Monthly Archives: September 2010

What You Need to Know Before Flying with a Budget Airline

 For those who have never try budget airlines before.

So you are excited to start your vacation. The airfare seems to be good to be true. With a small luggage you arrive at the airport. You look at the Arrival/Departure screen, hmmm, can’t find your flight. Ok, I am too early, they do not have my flight details yet. So you wait and wait…and wait. Still no flight. Anxiously you approach the counter staff only to be told there is no flight and the airline tried calling you many times to no avail and had emailed you about the flight cancellation. The staff then ask you to fill up a form for the refund of the credit card bill. Your blood pressure shoots up while you check your phone and email and there is no such email or missed calls! Arggggh!!!!

See, this happened to me. So what are the lessons learned?

  • Check you email that the airline have received your booking and there is a bill confirmation of our booking.
  • Check your email daily for any update on your flight. It is important to use your regular email as you may have forgotten to check the less frequently used email accounts.
  • Check your credit card if the airline has billed you.
  • Two weeks before departure, call the airline to check if the flight is confirmed. This may be a fruitless exercise as the airline does not usually confirm flight till the very day of departure.
  • The day before departure, check again. Yes, it may be another useless call because you may hear the same answer.
  • Call again on the day of departure.
  • Arrive at the airport and immediately go to the counter if you do not see your flight schedule.
  • If flight is cancelled, check if the airline will re-schedule another flight. If not, demand your money back!

This is not a diss on budget airlines. I don’t mind cheap travel – I get what I pay for. An informed customer may not complain if there is a mess-up and and the reasons explained. This goes for any service provider, not just airlines. A first time customer will either come back or be totally turned off by the experience. Needless to say, I am into the later category.

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Posted by on September 29, 2010 in Travel


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Island Discovery in Langkawi

Beautiful dawn in Langkawi, Malaysia.

Early morning, the breeze is blowing. Flutters of seagulls in search for breakfast while rolling waves crash to shore signaling the change of tide. In the forest, monkeys scream a warning and squirrels fling from branch to branch. All the while, the sky blush with indigo, vermillion, yellow and all the colours in between as the clouds play “peek a boo” with the rising sun.

Such sweet solitude.

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Posted by on September 27, 2010 in Malaysia, Travel


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Deadlines, Deadlines, I am DEAD!

Tips in surviving the rat race and managing deadlines.


Arrange files in sequence of deadlines, either left to right or right to left. The project with the closest deadline will be placed either extreme left or right, depending on preference. Some may prefer organising alphabetically by project name or project serial number (if any). Whatever works for you. I find it easier to manage time when the deadlines are clearly displayed in their order of urgency.

Develop a Schedule

List the number of tasks needed for each project and indicate their estimated timeframe of completion. If you are behind schedule, decisions have to be made whether to delay the project delivery or carry on to speed up the process.

Budget Allocation

For all projects, budget is an important aspect. Keep track of progress and the bills accumulated. There should be a budget projection for each stage. An example :

Advertising budget  – $10,000

Cost of event              – $50,000

Clean-up                      – $5,000

Total budget                 $65,000

Clean up the Clutter

A messy workstation means a messy brain. Unless you strive on chaos and that is how you like it and it works for you! 😉

Air Freshener

It works wonder in improving your mood. Feeling angry and frustrated? Spray on lavender air freshener – it will calm your mood. How about citrus? It keeps you awake. Of course all this advise is useless if you are allergic and have no sense of smell. 😉

Eat Brain Food

Munch on nuts, raisins or even bananas. Get the vitamins and minerals to energise your brain, especially after a heavy lunch when it is so tempting to doze off.

Have a great working day!


[This writer is counting deadlines and in serious need of a vacation.]

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Posted by on September 27, 2010 in Work tips


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Close Up and the Big Picture

I love winter even though I live in the tropics. Snow-capped mountains reflection on crystal clear lakes – so soothing for the soul.

While I love taking panoramic landscape pictures, it is often during close-ups that fine details are shown. This picture was taken at Niederhorn – Beatenberg, Switzerland. The wide angle shot highlight the cliff boulder against a backdrop  of mountain while fog smothers the valley.

Upon close-up, amidst the foggy backdrop are wooden huts laden with snow on the rooftops – I like the ethereal effect.

By the way, the fog is a natural phenomena in Beatenberg.

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Posted by on September 25, 2010 in Travel


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The Rustic Life

A moment in time.

My parents are my greatest inspiration. They married late in life – father was 34 and mother was 26. It was hard to get jobs those days. When father lost his job, he turned to fishing. Fresh fish and tapioca – so yummy.

We lived in a village, on an island. Boats ferried passengers to the mainland island, where most jobs were found. Boys and girls cycled to school and some walked.

There was no electricity and kerosene lamps were the main source of lighting. When our family well dried up, buckets of water had to be fetched from the village public well, one hundred metres away. Cooking was done over firewood. When it rained, water seeped through the attap roof.

Chickens fought, birds sang their melodies while the forest floor trembled with life. Catching spiders, climbing trees, playing hide and seek, jumping from the pier – fun memories.

No running water, indoor plumbing, tv or plush surrounding. But it was home and the way of life back then.

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Posted by on September 24, 2010 in Life



A View from hiking Queen Charlotte

When I need inspiration.

Today …….

is another difficult day in a tough week. This picture always make me smile and feel inspired. It takes over two hours hiking in Queen Charlotte, NZ, to get that view. Step by step, no matter how impossible it seems, there’s something wonderful at the end.

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Posted by on September 24, 2010 in New Zealand, Travel


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Chasing rainbows in New Zealand

To see a rainbow once in a lifetime is such a joy. To see so many rainbows, on separate locations, on multiple days… the pot of gold is all mine. 🙂 

Day 2 – 1st sighting – Doubtful Sound 

Doubtful Sound


Day 3 – 2nd sighting – on the way to Glenorchy (morning) 

on the way to Glenorchy


Day 3 – 3rd sighting – opposite Dart Safari’s office, Glenorchy (afternoon) 

opposite Dart Safari’s office, Glenorchy


Day 5 – 4th sighting – Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown 

On the boardwalk, Queenstown


close up, Queenstown


Day 7 – 5th sighting – kayaking in Nelson 

kayaking in Nelson


 A memorable vacation to this very day.

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Posted by on September 22, 2010 in New Zealand


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