Monday, December 10, 2007

Live and Let Live

After I posted my Hulusi I realized I have sold much of my Hulusis and left with only 1-2 pieces. New stocks will be arriving middle of January.


My website seems to have frequent downtimes. I've feedback to my webhosting company a couple of times already and they have not been able to completely rectify the problem. The last suggestion they gave was to 'program the system to monitor my Tomcat and restart it automatically if it goes down'. Whatever that means. As long as it works.

But if anyone sees that my website is down, please drop me an email to inform me immediately. Thanks!


We had an interesting encounter the other day with a customer. He came to our shop to look for an Erhu because he is starting his beginner class with a teacher. So after looking through a dozen Erhu models, he picked a starter model and paid for it.

A few days later he called again and says he want to return the Erhu and get a refund. Why? Is the Erhu defective? Is it not up to his expectations? Because if it is, he can come back and we can do an exchange or he can choose other models which suits him.

But the reason he wanted to return the Erhu is because his teacher had 'picked' an Erhu for him and wanted him to buy the Erhu.

The customer went further to say that he will complain to the Consumer Association of Singapore(CASE) if we do not let him return the Erhu. I am quite well versed in Singapore's Fair Trading Act and I don't see how this transaction contravenes any of the Fair Trading Acts.

But being nice and peace loving business people, and we cannot bear to see him making a fool out of himself at CASE, we told him to come back to our shop and we refunded his money.

Well, we have no problems with teachers selling instruments to their students to earn some side income. But if the teacher goes as far as condemning my instruments in order to sell his, even after the deal is done, then I would have issues with that.

There is a conception that teachers pick better instruments because they know how to play the instrument. True to a certain extent, but I've seen some teacher's picks that left me totally confounded. I don't know about other instrument shops, but my collegues and I are well versed in different kinds of Chinese instruments. On top of that, hundreds of instruments pass through our hands so I would presume we have enough exposure to different models of instruments.

When we see lemons brought in by customers for repairs, we would rather not comment, than comment negatively.

We prefer to co-exist peacefully.

Live and let live.


  1. I guess its always wiser to keep an open mind and not just listen to their trs. We were recommended to get a yangzhou guzheng by my gal's tr (cos they only carry those in their school) but we just can't accept the 'sound' of it. :p End up getting 1 from you. :D Don't know what is her reaction if we tell her tt we are not getting frm her, hopefully she has an open heart too.

  2. that customer really needs his head examined. i just wanna say that i've always been very pleased by eason's service, and i'm very sure that in this case, you've once again displayed impeccable behaviour throughout the case. well done! i applaud you for being able to turn the other cheek and to force yourself to swallow a bitter pill :)

  3. That's a very generous attitude you have toward a difficult situation!

  4. If you have individual lessons with a teacher, it is very difficult not to buy from the teacher. I presumed the customer is a young student and his parents are upset with the purchase and forced him to ask for a refund. Teachers and especially those from China are always selling and insisting that their students buy from them and these instruments very often are over priced. Some even claimed that the instruments are made by renowned makers and how can the buyer verify? Buying from a shop like Eason would be a better bet as they have to be responsible to their claims. But that will make the teacher very unhappy so we parents are at the losing end. These teachers have the impression that we Singaporean parents are so well off and at their mercy because of their skills.

  5. Thanks for all your comments.

    Yes I agree that parents are in a difficult situation, especially when the situation involves their kids. If they do not listen to their China teachers, they are afraid that their kids would be marginalized. If they do listen to their teachers, they know that it might not be the wisest decision. But if you feed their greed, the issue will never go away. Its ok if the teacher gives his/her recommendations. Its not ok if they use emotional blackmail to arm twist a deal.

    I've heard accounts of some going to the extent of persuading the parents of their students to buy a better quality Erhu each time they go for grading so that they can pass the exam. Its good to have a room full of Erhus, as long as you can afford it (or if you are a music instruments shop). But having a better Erhu does not guarantee that the student will pass the examinations. It is the skills of the student that determines the outcome and who is responsible for their skills? - The teacher.

  6. Buy a new erhu for each exam??!! My boy just took his exam with the bow we got fr u. Actually he was complaining bc he missed his last bow (which he loved the feel of). His teacher just said "why change now? You're used to this bow. Take the exam with this bow!". *hehe*

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  8. Its definitely ok to buy instruments from your teachers. As long as you are comfortable with it and not pressured into it.