singaporeans – those who have been pampered and taken care of, those who are less competitive and perhaps, weak and lazy (in every country, I am sure there are people who are weak and lazy :). I do not see the statement being targeted to ALL Singaporeans.

    It is indeed true that many Singaporeans do not take up jobs that many foreigners are willing to take, especially jobs that require longer hours and offer lower wages. And it is also true that in general, protective policies, be in within an organisation or a nation, tends to decrease competitiveness of individuals within the group.

    Perhaps, we should be less sensitive about this and view the matter from a more positive persective. :)

  11. Ridz said

    From what I have read, I am quite sure he Brian Wang did not mean all Singaporeans.Nevertheless,he should have been more sensitive and careful how he phrases his words.At this point in time,there are many sensitive issues that Singaporeans are unhappy with,so what he said could have been perceived as all Singaporeans. Why would he say something that will damage the name of the hotel,I am sure that was not his intention.I was from the service industry for 37years.Its not what you do or say,it’s how you do it and how to say it. Bare in mind the customer is a big part of your pay check and bonuses that you get.Also they are the cheapest and effective way of advertisement for any organization.Front line staff needs to be motivated to carry out their duties.Many service company Tends to give good training but don’t follow on progress of staff,that is motivating them.The sence of belonging of the staff is not to the company but to the leader who is leading them .During my time,our sence of belonging was to the company.Now situation has changed with the new generation.To me the whole situation has been blown out of proportion .I am retired now,all I can say in the service industry,you can’t buy experience and it’s not about paper qualification only.It is an industry that you deal with good,bad and the ugly.I hope I have shared with you some valuable experiences.God bless

  12. Ridz said

    My sincere apology for posting the wrong name.It should have been Brian Tan and not Brian Wang.

  13. Exaggerated said

    If you think foreigners are good, you have either been working blindly or you are just one of them who like to paint a beautiful picture and play the games of others cleaning up your shitty work. Upper management levels hiring only their own nationality and having that flock mentality to gang up on locals.

    If you think foreigners are hardworking and willing to do the jobs Singaporeans do not want to do. These jobs are normally jobs which can be physically demanding and requires no talents at all, getting pay only meagre salaries. The reason they are here is because they are getting pay higher than back in their home country. Compare the amount they earn here and remitted back, they can feed their whole family even with a few hundred SG dollars earned. Are Singaporeans able to survive on such salaries?

    So have your words vetted through that organ of yours up there before you make any constructive comments considering a man of your calibre. It does not reflect well on someone who just shoots without aiming.

  14. Kelvin Wu said

    Fairmont, used to be called Raffles The Plaza back then when I started off working as a part time bell boy! Now grown up and still missing those days, I’m utterly disgrace of this Hotel, this Director saying such stuff. I’m choosing a hotel for my wedding soon, wanted to choose this hotel because of my history with them. Now with is saga going on, you can kiss this sale good bye!

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