Flight Delayed


Made a quick trip “down under” last week…

(I must admit, Changi is one well managed airport with plenty of signage to ensure everyone knows where to go – provided you know English. Price of items sold at the airport is at the high side though. But I guess the most unsettling thing at the airport is seeing young girls walking around with sidearms – I am sure they are well trained on firearms and tactics but still, it is very unsettling. Image source: http://alicetravelstory.blogspot.com)

Overall, the journey was good – we made it in time for the business meetings with plenty of hours to spare, the meetings itself went smooth and without any major hiccups and I had one of the best coffees ever at a small stall by the roadside.

We were half way through the meeting when I got a SMS saying that the return flight has been delayed by almost one hour. One hour delay was not that bad but considering that we had expected the meeting to finish early and will have at least couple of hours to spare, adding another one hour was not something we readily welcomed. But we were still grateful for the heads-up.

We decided to kill time by visiting the nearest watering hole and ordered ourselves some beers to lose track of the time. The alcohol did the trick but not the final bill – beers were still cheaper in Malaysia. Halfway through our beers, my colleague posed the question – what if the SMS was wrong and there were no delays and we end up missing our flight. Fearing the worst, we finished our beers and rushed to the airport. It was peak hours – we knew that the MRT would be packed but we managed to find enough space to squeeze through and the MRT journey back was smooth.

We reached the airport early and headed to the counter to check-in. It was confirmed that our flight was delayed by almost one hour. Somehow, that was a blessing in disguise – we had an excellent early dinner and check out the many duty free shops at the airport (although many of the items on sale were overpriced).

The delayed flight was rescheduled to departure at 9.15 pm but by 9.20 pm, we did not see the plane at the departure gate. We wondered if there is going to be another unscheduled delay. At almost 10 pm, the plane finally taxied in and it was almost 10.30 pm when we finally took off – after almost 2 hours delayed.

I do not know what the real cause of the delay was but I suspected it to be the bad weather in Klang Valley – I managed to catch the weather forecast. We were hoping to hear the reason for the delay from the flight attendants but other than “sorry for the delay”, no reasons were given. As we were reaching the runaway, the captain spoke but other than “we are 5th plane on the queue and we will be taking off soon”, nothing was mentioned on the delay either.

I guess for others, the fact that the plane arrived and despite the 2 hours delay, the flight is taking off without further delays would have been good enough but if the airline staff had mentioned the reason for the delay, at least for courtesy sake, it would have been, err nice.

It was already bad that the flight was delayed by an hour and it got worse with the further delays before we can finally depart. At least knowing the reason for the delay would have been some relieve to the immerse frustration and anger on the delay. I mean it would have been happier to say that “my flight was delayed because of thunderstorm” than “my flight was delayed but I don’t know why”.

A couple years ago, as I was sitting in an Emirates flight out from Dubai, there was a delay in departure. We have already boarded the plane but the plane was not moving even after all the passengers had checked in and the flight safety drill has ended. The captain came over on the intercom and apologized for the delay. He said that the ground crew had detected something and making another round of check just to make sure that the plane remains safe. We appreciated the announcement but at the same time, we did not welcome the news that there was something not right with the plane.

But then, I guessed the captain detected the same anxiety and came over the intercom again. This time, he said that there no problem but to ensure of the safety of the crew and the passengers, the airline staff just wanted to make double sure that all systems was working well. This time we breathed slightly better. In the end, we reached our destination several minutes early and without any problems.

Flight delays are understandable but the silence as to why there was a flight delay is not.

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Car, Not Bus


Sometimes I wish I could shout “I am not driving a bus lah!”

Bus_full

(This is how some relatives see my car at certain times – Image source: http://welcome.pickuppal.com)

Couple days ago, my car suspensions took a heavy pounding – all because my mom decided to be very generous.

We were planning to go to temple – me, my wife, the “big boss”, of course and my mom. We decided to take my wife’s nimble Viva since it is just nice for the 4 of us (considering the big boss is no longer the small baby that everyone perceives him to be. He needs his space and his MP3s).

At the 11th hour, as I woke up from afternoon slumber to take my shower, I realised one of my aunties had come over to the house – intending to follow us to the temple. We had no idea of having anyone else following us at the last minute and certainly have not informed others. And just when we were about drive out, my Dad got dressed up and was waiting to follow us – it has been some time since he last went to the temple and suddenly decided to join in (after persistently coaxed by the big boss who is very, very close with his grandpa).

When we saw him, we knew that we needed to abandon the idea of taking the Viva (5 adults and 1 kid would be very challenging inside the cramped Viva). I decided to take my car which is bigger (and more powerful than the Viva, he he) – there was no other choice but having 3 heavy adults and 1 kid at the back to create a wreck on my rear suspensions.

Despite having new spring coils, the car just dropped down at the back and as I was driving, I swear I heard the tires grazing the body most of the time. My heart almost died out whenever we pass through a pothole – the rebound action of the spring and the suspension created a loud noise. Despite that we managed to go to the temple and back home in one piece. I was so relieved when everyone got out from the car.

I just hope that there are no more unplanned guests coming up to the house for a last minute ride. Don’t get me wrong – it is not that I do not want to give anyone a lift – in fact, I am more than happy to give someone a lift.

When we were small and we did not have a car at home, we always took relieve that our relatives decided to give us a lift to the whole family – my parents and my siblings. There are times they had to make couple of trips to ensure they got their own family members and ours from A to B and then from B back to A. It was no easy feat those days when no everyone had a car at home.

So, these when relatives asked us for a lift, we are so ever willing but it would be better if we know that they are coming (instead of showing up at the 11th hour). If we know that they are coming, it is easier for us to arrange the transport – perhaps we can arrange for a bigger car (or van as we did in one instance) or getting several cars to go in a convoy and not cramp all in one car. This is not quest to set new world record – the most people in one car – mind you! It is getting from A to B as comfortably and safely as possible.

Giving someone a lift is not the issue but getting to know that I am giving someone a lift at the very last minute is.

On Time! Maradona


In case you missed this during the Argentina – Nigeria match…

(Maradona after his team one up – note his hands. Image source: (AP Photo/Luca Bruno). More photos here)

Maradona with watches on both hands!

By the way, the Nigeria goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama was a class on his own against the agile, fast and skilful Argentines. We should have been at least 5 up against the Nigerians – damn!

“On The Way”


Can you imagine the feeling that I had yesterday?

(Imagine that you have passed this kind of traffic jam, only to be told to go back and fetch someone and go through the same kind of traffic jam again. Image source: http://www.malaysiaairlinesblog.com)

I decided to come back from work early and leaving for home early means getting stuck in “peak” of the traffic jam. By the time I have navigated through the crawling traffic and managed to arrive home in one piece, I was tired and hungry. I also had a heighten sense of anger, stress and despair. Yet still I was happy – I was back home where my son was waiting for me at the front door and I know in moments, I can take my relaxing bath and go to sleep and be in dreamland.

Just I was about sit down and take my dinner, I was told I need to pick up my cousin from the tuition centre (my sister normally picks him but she was running late that night). In the given situation, I would have normally agreed to pick my cousin without any complaints. But realising the fact that I need to go back to the place that is usually heavy in traffic (means another round of crawling through the traffic), I was not quick to say yes. Besides, I wondered why can’t my cousin wait for my sister and get picked up on her way back home (nothing personal but getting into traffic jams can make one to go crazy).

Further, if I was told about the pick-up before I left the office, I could have just waited for little longer and then on my way back, I could have picked up my cousin without much hassle. But no, that was not the case. People at home had to wait for me to come back after going through heavy traffic jam and then just when I am sitting to rest, tell me that I need to drive back to the very place I just came from. Sigh!

I thought about it for seconds….then I told this:-

“Ask cousin to take the bus, and if no bus, take the taxi”

I did not really complete the statement (if no taxi, try walking) – I was tired and sick of the traffic jam and I have no intention of getting myself into the same unless it is a life or death situation.

They should have told me about this earlier or they could have waited for me to take dinner and shower before asking the same question. I would have been in a better mood to say yes.

Punctuality


I did a product briefing for some people some time ago.

(My dad has the same time standards. Image source: http://www.alternativelivings.blogspot.com)

The briefing was scheduled to start at 5.00 pm and knowing how some people like to walk in late for briefings and trainings, I decided that a head up message on the briefing would be good. Just several minutes before 5.00 pm, I was already ready at the briefing room waiting for the attendees to walk in. At 5.00 pm sharp, only one of the 20 or so attendees walked in. 5 minutes later, a couple more trickled in. 10 minutes, another few more attendees trickled in. 15 minutes had passed before the last of the attendees managed to walk in and casually took a seat at the back with a big smile on his face. I was lost for words for a moment.

Having people walking in at different times and in the midst of my briefing was quite interruptive especially when the entrance is at the front of the room (instead of the usual back where anyone can sneak in quietly). And there is this anticipation on the late comer’s eyes that is wanting me to repeat what I just said 5 -10 minutes ago which was unfair to those who had come in earlier and already listened to the earlier part of my briefing. What made it sadder was presence of some senior people in the groups of people walking in late – leaders who should have led by setting good examples.

But in Malaysia, that is nothing to shout about, right? After all, this is something that so “Malaysian” for people to come in at a much later time than the schedule time. There is never been any function that I have attended where all the people arrived on time and before the start of the formal function. We call them Malaysian Time (in my community, it is also known as the Indian Time) and it has become the ‘defacto’ time decider for all who has a function to attend to.

I recalled when me and my wife was planning our wedding dinner many, many moons ago – we decided that the start of our wedding dinner would be at 8.00 pm. We wanted to have it earlier but we had a photo session before that and timing was just not right to start early. When we discussed our ideas with one of our good uncles (for second opinions, ideas and sponsorships, ahem), he just shook his head and said that we got the dinner start time all wrong. He took our 8.00 pm, struck it off and wrote down 7.00 pm. He said that by changing the start time at 7.00 pm, we can effectively start the function at 8.00 pm (the 7.00 pm to 8.00 pm will be used to get all the people in and be ready).

We glad that we listened to our uncle’s suggestion and made the necessary changes. We realised that the hall was sparsely occupied at 7.00 pm and between 7.00 pm and 8.00 pm, guests trickled in and by 8.00 pm; we managed to get all the guests in, hungry for delicious Indian food accompanied by live band. If we had put the time as 8.00 pm as we original did, I am pretty sure dinner would have started at 9.00 pm or even later. We would have chaos if that had happened.

(Sometimes despite reminders, we still get to do this. Image source: http://www.cartoonstock.com/)

In our family however, there is no such thing as Malaysian or Indian Time. My dad made sure of that – he practices punctuality to the letter. If the function starts at 8.00 pm, he will make sure that we will be there at least half an hour before the function really starts. On my wedding day, our family was the first to be on temple ground – the first in line was my Dad who kept looking at his watch, making sure things fall in like clockwork.

We, the children have rubbed this notion of punctuality from our Dad to some extent. We do practice Malaysian Time at occasional times – especially it is a function that we want to avoid at all cost but proved unsuccessful. Long time ago, if we need to attend some functions in an unfamiliar places, we will be forced to do our homework so that we will not be late for the function. We will check with the rest on how to go there or go there ourselves one or two days earlier or simply wake up early and leave to the function very early.

These days of course, things are a bit different – Google Map for once has made our life easier by providing the right path and landmarks at a click of a button. So, there is no longer the excuse arriving at a function late with the excuse that we “lost our ways” when the real reason why we were late was because we left the house late.

But there is always someone coming in late…Malaysian Time at work again!

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Malaysian Time

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2012 & 4 Yugas


(Image source: http://www.world-mysteries.com)

In my earlier post on 2012, it was stated that the Hindus believed that there will be a golden year within Kali Yuga. But what is Kali Yuga anyway.

From About Hinduism:-

According to Hindu scriptures, all mortal beings are destined to pass through four great epochs in every cycle of creation and destruction.

The four great epochs in Hinduism are: Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapar Yuga and Kali Yuga. Satya Yug or the Age of Truth is said to last for four thousand divine years, Treta Yuga for three thousand, Dwapara Yug for two thousand and Kali Yuga will last for one thousand divine Years that equals to 432,000 earthly years.

Throughout these four yugas, Lord Vishnu is said to incarnate ten times in ten different avatars. During the Age of Truth (Satya Yuga), human beings were spiritually most advanced and had great psychic powers. In the Treta Yuga people still remained righteous and adhered to moral ways of life. Lord Rama of the fabled Ramayana lived in Treta Yuga.

In the Dwapara Yuga, men had lost all knowledge of the intelligence and bliss bodies. Lord Krishna was born in this age. The present Kali Yuga is the most degenerated of the Hindu epochs.

Another theory explains these epochs of time on the basis of the degree of loss of righteousness in the world. It says, during Satya Yuga only truth prevailed (Sanskrit Satya = truth), Treta lost ¼ truth, Dwapar lost ½ truth and Kali is left with only ¼ truth. Evil and dishonesty has replaced truth in the last three ages or yugs.

Wikipedia on the other hand reports:-

Kali Yuga is the last of the four stages that the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures. The other ages are Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga and Dvapara Yuga.

According to the Surya Siddhanta, an astronomical treatise that forms the basis of all Hindu and Buddhist calendars, Kali Yuga began at midnight (00:00) on 18 February 3102 BCE in the proleptic Julian calendar, or 23 January 3102 BC in the proleptic Gregorian calendar

Veda Online explains in details what happens during Kali Yuga:-

Hindu astrologers have calculated this to have been 2:27 a.m. on February 18, 3102 BC. This took place some 36 years after Lord Krsna spoke Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna.

The scriptures like SB 12.2 teach that during the 432,000 year age of Kali, humanity deteriorates and falls into barbarism. Humans begin to kill animals for food. They fall under the spell of intoxication. They lose all sexual restraint. Families break up. Women and children are abused and abandoned.

The saints and sages of ancient India describe the people of this age as greedy, ill-behaved, and merciless. In this age, says Srimad-Bhagavatam, merely possessing wealth is considered a sign of good birth, proper behaviour, and fine qualities. Law and justice are determined by one’s prestige and power

Severe droughts and plagues are everywhere. Slovenliness, illness, hunger and fear spread. Nations are continually at war with one another.

The men of Kali-yuga seek only money. Only the richest have power. People without money are their slaves.

Now the question arises – when does Kali Yuga ends? There seems to be many different interpretation of the end on different websites. Wikipedia simply mentions it as “When flowers will be begot within flowers, and fruits within fruits, then will the Yuga come to an end. And the clouds will pour rain unseasonably when the end of the Yuga approaches”

Interestingly it is also mentioned that “since only 5,000 years is past from the beginning of Kali-yuga, there is still 427,000 left for the end of Kali yuga. Even the Kali-yuga is not the end. After the end of Kali-yuga, again Satya yuga starts”

The last statement is interesting since we take into account the predicted golden years that may start in 2012, then it may be true that there is another 427,000 years to go before the end of Kali Yuga. And the golden years within Kali Yuga is expected to last for 10,000 years.

2012 will be an interesting year if all the ancient predications falls in place.

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Year 2012

Why We Pray?

“Living” in Office


(Just another day before a long weekend break from Klang Valley. One for the long weekend)

(Parking lot or traffic jam? Picture source: http://www.saasta.fi)

I just realise that I am going to work earlier and coming back later than the time when I first started with this job.

My working hours are usually between 9 am to 6 pm – “usually” because if we are working on projects, then working hours will be from 12 am to next day 12 am. So as I was saying, work starts at 9 am. When I started with this job, I used to leave the house at about 7.30 am – take about 30 minutes to reach the office. Back then, work started at 8.30 am, so I had about 30 minutes for breakfast and read the newspapers. When the work finish at 5.30 pm back then, I would leave about 6 pm and within 45 minutes, I am back home. This is about 4 years ago.

These days, I leave the house at 6 am (even though work starts at 9 am) and it takes me about the same 30 minutes to reach the office. That is if I could leave the house anytime before 6.30 am. If after 6.30 am, I am stuck with traffic jam and it takes me more than an hour to reach the office – that too after wasting petrol and time on the road and fight with queue jumpers. In the evenings, I leave the office at 8 pm at night – a far cry from the 6 pm those days. Even at 8 pm, I am reaching the house after a long crawl in Puchong. If I leave earlier, then I will be stuck at Sunway toll plaza – the traffic there is almost not moving.

At 8 pm, it still takes me about 45 minutes but that is because I use the “fastest” lane available and driving faster than the average speed. Basically I am spending extra 4 hours in the office than usual these days due to traffic jams. This is why; I am usually holed up in the house on Saturdays and Sundays. I try not to “touch” the car on these 2 days. I also try to get as much sleep possible for the next week days.

So, on the outset, I may look like a workaholic to my colleagues – for I am among the firsts to be in and a few lasts to be out. It is not right all the time – I still work the same 8 hours of work as the rest of the “come in at 9 am, leave at 6 pm” colleagues but I add extra 4 hours due to the traffic jams.

And the government said that it has done a lot to improve the quality of life for Malaysians, sigh. Take away the toll booths and spend more on efficient & cheap public transport and things will get better.

Happy holidays!