I've returned from a recent family holiday to Malaysia and Borneo - part of taking time to educate my young kids to the wider world. The one thing that struck me the most on my return to Europe was the contrast between how people whose work it is to help and serve you - in no matter what capacity - and how they smiled.
Smiling conveys the greatest of human needs - acceptance. It has become a rare commodity in the West. One which I now remark upon when I get one from an airport attendant, a bar person, a hotel person, a coach driver - anyone who works in the 'service industry'.
Whether its just a better quality of training or simply a matter of culture, a smile is ever on the lips of nearly all of those who serve in the East. From room cleaners who meet you in the hallway and bid you 'good day' with a genuine smile, or lift attendants, pool attendants, waiters or restauranteurs who at least appear genuinely happy to get your business.
Maybe it is a cultural thing. Perhaps we in the West see 'service' as demeaning and 'below us' in some way while those in the East do it because they take pride in whatever work it is that they have and do in the service of others. Maybe in the West we have a greater sense of personal entitlement and they don't.
Whatever the reason, when it comes to my choice of rewarding a person's service to me as a customer, I know which kind of person I'm happy to leave the bigger tips with.