Service staff need to be trained on basic courtesy

Ms Ten Siew Ling's letter (Faster remedies, better trained staff needed at immigration points; Nov 28) provides an insightful observation of a chronic situation at many immigration centres worldwide - stoic-looking, unfriendly immigration personnel based on whom foreign guests form their very first impressions of the country of visit.

Her experience is a reflection of my day trip to Johor Baru about a week ago.

The Woodlands Checkpoint was seemingly crowded for a weekday afternoon with two of three glass doors into the immigration hall initially closed and queue barricades set up to regulate human traffic.

The sight was very much Third World in substance and form.

One scene involved a young female officer shouting at an elderly individual when he joined a queue that was apparently off-limits.

In stark contrast, the reception across the border was far more welcoming with its sprawling immigration hall, with most counters in operation that day. Queues were short and people were attended to expeditiously.

Appropriate training is indeed overdue, especially in operational efficiency and crowd control at our borders.

Our beleaguered public transport woes are already diminishing Singapore's stellar reputation.

Perhaps we need only start with some common courtesy and respect to be truly First World.

Aaron Chong

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