Along the lines of yesterday's post on food, today's post is about what happens when the bill comes. Here in Malaysia, and many other Asian countries, there are often mini hand battles involved in fighting for the bill. Why?
1) Friends that haven't met each other for a long time often feel they need to give each other a treat. The problem arises when both parties feel the same way.
2) People who know that they earn more than the other party. For example working people vs student or people who have been working several years vs fresh graduates.
3) People who try to show that the HAVE lots of money. Whether or not they really do doesn't matter to them.
4) Finally, there are the genuine people who sincerely want to treat the other party to an enjoyable meal. I'm usually in this category. I love food and I like sharing it with others.
Sometimes, you think you have succeeded in paying the bill only to find out that the other party plays mahjong (or something) with the restaurant owner and all your money is returned to you so that he can pay.
The winners of these battles for the bills don't stay winners for long. The original 'loser' would then feel obligated to organise another meal so that they can repay the other party. Yes, if they had just agreed to go 50/50 in the first palce, all this would have been avoided but there would have been no 'face' in that. Sometimes these back and forth treats feel good but other times, they feel a little tedious and obligatory.