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The incompetencies of the Mauritian society
For many, Mauritius is a paradise island and to protect their belief, they will usually overlook the inherent problems in the country to avoid the challenges of the truth. To be patriotic is a good thing but to be ignorant is undoubtedly foolish.
When you're released from the mesmerising beautiful beaches and comforting weather, you find yourself in a society full of knaves. Don't let your judgement be impaired by those fake smiles of people who are already plotting how best they can use you. Remain alert and you will see you are entangled in a web of unfairness, deceit and treachery.
If you're ready to hear the bitter truth, then read on.
Mauritius has a free health service system but that's used mainly by people who cannot afford to go private. The reason is simple - the service ain't good. I am not saying there are bad doctors, no. You will eventually get treated but you would have lost all your self-respect in the process. You will have to bow down to all sorts of stupid procedures. You will be called for an appointment at a specific time and be seen some 3 hours later if you're lucky. You will undergo so much frustration and stress that you'd wish you had more money to go to a clinic.
Of course, people still believe it's a good service because what can you expect for free, eh? And they'd argue that there are too many patients to cope with. These are the same people who go to private clinics.
So you'd think a private doctor/clinic would be better right? A paediatrician I went to used a wooden spatula to look into the mouth of babies. In the waiting room, you could hear other sick children coughing and the same spatula is going to be used on all of them. You're paying Rs1,000 for a consultation and the paediatrician can't even buy disposable spatulas. Or is he not aware this could result in the transmission of viral infections? Needless to say, I went to someone else. I probably thought a foreign doctor from Europe would be better than a Mauritian one after the incident. Got an appointment for 11am and was not seen by 12.15. You can understand a delay of 15-30 mins but more than that is an insult especially if you're paying for the consultation. It seems the mindset of people in Mauritius is "You need me, so I can do what I want". Foreigners who come here to work eventually fall into the same mindset and that's a shame really.
Private clinics are no better. You get a quicker treatment but the service is still unpleasant for the amount of money you're paying. A mauritian would tell you he gets his family treated at Apollo Bramwell as an ego-boosting statement to show he's well off but he would never complain about the service even if it was not what he expected.
999 Emergency Numbers
You would think that when your life is in danger, you would be able to rely on the police force/fire brigade to help you. Contrary to normal belief, in Mauritius emergency numbers are a joke. Try dialling 999/911 and see for yourself. Sometimes the line is engaged, other times it rings for 2 minutes without anyone answering the call and you're forced to hang up. Don't expect them to call you back. You'd be dead by then.
No one seems to complain or the authorities do not see it as important, so you're on your own. To overcome this problem, you'll see that many people have guard dogs to deter thieves and they rely on their neighbours' help in case of fire. If you don't have good neighbours, beware!
Forget about making complaints, it's who you know!
Under the Environmental Sanitation Regulations 1995, an owner should not neglect his land to prevent the spread of diseases (from mosquitoes, rats and other vermins) and other problems associated with overgrown property. When the municipality did not do its job, I tried making a complaint and got nowhere. I was literally told by a sanitary officer to go and plead to whoever was in charge for the action to be taken.
In the government sector, if you don't know the right people, then you'll have to bribe the people who can make it (whatever you're looking to do) happen. Ironically, you'll see posters everywhere telling you to report anyone accepting bribe.
People are indifferent in their jobs
It seems to me that people are mostly uninterested in their jobs, they just do the minimum required of them to get their salary. Going to Winners Supermarket one day, I bought 5 items and went to the counter for less than 10 items. 2 people who were in front of me had many more items. One with a trolley and the other had something like 10 mine apollo and other things. Now to me, 10 items of the same kind is still 10 items. So he shouldn't be in the line. The staff at the counter was not bothered, she was just taking her time scanning the products. It is her responsibility to tell people who have more than 10 items to go to normal counters. She was as unconcerned as the manager who was overseeing the store. Since he was just in front of the counter, I called him and asked him where the fast track counter was and he said you're queueing in the right place. So I said, the people in front of me did not have 10 items or less and they shouldn't be in front of me. He was not expecting this from me and knew he had to do something. He went to the woman who had the trolley and talked aggressively to her so that she would move queue. He said nothing to the other man in front perhaps because the latter was a big guy.
In a snack shop I was queueing to buy some food when I noticed people coming straight to the counter. They completely ignored the queue. One guy decided to join the queue but when another staff came in from the kitchen, he quickly gave her a piece of paper for the cake he had ordered before. I raised up my hand and said I was here before and I should be served first. Obviously the man was angry but I think many mauritians are ill-mannered in that respect and show rarely any sign of courtesy. As far as the staff is concerned, it's her duty to serve people first in the queue rather than those who find the guts to come forward even when they are last.
My friend was flying from London to Mauritius by Air Mauritius and the guy sitting next to him was overweight and was occupying one quarter of his seat. He went to a hostess and said how it was uncomfortable for him especially since this was a long haul flight. Another hostess told him to go speak to the passenger himself. Can they be more inconsiderate than that?
These are the 3 circumstances that I remember now but there have been lots of other situations where I've actually noticed that people here, in general, are not bothered about customer service and their job description.
There are many laws but still we live in a barbaric society
There's a law for practically everything here, unfortunately these are just something written on paper but not really implemented in our everyday life. When driving for example, how many really respect the Highway Code? I've seen it so many times how police officers turn a blind eye to people parking on double yellow lines, overtaking on solid white lines, speeding etc.
Someone complained to the police that his neighbour had too many dogs and they were driving him crazy with all the barking at night. He just couldn't sleep. The police came over and saw that the neighbour had 6 dogs; you are only allowed 2 per household. Being very good with words (or money), the neighbour got away with it as the police officer told him to get a dog breeder's licence and that would solve the problem. So much for complaining!
2 police officers were walking down the road when this man suddenly decided to throw whatever leftovers he had on the pavement. I observed and thought he would be fined for throwing rubbish in public places but the officers just looked at him momentarily and then resumed their conversation.
Do we really have a water problem or is it just for the poor and helpless?
Okay, in the dry season, our reservoirs dry up very quickly and measures need to be put in place so that whatever little water we have left is used efficiently for the whole country and population. However that's not the case. The water supply to the hotels are never cut off because that would be bad for tourism. It's the people at the lower end of the scale who has to suffer. If you're lucky to have a member of the parliament (or another influential person) living near you, then you probably won't experience the problem. But for the common people, it's an ordeal.
Even people who have water tanks complain about this because once the water in the tank is used up, you're no better than the person without a tank. Water is a necessity and in periods of drought, I think it is unfair to supply water to some and not to the rest.
Mauritius is a lost paradise!!!
Maybe when Mark Twain and Charles Darwin visited Mauritius in the 19th century, it was good enough to be called heaven on earth. That statement cannot be used anymore, please. You wouldn't give the same title now to the top of the range car in the 1980s, would you? Things have evolved over time and we need to be realistic. What paradise do you see? I see more and more construction and less of the beauty. People want bigger cars, bigger houses, the same luxury as Europe and something needs to be sacrificed to make way for these things. Yes, it hurts the ego to acknowledge the truth about our so loved country, but the sooner you realise this, the quicker you can help to save of what is left of the once paradise.
People seem to be confused about the word "paradise". It's not just about the beauty of the landscape or the enchanting weather; it's also about the standard of living, the pleasure that you get everyday in performing your daily activities. To me these do not exist anymore. If you look deeply within yourself, you'll see that you're struggling and that alone defeats the purpose of a paradise.
It is difficult to accept reality as it is especially if you live a comfortable life and are used to the ways of the current society. My friends tell me there's no better place for them to live than Mauritius. That's just because they've never lived anywhere else; they do not have another set of standards to compare to. It's not about adapting to a new lifestyle, it's about right and wrong. To portray Mauritius as a paradise is to give false hope and to accept a false statement is being ignorant. How can a positive change happen if you're happy with the way things currently are?
Btw I've only touched the surface of things and there are many more things to discuss...
As a Briton married to a Mauritian, I feel qualified to comment. When I first went to MRU, 40 years ago, people were friendly and approachable. Pass a stranger in the street and it was "Bonzour".
Nowadays, everybody is rushing about, engrossed in talking on their mobiles, driving like lunatics, earning money to buy McDonalds or Burger King, sitting at Caudan, drinking expensive beer, just to look "cool". But, if you analise it, they are just trying to be like Brits or Americans or whoever. That's just how lfe is there too.
Go to Rodrigues and you will encounter the same courtesy that existed in MRU, years ago.
We're living in rural France now, because it's like the UK was,for me 50 years ago.
One has to accept that the world, not just MRU, is changing, and not usually for the better.
I accept the idiocyncracies of the French, as I do the Mauritians. I can't change it,but I'm aware of it all going on around me.
Why bother confronting a customer in a shop for pushing in? he's usually so thick or at least thick skinned to care. Life' too short to get perplexed about stuff you can't change!
I realise, actually I know, I can't change the way things are. I'm done with expectations because it only leads to frustration. However the Mauritian part of me feels sad to see where my country is heading for. I write in the hope that those who come across it realise the rosy picture that's been painted is just a mirage and if the collective consciousness caused by an increased awareness of enough people is reached, things could change for the better. I do not hold my breath though.
Okay! Where do I start? I am a Mauritian myself, however when I was 20, I decided to move on from this lil paradise island and explore life overseas. I went to Australia, Melbourne and studied there for about 5 years. Obviously being from a middle class family, I could not afford my studies and had to rely on a student loan. Therefore, I could not visit Mauritius whenever I wanted and for 3 years, whatever I earnt, I saved it for my tickets. 3 Years of patience and I came down to Mauritius to visit my family and friends. This was in 2011. Things were still okay and my lil paradise was still a paradise. I was happy. Today, 5 years later I am back to Mauritius for good after completing my Nursing degree. Man, what a disappointment?! I used to cry to come back to this place. Now, it's nothing but a shit hole. I honestly could not live here any longer :( The price of everything has gone up like 10 times more. I ended up spending like Rs600 for only a chocolate, some peanuts, couple of packets of biscuits and that was it. I was shocked.
The other day I accompanied my mum to the hospital for her normal eye check up. Appointment was for 9am. Off we go, perfect on time, waiting! This woman comes and happens to know my mum and then my mum (as any Mauritian parents would do) starts going off about me and that I just came back from Australia what not haha. So this nurse, gets me to accompany mum into the eye check up room. When we got there, there was this other lady in there filling out some paper work and asking mum questions. She goes - where is your lunette? Mum's like - It's at home. Without letting mum finish her sentence, abruptly interrupting the nurse goes - Ah bon. Kifer? Lakaz p met li kisa?. Man, I could not hear her talking like that to mum and I gave it to her. I am myself a qualified and experienced Nurse having worked in Australia, a much bigger country and more compassionate unlike this so called paradise place of ours. So I am well aware of how to treat a patient and how to communicate with them. Nurses are extremely respected in Australia and there is obviously a reason for that - we don't treat our patients like dogs. The treatment one would receive at the hospitals over here is shocking. Absolutely shocking. Anyway, long story short, that day we ended up going home at like 3pm. So much for a 9am appointment eh?
Another things id like to add is just the overall behaviour of our fellow Mauritians. The looks they give you when you walk down the road to when you're in the supermarket doing your shopping. Seriously, I feel like booking the next flight back to Melbourne and never coming back here again. Same thing goes for the beaches as well. Whatever happened to our beautiful country? I am scared to death to rip out my S4 and use at the beach after that incident with the foreigner :o our beaches are dirty, people are rude, there is nothing good about them anymore! What beauty, what paradise? I am ridiculously disappointed.
A day at the bank -
Obviously since I have lived overseas for that long, I have a bank account in Melbourne with AUS$ in it. So my friend western unioned me some money the other day and I went to the nearest SBM that does this stuff. Queued for about 15 mins only to find out at the counter that I gotta fill out a form first, which was not kept at the forms section (otherwise I aint dumb to just line up to realise I need to fill one out first). Anyways, I took it from the lady and went to fill it out then lined up again. Came to my turn, I handed it to the girl who appeared to not be having such a nice day that particular day, unless there was something on my face, not sure! Anyway, no greetings, no smile, no enthusiasm to wanna help me, nothing at all! SO I just stood there quietly, looking at her not so charming face, waiting for this to be over. Surprisingly, this simple thing which only involves typing the data on the computer, get my signature and give me the money, took over 45 mins!! I was fuming. In this whole time, not even once was my patience acknowledged nor did the girl handling this once updated me about why this was taking so long. Finally, I found that she did not know how to do it and that was why. Anyway, had this be Australia, I would be in and out in 5 mins. Seriously, I understand that Mauritius is a dot compared to western countries, but come on peeps, is it honestly so much to ask to be treated properly? Is it a lot asking for people that work in customer service to actually show that they are customer focused? Not only can bad customer service ruin your day but it also create such a bad image on our country. If I could, Id run a seminar on customer service. People over here are the most ignorant and selfish people I have come across in my life. They don't care about you at all, just as long as the clock hits home time, off they go! To sum it up, all I want to say is that our lil paradise island is going down the drain. I can see it happening right now.. the girl that was once proud to spread the word about her country, is now scared to tell her foreign friends where she is from. I would be damned to invite my friends over here to spend their holidays in case they get robbed, or raped (beautiful which chicks)!
Anyway, been about 3 months since I came back yet saw a lot of unexpected things. My view on living here for the rest of my life has significantly changed. I would be mentally retarded to live here. So here's hoping that someone out there, or maybe UP THERE i should say, sees this and does something about this. Otherwise, the small amount of tourists that we have left coming to Mauritius will soon vanish. Thailand is the new holiday spot to be honest - amazing beaches, exceptional service, beautiful people in and out, affordable for anyone with a tight budget and just the right place to be for a perfect holiday. SO? WAKE UP MAURITIUS
I know the frustration and I can only sympathise with you.
It's only after you've lived abroad for a while that you realise how many things are wrong in this country. People here are just used to this or don't know any better.
If you're able to settle in Australia, work visa permitted, don't delay and go :)
Thats true,Mauritius can not be called a paradise its not just the beauty of the landscape or the enchanting weather that can make a place paradise,its also about way of living,mind set of people and standard of living that could make a place worth living.People really ignore whatever is wrong just because that does not concern them or they dont want to bother about all these things.
People can turn a blind eye to things that don't concern them now but what they don't realise is that they could be in the same situation sometime too. That's why there's a saying which says "Don't do to others what you wouldn't want others do to you".
After living here 5 years, I have to concur with the realities of life that you have written here. As someone who has lived and worked in several countries, I tend to compare to previous standards. One big problem here is work ethics. You have mentioned it regarding the health service. I am horrified at the way human beings are received in the major hospitals. The organisation seems to deal with people as if on a factory production chain. In administration offices people are sometimes insulted when they come with their problems. In restaurants the slow and indifferent service is blatant.
As for politeness this is only present in areas where personnel have been especially trained to deal with clients as in the tourism sector. Jumping the queue in shops happens frequently. I have been victim of this when patiently queuing to use an ATM only to have a person ignoring me and passing in front. Same at the bakery, am next but someone will come in the shop start ordering and be served straight away.
I also sense a raise in social tensions. Neighbours can sometimes be jealous and anti towards foreign neighbours just because they are visibly well-off. Nasty gestures happen like neighbour's dogs allowed to do their business on your front entrance. Civility being lost.
Indeed, paradise is misused terminology, reality is disappointing.
I feel embarrassed that you, as a foreigner trying to settle here, have to put up with the barbaric behaviour of many. I have zero tolerance for nonsense because I know we can be better people towards each other.
If that is life in paradise, can you imagine life in hell? I dare not...
Soooo true! I am a Mauritian and I am very disappointed too by those things in my country and I came to realise them only when I married a French man. My poor husband got in so many trouble with those persons I call 'racists'. YES, the truth is that many Mauritians are racists. Like one of the man above said Mauritians are very pleasant when they are in direct contact with tourists but in everyday life, they do not like foreigners! My husband and I have been through so many incidents like those you described above. ONE THING, I no more travel with Air Mauritius now, that's the worst airline I know and not necessarily the cheapest!
When I came to live in Europe, i soooo noticed the HUGE DIFFERENCE! I love my country but I TRUST how painful it can be sometimes to live there. Here is one of our stories:
At Monoprix Supermarket at Curepipe, we bought cakes and coffee at the cafe. As we were carrying many bags, we asked the lady to put our cakes in the plastic bag please, She replied to us: 'But you should do this. This is not my job' OMG, my husband and I were very angry about that!!
And we have so many of these!
Anyway, thanx for this share, very nice article.
Thanks for your comment. I keep telling my friends that in Europe , there are better people than in Mauritius because they are way nicer, more helpful & sympathetic and more courteous and that makes a huge difference to the standard of living but they tend to disagree because they either haven't travelled or have not lived long enough in a foreign country to mingle well in the society.
I hope you and your husband are finding it better now in Europe.
Oh you never faced such inconveniences before? Weird. I've noticed several times that foreigners are treated differently(better). Could it be a skin tone bias?? Well maybe marrying this French man brought you bad luck..LOL (Inverse anticipated effect :P) Jk..ha ha
Nevertheless I can identify with your encounter.
I was in some supermarket the other day. Bought a can and asked this woman at the counter for a pipette as cans can be dirty and unsafe if your lips come in contact with the possibly contaminated area. The lady replied: We don't give pipettes for cans. Unlady-like actually..I was like.. What a BXX. lol
While these conditions are bad and definitely needs to get better, I am interested in an even worse problem, that of slavery. However, as an outsider I have only become more aware of this problem through my friend who is from Mauritius and who is interested in my research on modern day slavery. Is there any one that can help point me to some sources?
Instead of complaining why not make an effort to change society for the better and regain our paradise?.Let`s not leave it to the next generation to sort out the problems.We think we know best because we have experienced a higher level of service abroad but evidently we have a duty to the next generation.We can do it if we act in unison.
Gices, you know, I wonder how you keep your calm. Give me your yoga teacher's number. Because I'm going to start using my punches again. And then I'm gonna write an article "How to use punches effectively" lol..
I'm glad am not like these people.
It's rare to find good people these days and if you're one of them, then I'm glad to know you. I am a non-violent person who just want to live a simple and happy life. Is that too much to ask the society?
I believe in non-violence too. But I also believe some people can't understand simple talks. And they seem to understand very well 'sign' language.
Its all true. I had been to London with a friend of mine who is a policeman in MU, he went there to pay a visit to his family while i was there to have a good time. And one day my friend, his nephew and i, just went for a stroll and my friend was recording those moments with his nephew with his camera. One policeman saw him and he was immediately arrested. Poor him he did not even know the reason why he was being arrested, i had to go to the police station then they told me that they suspected that he was a gay or something like that! Now tell me, can law be that severe ?
The UK has many laws and they are very strict about them. Actually there are many laws for the protection of gays as well, so I find it hard to believe the police would arrest your friend for that matter. They wouldn't stand a chance in court and you can sue them for that.
Believe it or not but that was a real one..it was in 2002.
And his nephew had 10 years or so.
All the politicians and head of civil services should read this articles and have a copy displayed for the public at large to see how ineffective and inefficient are the public sector workers. It is in their dna and culture. On the other hand the private sector workers seem to earn their money.i wonder if the pm should have a copy in the parliament house or government buildings.
@Haniff_Mohamoodally : Politicians seem to be oblivious to the problems in our day to day life. They are just concerned about converting sugar cane fields to shopping malls these days.
Arrested for being gay in the UK? You must be kidding me mate, these guys are as liberal as it gets. That's the country that gave Elton John and George Michael to the world. That's the country that's allowing women to be bishops. I do not believe your story for a second!
at last an honest perception and evaluaton of Mauritan life
I love my country but we are not perfect, we are so proud but we cannot smell the mess under our own noses- time to own up and accept Mauritius needs help to create a just, fair and HONEST society !!!!!
mauritius is in that state because we expect someone to come and fight for our rights.you must come forward and fight for your right then things will move.do not expect miracle.this country is going down the drain and its call paradise.TO live in this country is a real ordeal.Stress level is very high,the food is low in quality but high in costs.Products of low standard with a high price tag and zero after sale service.Most of the population are in debt.Diseases like diabetes hypertension and cardiac problems are increasing.there is a long queue for psychiatric problems.Its just a paradise for a small group of people who are enriching themselves on the back of the masses.The joy of living is very low here.
I've tried fighting for my rights but believe me you do not want to go down that path. You'll be more stressed and frustrated and this can have a severe impact on your health. You'll only meet dead ends, long periods of waiting and there are no guarantees you'll be successful.
You've raised an important point here and that's many people here are suffering from psychological problems due to the tension of everyday life. There's an increase in demand for medicines to calm oneself and that's why you'll see so many pharmacies popping round every corner.
the whole Mauritian attitudes and culture should radically cahnged and the organisation culteres of the mauritian public and civils servvants must change completely, the ministery responsible for thes services must go abroad like UK and probably Singapour to see hoe services are delivered to the the general public satisfactions , In Mauriritius, the civil and public servants thihk they are doing you a favour when dealing with you rather than they are pain very good wages to serve the public at large, The police service and corruption must be completely overhauled and new system put in place to see the complete elimination of this abominable practice. these old culltures prevade our lives ane there is no place for the current practices in a modern , efficient and competent Mauritian society
and Mauritians are becoming more and more superficial. For instance, FB has become a show off platform. Who is the richest/ most posh/ better looking/ most popular/ who has the biggest, most expensive auto mobile/ Who is the coolest looking/ who has the most likes...Disgusting mentality, if you ask me. People are always busy and have no time for others..Gold diggers..Consumerism...Materialism.
This is an old thread. I haven't visited this site for a long time, so I'll take this opportunity to comment here.
I grew up in Mauritius but live abroad now. I occasionally come to Mtius on holidays, so my perspective now is no longer as someone who lives here.
This thread is full of complaints. I don't have any. Perhaps because I don't live here. Or perhaps because I've lived a long time abroad and seen that the grass is not really greener on the other side.
Every country, every place has its advantages and disadvantages, so does Mauritius, so do more developed countries. If you keep that in mind, you'll realise Mauritius is not such a bad place after all.
Then again, I've chosen not to live here, so perhaps it's easier to say that than live through this day in and day out!
People complain here about others being rude in the shop, in hospital, being watched/commented on the street, bad attitude from others, etc... Just take life a little less seriously, don't expect others to be perfect and you will be less stressed. So what if someone at the bank doesn't serve me with a smile, or someone at the till refuses to fill my shopping bag?
What I particularly appreciate about Mauritius is that they are debrouillards. They don't expect the government or others to do things for them. If something is wrong or broken, they'll go and fix it themselves.
In Europe with their overly developed welfare state, people expect the government to do everything for them and they expect money to fall from the sky while still maintaining a luxurious lifestyle. No money? Let's borrow.
I believe however, that Mauritius is becoming fast like these countries, what with free transport for students, OAPs and so on. Mauritians will soon sit on their ass, taking everything for granted...
Of course there are good and bad things everywhere you go. However I wrote this based on my experience as someone who lived there for 2 years. When you go somewhere as a tourist, it is easy to overlook real problems because you know you wouldn't have to deal with them permanently.
If the cashier doesn't serve me with a smile, it doesn't bother me. But when you're trying to dial emergency services and the line is busy, well how "debrouillard" should you be then?
Then you're stuck big time.
But if people want a really responsive emergency service, more money would need to be spent on it. This could mean taxes increasing. Wait till you hear people complaining about it then.
Mauritius is actually one of the few countries where taxes are very low. You get what you pay for in the end.
Maybe you get a 5 star emergency service in Europe but you also pay 50% tax on your earnings. I don't think anyone would refuse contributing taxes to emergency services but of course a lot of tax money is misspent.
You can't have your cake and eat it.