Troubled Qantas A380

Qantas A380 VH-OQD

On my way back to KL from Canberra, I took a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Singapore, scheduled to depart at 5pm local time. The domestic flight from Canberra to Melbourne, on the puny Qantaslink plane, went smoothly and so I had more than 2 hours to laze around the airport. Boarding time was at 4.20pm.

Around 4pm, there was an announcement that the flight is delayed. Since the plane was just right outside, we could see some (presumably) engineers working on the plane. The new departure time was 6pm, with boarding time at 5.30pm. I just shrugged and continue reading the free newspapers.

Melbourne Airport - Departure

Unfortunately, at about 5pm, there was yet another delay - this time to 7pm. Goodness, that meant the plane was scheduled to touch down in Singapore only at about 11.45pm (local time). I was feeling bad for my friends who would need to stay up till then (I was going to stay over at their place). I groaned and silent said, "You gotta be kidding".

To give them some credits, Qantas gave out a AUD20 F&B voucher to each passenger to be used in the airport, which was great since dinner was going to be late. However, everyone had the same idea and so all eateries had long queue. By the time I was served, it was just 10 mins away from the scheduled boarding time of 6.30pm. So I ate only a small sandwich and drank a bottle of orange juice and bought a bottle of mineral water to bring onto the plane. The flight on British Airway on the way from Singapore to Sydney did serve water but in the standard paper cup.

It turned out that the boarding time was delayed by about 15 mins. Once on board, we were informed that the plane could depart only after the engineers had gotten some documents signed. That took a good half an hour! Goodness gracious. I rolled my eyes once again.

Singapore Changi  Airport

The bad luck continued in Singapore: once it touched down, the auxiliary power wasn't functioning. Apparently it was needed to get the plane to the parking bay. Fortunately, everything else was working. So that added another half an hour of delay. By the time I entered the airport terminal, it was already 1am. I reached my friends' place at about 1.45am, feeling so embarrassed about being so late (compared to the scheduled touch down at 9.45pm).

On the bright side, I managed to watch the movies Green Lantern and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Ban didn't want to watch either) and the entire 4th season of Big Bang Theory, except for the last 7 mins when I had to disembark. Unlike previous experience where it was switched off during take-off and landing, the entertainment set was functioning from the time I boarded the plane till the time I disembarked. Oh, and remember the bottle of mineral water I bought? Turned out that instead of serving in paper cups, they freely gave bottles of mineral water. Goodie!

The plane was very new, with nice comfortable seat (unlike previous experience where my tail bone would hurt) and toilet taps that had sensors. It was only later on that I realised it an A380 plane - a first for me.

Spring Oct11 in Canberra

When I'm in Australia, I will inevitably discover some interesting subjects for me to take photo of. This is especially true for the spring season. There's something about flowers of varying colours and birds busy finding food (especially for their ever hungry chicks!). So alive.

Spring Oct11 2

Spring Oct11 1

Spring Oct11 3

Spring Oct11 4

Spring Oct11 5

Manja Chilli?

Manja Chilli

Incongruent, isn't it?

Success by student

My student, whom I've tutored in Math, has gotten his Primary 6 national exam results on Thursday. The great news is that he has gotten A in Math! Woot! It feels great to be able to help others to succeed.

The immediate action I'm taking now is to help him with basic math techniques e.g. multiplication of numbers that are multiples of 10s, approximation method to help in division. I've already suggested this be done in 2 or 3 sessions free of charge.

I've also made clear to his mum, who is my sister's godsister, that there is no obligation to continue with me if there is another tutor who is better for him. I'm all for him getting the right help.

Simple joy

One fine cool afternoon, after a bout of heavy rain, I swept and mopped the floor. It was quite pleasant as I hardly sweated. Also, my laptop was playing music CDs, after making sure Ban was fine with that (he was working on his PhD).

Then a particular Gloria Estefan song came on that prompted me to have a slow casual dance with Ban, who gamely acquiesced to my whimsical request :)

I felt so joyful dancing with him for these few minutes. I was smiling all the while :) Simple bliss.

Mother-in-law

Found this advertisement in a community newsletter in Canberra:


MIL

Didn't know mother-in-laws are that...'resourceful' :P

Home grown organic vegetable

Home grown veg


Had the privilege to eat organic bok choy, grown without fetiliser and pesticide by my sister in Australia. As shown above, it was in a bowl of spicy seafood ramen with fish tofu. Yum!

Unfortunately, the cucumber seedlings were kept being eaten by slugs. Any idea of how to solve the problem without resorting to chemical warfare?

Googling kills discussion and more

Google search
Sometimes when I asked someone a question (usually in reference to what that person said), I was immediately given a two-word response: "Google it."

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for putting information online as it helps to disseminate knowledge as widely as possible and, for those who use internet, as easy as possible.

However, for some people, it has some adverse effects. It makes them lazy to engage in lively discussions. They basically has outsourced their memory retrieval and social skill to Google! This is bad because:

(1) they're not exercising their brains and thus accelerate the decline of their cognitive functions. Yes, googling enables them to gather vast amount of knowledge but that is not enough to keep your mind active and healthy. You need to also exercise the ability to retrieve and use them.

(2) it reduces social interactions. Discussion is one of the main ways of social interactions. In the past, people can spend considerably time discussing a variety topic, being exposed to difference point of view and information. This is good for all parties involved as they're exercising their brains in a variety of ways. If this is nipped at the bud, then they'll be reduced to essentially talking about inane things all the time.

(3) it may affect their ability to work. As with any skill/function, the less you use it, the more you lose it.

I'm not saying that people should discuss until their voices are hoarse. Just don't give up at the beginning and so easily.

What's love?

Love isn't about taking what you want; it's about wanting happiness for the one you love.

- Kahlan Amnell in the book "Temple of the Winds" of the "The Sword of Truth" series

Switching geographical positions

When I was working in Singapore, Nothamsap was studying in Sydney. We met a couple of times in Singapore and once in KL (when I was visiting Ban regularly) but thereafter, it was like fate playing a cruel game with our schedule :)

For example, when I moved back to Malaysia, he then moved to Singapore, looking for work. In September, I was in Singapore for a week and so contacted him. However, he was flying back to Sydney.

Latest example is best illustrated by this sms dialogue:

Me: Hey Nothamsap. I'm in Canberra.
Nothamsap: I am flying to Malaysia today hahaha.
Me: Lol. Are you avoiding me? ;) We keep switching geographical positions!
Nothamsap: I know! How long are you going be in Canberra for?
Me: Until Nov 12.
Nothamsap: I am coming back on the 11th!!! Omg.
Me: :D You just changed your arrival date, didn't you? You sux ;)
Nothamsap: Hahaha no, I didn't. Aiyo. We should arrange it next time.
Me: Yes, we should! Perhaps when we next meet, we may be toothless and chew on soft boneless chicken meat :D
Nothamsap: Haha not that long! Probably soon, who knows.