Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Din at Perhentian

On a trip to Perhentian once, it was raining upon our arrival. The rain was not heavy, but it sure killed whatever we had planned for the afternoon. With nothing else to do, I sat at the restaurant nursing a cold drink.

Overlooking the shore, another speedboat pulled up. A lone passenger; a Malay chap with long jeans, white sneakers, and he had with him two pieces of luggage; a duffel and a backpack.

I watched in amusement as he tried to exit the boat, and wondered if he was attempting this without getting his shoes or jeans wet. The resort staff came out with a plastic chair, placed this next to the boat for him to step onto. When he got onto the chair and was preparing to jump straight onto the beach... he lost his balance!

From where I was seated, it was sure one helluva funny sight! Splash into the water he went, soaking from head to toe. Whatever he carried in his bag, they were probably all wet. I thought about him having to dry his clothes in this horrid weather.

During dinner, seated by himself, he was busy dismantling his mobile phone. He removed the SIM card, re-inserted it, and was probably saying a silent prayer for the deceased.

I said hello and joined him at his table. We exchanged pleasantries (let's call him Din), and I asked about his phone. Din volunteered information about how he fell into the water upon arrival earlier this afternoon. I nodded and cooed words of sympathy, without acknowledging that I actually witnessed his grand fall.

Upon chatting further, I found out that Din is a Pegawai Penyelidik (Research Officer) with the Lembaga Penggalakan Pelancongan Malaysia (Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board), under the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia.

"Research?" I asked him.

"About tourist arrivals and trends," said Din. "The Ministry of Tourism wants to find out how effective the Zoom campaign has been in attracting both local and international tourists, so they send research officers to various holiday destinations around Malaysia".

Wow, I thought. I'd like a job like that!

So I confirmed with him further. "You mean, you just lepak here for 10 days, going from resort to resort chatting up tourists and getting them to fill up a form? And meals and accommodation are all provided for by your employer?"

Affirmative he says.

One night, I was having a beer at the restaurant, and Din joined me.

"Tried to sleep, cannot lah!" he said.

I offered to buy him a beer but he declined and ordered a Coke instead. It was our second night there. Din told me that he was bored, and that he hated the fact that there was no TV at this resort.

"Boring lahhh!" he whined again.

I'm thinking - who needs TV when at the beach? Who says there's nothing to do? Snorkelling! Swimming! Sun bathing! Go get yourself an Open Water Diver certification since you're gonna be here for 10 days!

Din says he doesn't mind doing it for a night or two, but definitely not 10 days by himself.

During the course of my stay at the resort, I saw plenty of Din. Sometimes he'd take a boat out to Perhentian Besar. Other times he'd be trekking along Kecil, going from resort to resort. I even completed one of his forms as a domestic tourist. Straightforward form it was, one sheet, front and back.

On my last night there (the fourth), we were again chatting at the restaurant after dinner. He told me he cannot take it anymore, and that he was going out of his mind. He felt trapped on the island. Mind you, it was not because he didn't have his mobile phone. One of the staff at the resort had loaned him a phone.

I couldn't sympathize. Cos I cannot relate.

Oh, there really isn't a point of this story. I just felt like narrating it, since it is afterall tax season.

Why can't the Ministry print those forms, leave it at the resort and have operators get their guests to complete it upon checking out?

Posted by Doreen at 3:14 pm


Friday, April 24, 2009


The arrival of a Friday is the BEST thing which has happened since we ushered in Monday.

See what a drab of a week I had?

I found this while randomly googling my date of birth.

(OMG, I do live a sad life don't I?)

Born on 20 March 1981?

Here are some interesting facts about your life:

(Interesting facts courtesy of pokemybirthday.com)


Oh, how I miss the sea!

(That's my kneecaps roasting in the sun, by the way)

Posted by Doreen at 1:01 pm


Thursday, April 16, 2009

air asia heard me

'fess up people.

Which one of you directed Air Asia's Pre-Flight Support Team to my previous entry?


So I was at work. The phone lines were ringing non-stop. In between answering calls with "Hello, (insertcompanyname)!", I was also trying to send an SMS.

I had just typed - "Someone from Air Asia..." before I had to answer the land line again.

I went, "Hello, Air Asia!"

The person on the other line said, "WHERE?"


30 minutes ago.

I had received a call from Kulen, who identified himself to be from Air Asia. He called to inform me that my previous entry had caught the attention of his supervisor, Sri. And Air Asia wanted to address my rantings.

Well, OK, he didn't exactly use the word 'rantings'.

Kulen apologized, explained and apologized again. I felt it sincere, honest and friendly. He gave me his personal email address too, and assured me replies if I were to write in.

Fine and dandy. I was pleased at being heard.


10 minutes later.

Sri called too! I managed to ask him how he came to notice this one post in my green, humble abode on the world wide web. Someone had pointed it out to him apparently. (To someone, thank you!)

He too, apologized and tried to explain to me that I was not yet notified because the flight cancellation had only taken effect about a week ago. We both even had a laugh about the all-important front-liners who represent the company. Sri also managed to inform me of a slight change in time for my Tawau-KL flight in July.


5 minutes later.

I received the revised July flight itinerary and a short note from Sri, from his personal email address.


SMS from Lynette - "So funny you, answer the phone with Air Asia!! LOL!"

I replied - "See how much of my memory space they take up?"


I'm happy to say that all's well ends well, and thank god the resort is able to accomodate all 15 of us coming in a day earlier. Yay!

And again, here's a big thank you to Sri and Kulen, who took the effort to call me.

I still love Air Asia OK!

Got free flights to give me ah Sri? :P



Posted by Doreen at 9:08 am


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

best LCC; airasia

Dear AirAsia team,

I thank god for AirAsia because you have allowed us to travel without spending extravagantly on flight travels.

Over the years, you have ferried us all back and forth our home and travel destinations and yes, there were happy times, but there were also days when we just suffered.

Did you know that a lot of us have resigned to the fact that when “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”. I too, have on many occasions, told friends and family, “Don’t complain so much lah! Next time, fly MH or SQ if you want to complain so much!”

But you know what? In all the years that I’ve been traveling on AirAsia, I have loved you guys. Delayed flights? Luggage battered upon arrival? Poor service from ground crew and flight attendants? Yes, I have experienced it all. But hey, I get to travel for a fraction of the price, I guess I can still live with this.

But let me ask you this dear Tony –
Are you happy that this is the perception of the public – that since we are paying you peanuts to travel, you can therefore be like monkeys?

AirAsia’s vision and mission says otherwise. Your values too. One of it clearly states that you want to provide guests with the choice of customizing services without comprising on quality and services.

Pardon my French, but what services? You have non-existent Customer Service, emails to Guest Support are NEVER answered. In fact, I know of many people who have sent you emails, but NOT ONE had their emails replied. How’s that for your values on ‘not compromising on quality and services’?

Now here’s my real problem. I had made a booking some months back for a trip to Manado, Indonesia.

Departure: KL-Manado for Sunday, 31 May
Return: Manado-KL for Friday, 5 June

Then, one morning in April, a little bird informed me that there have been changes for flight schedules to and from Manado. I went into your website to check on my booking, and much to my horror, found out that my itinerary now reads - 31 May (KL - Manado), and 6 June (Manado - KL)

The drama of course, doesn’t end there. You must screw us even more! Turns out, the flight from KL to Manado for 31 May has also been cancelled!

Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure you have your reasons for canceling flights. This is not the reason I’m writing.

I have a list of questions here, and God only knows that AirAsia does not practice Customer Service, therefore, I doubt I will be receiving a reply from anyone.

1) Why do I have to find out about my change in itinerary in this manner, i.e. by accident?

2) Why didn’t AirAsia inform their passengers about such changes? I have given 3 contacts – home telephone number, mobile number and email address.

3) When I called AirAsia to verify this fact, your Call Centre personnel said that I did not get the notification because my phone number is invalid – it read (on his system) +6016-35 XXXX instead of +6016-35X XXXX like on the itinerary which I had received after making my booking. One digit less he said. Why the discrepancy and lies?

4) The cancellation of the flights meant a CHANGE OF DATES altogether, not just delays by a few hours. When do you plan to inform your passengers about this cancellation, since it will affect their accommodation bookings and transfers? 72 hours before flight departure?

5) I got a call back from your Guest Support team (woah, am I the first in history?) who apologized and then said that we have not been informed of the cancellations because AirAsia is only right now informing passengers regarding April changes and cancellations. May’s flights’ are still being ‘queued’ in the system. Then see Point 3. WTF is going on?

6) Guest Support informed me that I am allowed to change BOTH flights at no charge. “Call our Booking line, quote your confirmation number, and you will be able to change both flights,” she said.

7) Why is your booking system, the system of an airline which recently won the Best Low Cost Carrier award, so backwards? Your Call Centre employees (between our group, 15 passengers, we must have EASILY spoken to more than 10 different call centre staff) were completely ignorant about the 31 May cancellation despite Guest Support confirming with me that we can change it easily. We had to insist for them to probe deeper as they kept saying that a change of flight will incur a RM75 charge. Needless to say, we were right.

8) You mean to say your passengers now have to inform you Call Centre staff about flight cancellations?

9) Do we look like monkeys to you?

Dear Dato' Tony Fernandes, I don't know much about the business world. Global economies, or what's happening on KLSE or Wall Street? Nope, not interested, don't want to know.

But I do know one thing, that I truly respect you as an entrepreneur. You had my respect leaving your job at Warner and then embarking in the commercial aviation business and brought AirAsia up from zero to what it is today. I've said it earlier, and I'll say it again - I love AirAsia. And I love what you are doing for us.

But please, I'm requesting, nay - BEGGING YOU - please, please don't let a bunch of moronic front-liners ruin what you have built. And oh, you gotta do something about that system of yours dude.

Posted by Doreen at 12:25 pm


Monday, April 13, 2009

facebook, again?

My sister, Daphne, sent me this SMS one evening -
Quote from a local mag: "The whole world is on Facebook! I seriously don't know anyone who isn't on it. Starving children in Uganda are on it. It's how they tell each other where the nearest food source is!" LOL. So apt for you.

I told her she should tell the author of that quote that I'm not on Facebook.

Daphne says I should get one, it's how contacts are made these days. Not only for social purposes she said.

I told her I'll get one when I become a dive instructor.

So there! Stop bugging me, people!

Posted by Doreen at 12:41 pm


Thursday, April 09, 2009

emails from mom

When I started diving, mom wasn't exactly thrilled.

How deep do you go? Are you sure it's safe? Do you go with qualified dive guides or instructors? How much is a dive trip? How can you spend so much money just to go see fish?

Then she slowly warmed up to the whole idea of diving.

How did I find out?

Well, she forwards me beach/dive related news which she reads online. Eveytime I receive such email forwards from her, I smile.

Towards the end of last year, she sent me a news article about mola-molas in Bali. Recently, she sent me another article from The Star about the beaches and diving in Perhentian.

Yesterday, I received another email forward from her. Thinking it was another dive-related news article, I opened the email and found this.

MOM! What were you thinking?

Posted by Doreen at 5:47 pm


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

my hostility

One. I'm not made out for Customer Service.

Two. I have no patience for dumb people.

And I really don't know which of these statements are true.

My colleague who is in Customer Service is away on maternity leave (thank god she's coming back soon!) and so the rest of us in the office have to help out in that department.

I'm generally a nice person (you guys, please tell me this is true!), and my parents taught me manners. I say please and thank you.

So I called this Northern Bitch (I like this nickname, she's from Penang you see) to inform her of her eligibility to receive the gift from one of our sponsors and that collection can be made from our office until so-and-so date.

She started whining, wanting us to send it out to her since she lives in Penang.

I gave her my usual, "I'm sorry ma'am, we don't send out the prizes. Winners have to collect it from our office. It is stated in the Terms & Conditions"

Her reply? "Oh, but I didn't read that part!"

My Dumb-People-Radar was already beeping loud and clear by then.

Then, I offered her solutions - "Do you have friends/family in KL who can help you collect your prize?"

"Got, but so troublesome lah, you send it to me laaaaah!" she whined.

I repeated what I had said earlier about the T&Cs, and because she doesn't know what else to say, in a very pissed off tone, she said "You all put fine print, how am I supposed to see? You running some fake marketing gimmick to con the public is it?"

So I said to her, "No ma'am. In fact, the terms and conditions of this promotion is printed in the same font size as the points under the 'How To Participate' section".

My boss thinks I should be less hostile.

I agree lah!

It's just, GRRRRRR!!!!

You know what I mean?

Posted by Doreen at 1:20 pm


Friday, April 03, 2009

male pms

He was in the living room, watching TV. Sports Center as usual.

I had just finished my shower and was getting dressed in the bedroom. The door opened, and he poked his head in to say, "Hurry up!"

Before I could answer him, my phone rang. I pressed to answer the call, and nodded at him.

He gave me the irritated look.

Pissy mood encounter #1.

I quickly dismissed it and had a quick chat with mom, and then we left the house soon after. Dinner was to be at a nearby Chinese restaurant. I was craving for sweet and sour pork with rice.

We placed our orders and began chatting about our day.

Halfway through one of my narrations, he stopped me mid-sentence and said, "You did whaaaatt?!?"

Hello? Let me finish my story can?

As expected, he jumped to conclusions.

Pissy mood encounter #2.

"Depressing isn't it? Pink-sausage-lips is going to be PM tomorrow..." said I.

"Have you edited the post where you referred to policemen as dogs?" he asked.

"Which one?"

"You wrote and you don't remember?"

Pissy mood encounter #3.

For women, you call it PMS. So what is it for men?

Posted by Doreen at 12:57 pm


Thursday, April 02, 2009


Am I the only one worried about where we will go from here once tomorrow comes?

Posted by Doreen at 3:40 pm