Friday, January 20, 2012

that flash mob

I don't remember having any problems while flying with our national carrier. Some people may wish the prices of their flights were cheaper, but once you understand the business model of supposedly low-cost carriers, you might prefer to go with full service airlines with more reliable service and flexible options.

My flights back home via MAS while I was in Japan were rather pleasant, though I think the food could have been improved somehow. So even though regionally their competitors like CX and SQ fare better in various areas, hearing cases of bias treatment towards non-Asians, and after being disappointed by the local underdog, I still think it's worth supporting our national airlines for what it's worth.

Too bad I reached Malaysia a few days earlier, if not would have been a delightful surprise to get this on arrival.

For what they've gone through and what they've been called because they're a GLC and had its fair share of criticisms, at least they're trying to re-brand themselves and improve on their services. Since it's not always a bad thing to have some competition in the field, which customers like us are the beneficiaries of, I hope they do continue to be better at what they do just so we can all enjoy a higher quality of service in this country.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

smudge and blow

Going on a trip with pro photographers have somehow taught me quite a bit, especially on this recent Middle Eastern tour. Them having taken prolly millions of shots by now, having upgraded their tools multiple times and boasting of pictures that garner instant likes on fb; it's quite a privilege indirectly learning from them.

The types of pictures to take, what to look out for, different angles to take shots from. Also, tools of the trade which are a must.

Since Jordan can be dusty, whatwith about 75% of it being desert, I saw both of them taking out 2 black tools many a time. They seemed to be dusting and blowing away what would be fine sand off the filters and lenses. Even the nooks and crevices around the camera itself.

Being curious, I asked to try out and realised how useful these were. Feeling a bit paiseh that I had to keep borrowing theirs everyday, I determined to get one myself when I came back home.

Well, I didn't have to wait long, because we saw and bought some at our stopover at Dubai.

So now I have 2 additions to my D5000 - the lenspen and blower.

I know that once I started this hobby, I'd have to eventually spend more $ on the accessories and tools. Not to mention upgrades and other "necessary" stuff later. >.<

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

transitioning between the years

It feels quite strange to be back. It felt like I didn't really close off 2011 properly before coming into 2012. Perhaps it's because I was "trapped" in the desert during that transition and wasn't amidst the cheering crowds in big cities all over the world with the fireworks and lots of drinks and revelry. Nor at church at thanksgiving services with everyone else sharing their testimonies of how God has blessed them through the year.

I flew to Jordan and the UAE right after Christmas, making that a total of 5 countries traveled last year. 4 new ones, and I'd like to make the Middle East a new region visited, nevermind that it's not a continent of its own!

When I started 2011, I only had eyes for the trip I paid for the previous year, Bangkok. USA was not entirely confirmed then, given that project needs had the possibility of derailing that opportunity. Bali was quite a last minute project treat, and the Middle East was an idea by a colleague.

I must admit, I'm still feeling a bit surreal looking back at all those traveling I did last year, even though it was the busiest working year for me. This is something I have to thank God for.

Not all were smooth sailing though; I almost lost my luggage during the transit at San Francisco and was struggling with training and work at the same time, the flight to Bali got delayed, and there were some personality clashes this last trip.

But I'm glad I left and came back safely, there were no real lost of belongings and more importantly no bodily injury. I'm still grateful for all those opportunities to travel abroad, especially in today's circumstances. I'd like to believe God provided in various ways, even though it will be a long while before I make another long trip again.

Since I'm off projects for now, and am having a bit of down time, I'm taking it easy before the madness begins all over again. It's been a good time of reflection, and thinking through about what has happened last year, and how I'd like to do things better this year.

I know I have almost given up on making resolutions, preferring to practice continuous improvement (that's a jargon from my line of work!) instead. That way, they're more manageable, broken down into chunks at various times through the year, instead of having a long list that may need need constant monitoring to ensure its success.

More importantly, I'd like to start by thanking God for the year that has been, despite the peaks and troughs, and especially for seeing me through more than I realised. And because of these lessons learnt (oops, another one!), I have to try to at least make things better in some of these areas one way or the other, so that I don't make the same mistakes this year.

I haven't had a feel of how 2012 will be, but by setting the right expectations and learning to wholly depend on Him who has brought me through 2012, I'm learning that the journey would be more bearable and more meaningful.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

uncle tony, indeed

I almost never forward jokes via emails, nor put them up as content in the blog but I thought this just about expressed what I've always thought about our budget airlines. Especially after that little flight annoyance on my trip to Bali, and since I may not have time to blog about it properly, thought this would be apt for now.

Spare a thought for Uncle Tony F, Chief Executive of 'Air Asia"......

Arriving in a hotel in KL Sentral he went to the bar and asked for a pint of draught Guinness. The barman nodded and said, "That will be one Ringgit please, Uncle Tony."

Somewhat taken aback, Uncle Tony replied, "That's very cheap," and handed over his money.

"Well, we try to stay ahead of the competition", said the barman. "And we are serving free pints every Wednesday evening from 6 until 8. We have the cheapest draught in Asia"

"That is remarkable value" Uncle Tony comments

"I see you don't seem to have a glass, so you'll probably need one of ours. That will be 3 Ringgit please."

Uncle Tony  scowled, but paid up. He took his drink and walked towards a seat. "Ah, you want to sit down?" said the barman. "That'll be an extra 2 Ringgit. You could have pre-book the seat, and it would have only cost you a Ringgit"

"I think you may to be too big for the seat sir, can I ask you to sit in this frame please" Uncle Tony attempts to sit down but the frame is too small and when he can't squeeze in he complains "Nobody would fit in that little frame".

"I'm afraid if you can't fit in the frame you'll have to pay an extra surcharge of RM 4 for your seat sir"

Tony  swore to himself, but paid up. "I see that you have brought your laptop with you" added the barman. "And since that wasn't pre-booked either, that will be another 3 Ringgit" Uncle Tony was so annoyed that he walked back to the bar, slammed his drink on the counter, and yelled, "This is ridiculous, I want to speak to the manager".

"Ah, I see you want to use the counter," says the barman, "that will be 2 Ringgit  please." Uncle's face was red with rage. "Do you know who I am?" "Of course I do Mr Fernandes" I've had enough, What sort of Hotel is this? I come in for a quiet drink and you treat me like this. I insist on speaking to a manager!"

"Here is his E mail address, or if you wish, you can contact him between 9 and 9.10 every morning, Monday to Tuesday at this free phone number. Calls are free, until they are answered, then there is a talking charge of only 10 sen per second provided you use Tune Talk using other mobile carriers would incur our normal charges of 30 Sen per second

"I will never use this bar again"

"OK Uncle , but remember, we are the only bar  in Asia  selling pints for one that Now everyone can drink"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

consulting work

When I received this in the mail, I couldn't help but laugh at the irony of it.

No wonder we had those late nights at the office, multiple re-do's and inadvertently more white hair, just because of a mismatch in expectations!