Taylor's FSLM Journals
Openings and Closings in Front Counter Transactions of Malaysian Government Hospitals

@ SEARCH Journal of Media and Communication Research

Online ISSN: 2672-7080

*Kuang Ching Hei, Maya Khemlani David, Lau Su Kia & Ang Pei Soo


This paper focuses on two aspects of social interactions: openings and closings. It examines the public transactions occurring between front counter Malay staff and clients/patients seeking services in Malaysian government hospitals. Openings and closings are important features of face-to-face interactions because both elements suggest that acknowledgement and recognition of another party have been fulfilled. They also indicate that respect and courteousness are present. Greetings are signs of a social encounter taking place. However, they will only occur under particular ‘socio-historical’ conditions. In this study, the use of openings and closings by front counter staff of various departments in six public (government) Malaysian hospitals were studied. From a total of 146 instances of transactions, only 68 of them contained openings made by staff while 46 contained closings contributed by staff. Analysis of data suggests that front counter staff of Malaysian hospitals used less openings and closings in their public transactions with patients/clients and due to that missing element, they could be described as being less polite than expected.

Keywords: Closings, front counters, Malay, openings, polite, public hospitals