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...