Langkawi Is Ruined

Langkawi is ruined. But it is salvageable. Not too late.
It is almost four years now that I had returned and making Langkawi my home again. The physical outlook has changed drastically and I am not impressed.

Langkawi with all the inflated glories has only her remaining natural beauty to proud of and a bit of ancient tales offered as a dessert after a long day summing up, touring the island. It has no cultural identity which places like Bali and Phuket are famous for.  When the sun fully sets in, Langkawi is dead except a few hours of walking down the Cenang Street browsing the souvenirs shops for fake gifts that were imported from neighboring countries and a few gulps of tax free liquor. After that, nothing else.

It has several great  beaches, paddy fields, virgin forests in the mountains and waterfalls. Sounds great right but these are fast becoming the Achilles’ heels for Langkawi.

The beaches are no longer pristine. The famous Pantai Cenang is the victim of its own success. The white sandy beach here littered with rubbish, broken glass everywhere and the water has turned greeny and murky. First time tourists may not see how bad the beaches have been adversely affected  and they are in terrible conditions. The law governing the land has been violated and government seemingly uninterested to take action. The coastlines are being raped with ugly chalets and these are the major causes why the beaches in such a dire need to be fixed and be taken care properly.

Pantai Kok is now fenced up while waiting for the construction of luxury housing complex and super expensive condos. Government had one time made a pledge that this beach shall forever be preserved as a public beach for families picnic and could also be used for camping site. Although we still have Pasir Tengkorak Beach as another public beach but the size of this beach is too small for a large gathering of tourists or local alike. But now, Pantai Kok will be developed as a private beach, walled by bungalows and high fences of condominiums. We could only drive through the main road and take a peek from afar.

Paddy fields were once offered a scenic view with its lush green silhouette of young paddies, water buffalos roaming around by the hundreds and in the back ground, Gunung Raya stood majestically ruled over the vast lands. But now, the size of these paddy fields are shrinking due to reclaiming activities to build houses, restaurants and makeshift homestays and chalets.

Waterfalls are not spared too. In their quest to make these waterfalls easily accessible, they destroyed the natural beauty of these God’s given water pools. There is huge underwater pipe sucking a high volume of water in Telaga Tujuh. It requires a torrential rains to collect water before it could sprucing out magnificent fall for us to enjoy feasting our eyes and taking a few quick deeps to cool our bodies. During hot season and rain is no longer falling, it dries. Tourists would hugely disappointed to come to this “must visit” waterfall during dry season. But it was not like that. It was beautiful and year round of cascading waters from high above the mountain.

We are losing all these attractions and rapidly chasing away those who appreciate real natural beauties. Seasoned travellers are hugely dissappointed for the lack of empathy by both government and local residences. The short term gain by the authority to collect taxes out of mushrooming business establishments and  greediness of locals to destroy their lands for economic reason are to be blamed for this catastrophe.

They will only realise how bad the situation in Langkawi when this golden goose is dying and no longer laying eggs. By then it is too late. Tourists will stop coming and the local economy will crumble. They will have to return to the sea to earn a living and no fertile land to farm.

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Coming this March, I’ll be in Langkawi. A trial period of living for a month in my own kampung in anticipation of me moving back there for good. I want to see ever if the sleepy Langkawi will be a sanctuary or a torment. I am nervous by just thinking about it. Am a creature comfort who enjoys watching astro, movies at the cinemas, sipping lattes at the Starbucks, torture myself  at gym but the most importantly I like the comfort of being indoor. Langkawi is lacking all of these.

It would be lying if I don’t feel unease of moving back but I am almost….yeah, almost certain that the decision to return will ultimately be rewarded but unsure on how to get it done right. The ripening age is certainly one of the factors that I think I should be somewhere peaceful, slow pace of life and most importantly I want to spend more time with my aging parents.

Sure I still enjoying by the many facets of living in the big city here in Kuala Lumpur, the flying career that has taken me places and exposed me to the varieties of luxurious things and living, met interesting people, thousand of co-workers, uncounted number of beds in hotels that I had slept in and don’t forget the shenanigans in foreign countries, ups and downs for being a seasoned air crew. I still love my job but the money is no longer attractive. It is time to move on. I know I will briefly regret the decision to hang my uniform but  it is for the best I guess. I have become bitter with the company I work with and I think it is becoming unhealthy for both myself and the employer if I continue working under duress like this.

I will miss those pretty stewardesses and good-looking stewards, will sure yearn  gossiping  with my friends at the hotels, bickered one another and truly  am going to miss the whole mess that am now complaining about flying.

I had terminated my gym membership with the Fitness first and keep telling people that am going to resign. Truthfully, I had done all these because I want to be sure of resigning…I want people especially my colleagues to know that am leaving so they would ask that question ” when, why” again and again. I want to be reminded that I truly wanted to resign. Now, writing it down here in my blog is to reinforce the desire to leave this company. I need to reinvent myself. I am nearing 40 and looking at the limited zeros in my account is truly disappointing. I should at least have a five digits saving by now but nada.

The humid and hot Langkawi is going to be very challenging. The laid back life style going to be quite confronting too. I pray that Allah has mercy on me. Huhuhu

Grumbling On Malaysians with their hand luggage.

A friend of mine once suggested that the general Malaysians needed to be re-educated on how to behave on board of the plane and also the school syllabus should include subject on the ethic of air travel for the young ones.

It may not be the entire Malaysian people behaving badly on the plane but a handful who stands out like a sore thumb and giving annoyances to their fellow passengers and crew alike.

At the departure lounges. When the traffic staff were just about to announce ” Ladies and gentlemen, we are now invite those with…..(he or she meant to continue further by saying).…children and babies to board the plane first” but generally who already on their feet were those neither have children or babies. They would squeeze-in between those parents to board the plane first.

And now, the staff going to make another announcement ” We are now calling those who are seated at row 20 to row 27 to board the plane”. Unfortunately the announcement fell on the deaf ears. Those seated at the front rows who’d sprung to take the queue. To make matter worst if they have a large amount of hand luggage. Why? When they arrived at their allocated seats at some where row five or six, they would hog the area trying to stow their luggage while those actually called would have to wait. The call to board for those been given the aft seats is to facilitate a smooth boarding process by following the simple procedure “last rows to board first” but Malaysians, as kiasu as ever wanted to board first in order to secure the overhead stowage bins.

Talking about the hand luggage. Both passengers and airlines’ personnel are at fault (except Air Asia which really serious about excess hand luggage because they have earned a huge profit from these charges).

Our national airline was usually serious about one hand luggage per passenger policy just a matter of a few hours after the instruction was sent through the internal email ( Not even days). If you do not trust me, you may take a look at the special counter built at the main entrance of KLIA domestic safety check that has long been left unattended. The passengers are free to carry as much luggage as they like.

Reenforce this procedure and am sure, the airline could make a few extra bucks and at the same time, Malaysians and passengers alike are being educated to restrain themselves to the impulse of carrying heavy luggage on board. It is a win-win situation for all parties including our environment when the planes have a fewer weights and indirect consuming less fuel.

The old habit resurfaces and no one seems to care, to forbid passengers from carrying more than what they should. The staff should seriously enforcing this procedure in order to educate passengers to travel light for the flight.  The reason given to the flight crew when we made noise was usually “We do not have enough man power”.

The problem with extra bags that endlessly being carried on board are among the main reasons that we have a slow passengers boarding hence the flight usually delayed. Both actions of carrying and stowing these bags contribute to the overall time-consuming during this process. The selfish act of taking the entire bin just because they have a few loaf of bread or fragile photo frames, guitar or simply a newly bought Louis Vuitton has further causing the overflow of luggage. The excuses that the passengers have given to the flight crew when we tried to rearrange the bins are countless, rude to some extend.

Now they are on the plane. The luggage are safely carried on board but suddenly these bags are too heavy for them to lift it up to the overhead bins. They apparently had the energy to carry those bags from their house but when they came on board, they thought those petite looking stewardesses were former heavy weights lifters. The polite ones would ask for an assistance but the rude ones would simply using their  “remote controls” instructing the crew to stow for them.

The luggage are now stowed. On air, by whatever reasons they sometimes needed to retrieve the bag, it is uncommon to see those bins were left widely opened after they have taken what needed. The crew then had to leave what ever they were doing just to walk into the cabin and closing them back.

The aircraft has landed and now time to leave the plane. The business section is at the front of the cabin. It is a normal practice of any airline to allow their business or first class passengers to leave the plane first. The class partition is separated only by a mere curtain. Some economy passengers would simply budged-in to disembark among the business class passengers without a hint of shame on their faces. Come on people, please have some courtesy to at least ask permission of the crew who manning  the business class  if you have any urgent matters to attend upon arrival.

Business people have left. Now the commoners turn to leave. You will see why did I call those seated in economy are commoners. No pun intended but let see…passengers who were rushed to board the plane even though their numbers were not among those called earlier during boarding, are now scrambling to retrieve their luggage in the over head bins. More than often, they simply took their own sweet time as if they were on their own private plane. The rest of passengers would have to be contented with sarcastic expressions while waiting for them to disembark. Parents were told to wait for the rest of passengers to leave in order to speed up disembarkation process but hell no…they wanted to leave the plane while carrying babies and adding to the annoyance was when the children reluctant to walk along the aisle. Another reason why these parents are told to disembark last is because the retrieval of their baby stroller usually took a bit of time and there is no point waiting  at the bridge while their strollers yet to be sent to them.

We are now left with a few remaining passengers from the last rows but suddenly we noticed there are bags left inside the overhead bins in business class section. The immediate reaction was usually thinking that business class passengers may have forgotten their luggage and the crew were about to take away the bags and hand them over to the ground handling but then we heard a screaming passenger  ” hey those are mine!”. The cattle class or the economy passengers are sometimes placed their bags in the bins meant for business class when they boarded the plane. This selfish act was usually done by regulars who knew that cabin crew were usually busy during boarding and they took advantage of the situation to quickly stow their bags, walked to economy section and quietly took their seats. The problems were not only occurred after landing when the crew might mistakenly thought it was belonged to business class passengers but it could cause a major problem during boarding too if the business class section is fully seated. Obviously the bins would be filled to brim and the crew might have a problem finding space for these luggage carried by business passengers.

It will take a few pages of me writing on luggage alone. Enough for now.

Why did I mention that Malaysians needed to be re-educated on the ethic of flying? What I have written above was simply a ten percent on how badly my fellow Malaysians behaving on board. I have flown the unfriendly skies far too long  not to notice the differences between  international travellers and Malaysians.

It is a common encounter for me waiting at the door welcoming passengers….” Good morning sir, welcome aboard” but getting this reply from my fellow Malaysian…” No Star arrr? No paper are?”. My greetings were usually received no response but when a matsaleh responded and we exchanged a few words, then goes the infamous accusation that cabin crew are biased toward their own kind.

For those who never heard about this blogging host called WordPress that am currently “platforming” my writing, there is ultimate goal of each and every blogger to have their writings posted on the “freshly Pressed” which appears on its main page.

 I have the same goal but a distance dream that may not be possible due…well, my English is far from being perfect, long hiatus from the last post to the new one, incoherent subject and of course I have no particular theme on my writing. It just a pure fantasy for me to just keep on writing on subject crosses my mind.

It is more like a hobby of sort. 

 

Does It Feel Good?

Should one hurts seeing staff crossing to the other side of the fence in a prospect of enjoying the seemingly greener pasture? Or does it bring a sense of achievement that your idea of cost saving has actually bearing fruit by letting go senior staff?

Does it really feel good that your staff are actually jumping into your enemy’s boat and making good of their well horned skills on someone’s else tuft?

Those who have left were once part of your winning team and now they are gleaming in red skirts and work their magic as good as they were once in green kebayas.

These  people are extensively trained and experienced cabin crew were mentored by those who have horned their skills and donning many caps of great achievements. These crew were trained by professionals, seasoned seniors in order to pass on the  baton for the young to continue the tradition of excellent service that  MAS is famously known.

It is in fact, the Air Asia is given a flock of fertile golden geese in a gilded silver cage by MAS.

A Lost Opportunity

It was on the 1st of July, the male crew of Malaysia Airlines donning their new sharp-looking grey uniform to work. Later that night, there was an inaugural celebration of the new airbus 380 flight to London.

That morning, when I first stepped into our new office on the 4th floor of KLIA in that creases free grey suit, I was expecting some sort of celebration is going on inside. My flight was among the very first flights of the day and I was pretty sure that my set is going to be there among the early birds and surely there would be an official celebration. After all, it took more than 20 years for the airline to finally decided to get rid the green suit. This is a big change and perhaps has cost a considerable amount of money too. It was understandably that the company would hips-up and pops-up bubbles to tell the world that it has a new image, at least for marketing’s sake. Hell no…it was nothing. No speech, no toasting of glasses, no “karipap or coffee”. Nothing! Nada!  Not even a representative from our own department ( not even a grooming officer to see whether or not the crew wear their uniform with proper accessories etc) and very unlikely the top brass from the directors’ office would show their faces too. It was Sunday anyway. I think they’d preferred to enjoy their Sunday in bed instead of coming to the office congratulating the crew for the new uniform that they had long been awaited.

It was a big thing for the crew that day. We were like those school kids awaiting for a crack of dawn for the new term, eagerly wanted to show off the new uniform.

That day, all male crew beaming with pride in their new three-piece suits. I told my crew, maybe the official launching will simultaneously done later at night during A380 maiden flight to London. Waited and waited and even after MH002 has finally landed in London, not even one among my FB’s friends whom mostly cabin crew could furnish their “walls” with pictures or posts to show whether or not the new uniform had been officially introduced during the launching of A380 inaugural flight. I could safely conclude that, there was no such thing as official launching of the new uniform ever took place. I maybe wrong but if they did, surely it was wasted because no one seems to be aware that MH crew has a new uniform. Maybe it was just another business day to the company.

Late last year, Garuda Indonesia had introduced their new uniforms for both stewards and stewardesses. It was done so grandly with models parading the long podium and was broadcasted on national television. That is called robbing the opportunity do marketing and branding the proper way. No wonder Garuda is doing better than MAS in getting more money into their coffer. Other airlines were also doing the same thing when they changed the uniforms of flying crew….they maximized the opportunity to do a clever marketing and such.

Pity that we did not use that opportunity as another platform to stand and shout.

Pity!

KFC…and the golden nuggets.

The latest episode of fighting over fried chicken at the KFC has reminded me how volatile  it is working in the service industry.  So I heard the staff have been suspended pending investigation by their company and quite surely all of them will be terminated.

There are many unheard stories on how front-liners being verbally abused and sometimes even physically assaulted by “the customers who always right”.

Late last year, a stewardess was slapped by a passenger and got away with it because her company is ruled by the same business mantra…the customers are always right.

Early this year, a whole set of operating crew especially the in-flight purser was verbally assaulted and threatened by a passenger who happens to be a deputy director of government’s department and yet he was given a red carpet treatment by the airline after he lodged a complain via email that was heavily laden with “carbon-copied” to those hold high offices in Putra Jaya. The VIP treatment was given even after a serious investigation found that this guy was at fault, all in the name of “customers are always right”. The passenger thought he was the victim of the whole mess and the company is conveniently treated the complainer as if he was all alone the real victim.

Don’t be surprised if the bashed KFC’s customer who being helped by major political party  would be given a barrel of fried chicken a day for the whole year as a reward for his bad experience at their outlet. Damage control they would say.

I am quite sure there is a fine print somewhere in our offer letters stated that we as employees are bound to be bullied by the customers and the company wont lift a finger to back their employees.

Let find where did I keep my offer letter.

 

The Gerai

With my current home-take, I would love to eat at road stalls or the gerai. But that is not the case.

I did however tag along with some friends who enjoyed eating at these stalls. I have no punitive intention on those who enjoy themselves eating at these places and forgive me if this posting may sound too cocky or snobbish.

My main problem is the tummy that I have. It wont tolerate much of the nasty  bacterium found in the food that being cooked in a place that lacks of cleanliness. For the record, I had to be admitted three times during my secondary school due to a serious case of diarrhea and food poisoning. I was once took a ride in an ambulance due to a massive allergy to a certain food and was on the drips for almost a week. And today, whomever closest to me could assert the fact that I need toilet as I need food for a living.

However, I do not live in a sterile kind of environment to ensure my tummy wont get infected by bugs. I eat as I like but I had to choose kindly on where to eat. So, I have become a joke of sort among friends who getting amused at my antic of avoiding food stalls, roadside food courts etc.

The second problem with these places are of course the level of cleanliness and utensil that they used. The main plates and drinking glasses are filthy with cracked and blackened by what only God knows. The floor that we step onto kind of rubbery due to a very long accumulations of all sort of dirt if I may so politely to say the least. I do not look down on the operators or the makciks but I simply could not digest the fact that why on earth are we eating at these kind of places. By keep on patronizing them, we are actually failed to send a strong signal that they have done badly by conducting food business in such a way that could be considered disgusting. We should have silently boycotted them by not eating there anymore.

The typical Malays’(I don’t eat non-halal Chinese foods, so I do not know how their stalls are)  stalls or food courts are usually having a long table or glass fitted cabinets and dishes are displayed buffet style. The patrons may choose what they like among the busy flies hovering over  foods that being offered. I had many times caught found foods that laced with flies’ larvae.

Sometimes, the things you do not see, do you no harm. I wish not to see the ugly ways on how some food operators conduct their businesses. At mamaks, they like to pick the chosen foods by a bare hand. You pointed a fried chicken and the guy just simply picks it up with his bare hand which we never knew where that hand has gone before.

I have a little phobia with cockroaches especially the flying ones. This creature seemingly everywhere on the floor at these kind of stalls I mentioned above. My nostrils specialty is picking up the pungent smell of lipas if any of them hiding somewhere near me. If I could smell it, I wont have the pleasure of eating anymore because I have tendency to jump my wits if I saw one later. I do not have to mention isn’t it on what these pests can do to our foods?

Another infamous creature lurking around at stalls are the rodents. Big ones usually dare to come out in the open. The ugly-looking rodents with warts and crooked tails are the most scary. Even the mighty cats found them to be very scary or unappetizing. The cat and mouse’s tales does not exist here at the stalls. The rodents are actually reign supreme here.

Another hick-up that I found it annoying at stalls are the lazy or the incompetent level of their wait staff. We have to repeat a dozen time before they manage to get it right and later we have to repeat all over when we call for a check. Why can’t they just punch-in those orders straight into their cash machines or registrars so that the check could be readied instantaneously instead of asking us to tell them again on what we had?

I had mentioned earlier that I need toilet as I need food for a living. Yes, it is true that I need to be near the toilets almost all the times especially after I had a meal. I do not know whether it is a habit that dies hard, a weak bowel or simply blame the tummy’s bugs. Most of the roadside stalls do not have this facility. Even if they do, hmmmm the sanitation of it, is kind of horrendous. I would rather suffer in silence but when there are goose-bumps, sweat starts perspiring, when it simply called “crowning”…then the man needs to do what man needs to do. That is the scenario I do not wish to endure.

But then again, most of the time I was too polite to say no when being invited to hang loose at the stalls.

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