Saturday, March 28

MAS Replies

There are some issues with the internet connection back at school so here I am typing away on a cybercafe computer in Sibu.
I am also unsure if I will be able to put up future posts.
I have so much to share but so little bandwidth!
Any tycoons reading this?
Care to sponsor me a satellite?

After 2 working days, MAS sent me this reply which I think is deeply disappointing.
Have a read...

Dear Mr. Yong,

Thank you for your email of 15 March 2009 regarding your experience with our services.

Malaysia Airlines' vision is to be The World's Five Star Value Carrier i.e. providing top-quality products and services at the most affordable prices. We are committed to achieve this with absolutely no compromise to safety or quality.

Unfortunately, we are concern to note that you had an unpleasant encounter with our check-in staff. Your dissatisfaction over this matter is understandable and we agree that customers should not be subjected to such service. We have conveyed your comments to the station head for his improvement and immediate corrective action.

On a brighter note, we are glad that another staff assisted to check your booking and then issue you the boarding pass. We do apologise that you didn’t receive the SMS that was sent to you regarding the flight cancellation.

Mr. Yong, we thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. We truly value feedback such as yours as it helps us review and maintain the quality service that our customers have begun to expect.

We hope this experience will not deter you from flying Malaysia Airlines as we always look forward to your continued patronage.
Why did I say that this reply was deeply disappointing?
- the matter was not resolved. What actions are they going to take? Is the station head even going to take action?
- there is no reassurance that such an offence would not be repeated at another station. What is MAS doing to improve ground staff etiquette?
- are there going to be repeat instances where ppl are only informed through SMS? why dont they try to e-mail or (even better) maybe a phone call as well?

I am deeply disappointed by this reply.
There are also a few spelling & grammar mistakes. See if you can find all of them.

Let me end by saying...
Beggars cant be choosers.
All are losers in a monopoly.

Monday, March 16

MH is Malaysian Hospitality... NOT!!

I wrote this letter & sent it to MAS during the weekend.
I wonder if I will get a reply.

I am a frequent flyer domestically & internationally. This year itself I will be making more than 15 flights. I am also unbiased with my choice of airline. I choose my airlines based on the best flight time or price. However, on long distances I admit I prefer MAS for extra comfort & reliability.

I respect the efforts of MAS in giving the best value & at the same time still maintaining its high standards. I am also very appreciative of its efforts in improving customer service which is truly lacking in our Malaysian culture. Thus, the coining of the term MH or Malaysian Hospitality.

Sadly, yesterday I was let down by the MH check-in staff at Sibu airport. I arrived at 3.30pm for my 5.10pm flight to Kuching from Sibu. As I was in Sibu for work, I was very much looking forward to returning to my family in Kuching for a short break before heading to KL.

I was dressed very plainly in a t-shirt, shorts & slippers as it was a hot day. The airport was almost empty & very quiet. I walked up to an empty check-in counter, greeted the officer, handed him my IC & proceeded to load my bag onto the tray.

The first thing the officer said to me was “Where are you going? Kuching?” I replied, “Yes, 5pm flight.” Then, he returned my IC & told me that my flight was cancelled. There was no smile or any friendliness. There was also no explanation for the cancelled flight. It was as if he expected me to walk away.

I had to ask him for an explanation. I was told that the flight was actually moved to an earlier time in the morning. Obviously, I was not informed. If I was, I would not have been there at that awkward moment. I also had to ask for the time of the next flight & if I could be placed on it. He told me that the flight was almost full & I had to step aside & wait at a corner for a higher ranking officer to come. I was shocked but there was nothing else I could do so I quietly obliged.

I waited at the corner for 15 minutes. I used that time to call my family. I also used that time to observe the officer. Who did not pick up any phone to call for the “higher ranking officer”. I felt like a fool. An angry fool. I also felt like a beggar. When I could not wait any longer, I returned to the counter & asked when the officer would come to see me. I was told that the “higher ranking officer” was having a “tea break”. I was blown away with that answer. I did not know what to do.

I was just about to return to my corner when the officer at the business class counter, who was there the whole time & had absolutely no business class guests to attend to, suddenly decided to help me. He asked the younger officer for my reference number &, after some persuasion, proceeded to help me obtain my seat. It was from this officer that I found out that MAS informed me about my cancelled flight via an SMS which I did not receive. After a few minutes of typing, he handed me my boarding pass. I got a grunt for my thank you.

As you can see, any human being who gives you business would feel deeply disappointed at such an encounter. I was not greeted at the empty counter. I was not provided the help that I needed by someone sitting on a comfy chair who had nothing else to do but watch the drama. There were no embarrassing smiles or expressions of regret for any inconveniences caused. Where is the Malaysian Hospitality you have promised?

I have faced cancellations & delays with other airlines. Every one of them apologised for the inconvenience & automatically put me on the next flight. I did not have to put myself through confusion & embarrassment. Even officers of low cost carriers are trained to do this. Why are officers of MAS so aloof & indifferent to their guests? Please improve on your Malaysian Hospitality.

Sunday, March 15

ICT in the Malaysian ESL Classroom

I was recently asked to give my opinion on ICT in the Malaysian classroom for a research paper.
I think it'll be good for me to share my thoughts with the world & I would appreciate the sharing of any of your thoughts too.

ICT - Information Communication Technology
ESL - English as a Second Language

taken from


1. What are the advantages of the use of ICT in teaching ESL? How does the computer promote students’ writing in ESL?
The advantages of ICT are numerous.
Electronic Realia. With ICT you can show them videos, play sounds & display engaging pictures or mindmaps to help them internalise their learning.
On writing with computers. Children are into new toys & working with tools. I think the prospect of writing with a new tool besides the mighty pencil would be a rare treat for the child who is naturally curious & inquisitive on technology.

2. What are the disadvantages (problems) arising from the use of the ICT in teaching writing in ESL?
The disadvantages are just as numerous.
Long preparation time. Teachers may not have the liberty of preparing an ICT lesson for every period because they are also tied down with numerous other responsibilities.
Poor PowerPoint skills. Some teachers fill in too much information onto one PowerPoint slide when a mindmap or any other graphic organiser would be better & faster for understanding.
Poor lesson planning. Even though interesting, sometimes the ICT tools do not match the lesson objectives. Exp playing a video on verbs when you want to teach adjectives.
Students may be off task. If students have a computer in front of them, students might explore the computer instead of listening to you.
High costs & learning curve. Teachers will have to foot the cost of the necessary software & the cost of learning how to use it.

3. How do the teachers manage the problems surrounding the use of ICT in the classroom situation? What advice can you give about using the ICT in teaching writing in ESL?
Keep things simple & do what you know. If you are not very good with the computer. Just put some important items like pictures on the projector & do the rest on the blackboard. Combine all your resources, ICT & conventional.

4. How do teachers plan activities to make the best use of the ICT in teaching writing? What online resources do you like to collect for your teaching of writing? How do you use CD-ROMs and the internet if at all?
Show them the basic concepts in mindmaps. I think ICT is very useful in showing students a graphical form of information which will probably embed itself in their brains for a long time.
Show them some engaging pictures to get them generating ideas for writing.

Online resources: images & samples of writing for analysis. Free content is everywhere to be exploited.

5. What are the implications for the role of the teacher in the use of ICT in teaching writing? How do traditional teaching methods have to change in response to the use of ICT? What’s the challenge for teachers using the ICT in teaching writing?
Teachers have to play an active role in acquiring & improving their knowledge & skills on ICT. The future will bring more integration of ICT into the classroom & teachers need to be prepared & open to it.
Traditional teaching methods don't have to be abolished. They can be combined for maximum effectiveness based on learning objectives, time for preparation, resources available, teacher skill & student ability. Not everything can be taught with ICT & not everything should be.
I think the main challenge for teachers that exists today is the struggle to use & get used to ICT. In time & persistence, teachers can improve on this.

6. In what ways do teachers think the use of ICT will develop in teaching writing in ESL in the future?
It largely depends on how proactive & enthusiastic teachers are.
ICT has already been used to 'teach' in several of Malaysia's smart schools.
But teachers around the world have already started to get their students to produce blogs, wikis & other websites to make writing more relevant.
I can see Malaysia going in that direction too... eventually.

Wednesday, March 11

Hello, I am the Specialist

taken from

Hello, how are you feeling today?
The government has sent me here to answer your distress call.
I hear that there is some sort of non-terminal epidemic.
And that only the local children are undergoing treatment.

I am an internationally trained specialist assigned to your facility.
I specialise in vernacular localised to the British Isles.
I will diagnose every linguistic concern & prescribe feasible means of therapy.
I have little experience but you have my best until I am called away to another needy place.

Treatment will take time & a lot of effort.
I will need access to every resource available at your disposal.
We will fight this disease of ignorance & we must win.
For the survival of the local people.

Saturday, March 7

She Satisfies Me Not

I am a man that desires flexibility.
Those that I have had relationships with were unable to bend over backwards when I needed them to.
They were awesome for portability & value but they deeply disappointed when I wanted to do more & take the relationship further.

I have had it with her.
Good bye, pretty, slim, simple & conservative Miss Compact Camera.
It's time I moved on to a real camera.
To the ever so alluring dear Miss SLR.

taken from

Say hello to the Nikon D60. (click to read review)
Released in 2008, it has just about the right features for my itchy fingers & panoramic fantasies.
It is also probably the best bargain for my RM3000 budget.
Actually, the kit + tripod + 4GB card only costs RM2200.
I'm budgeting around RM800 for a flash device.

Although I have already received my first pay check...
I will not hurry my decision to get married into the Nikon family.
There are other things things that I have to spend my money on first.
I would also love to hear any advice my readers have on SLRs & the Nikon D60.

The wedding date is set at the end of April.
I cant wait to 'officiate' our marriage!

Monday, March 2

I Miss the Boys

When I first come... in school.
I was warmly welcomed & taken in by this group of men.
They would smile at me, chat with me & respond to greetings warmly.
Their friendliness really kept me going & helped me adapt to this foreign & frustrating place.

They have my gratitude & their friendliness has left me with great impressions.
However, I am no fool. I never expected such a high level of affection to last.
Neither did I expect such a significant drop in affability I experience today.
After 1 month since I first came.

It’s strange that people who used to smile at you & look you in the eye when talking to you suddenly decide to avoid your gaze & only speak to you only when they have to without hiding the fact that they don’t enjoy doing so.
It’s strange that it should happen at varying degrees with every one of you all at the same time.

Could it be something I said? Or was it something I've done?
Could it be that I have stepped on toes that I know not of?
Could it be certain ‘bad’ people that I have been spending time with?

What have I done?
I wish I could ask directly. But if I do, I know that I will only make matters worse.
I used to enjoy being with you guys. But now I feel excluded even when I’m alone with only one of you.

These are people that I hold dear in my heart.
I guess it is time for me to detach myself.
At times like these you miss coming home to an apartment full of boys ready to make the night seem like day.
Nobody can ever replace them.

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