More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal

More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal
Volkswagen has admitted it installed illegal software into 11 million 2.0 liter and 3.0 liter diesel engines worldwide (AFP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Volkswagen emissions scandal

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission
Analsyts say it is irresponsible to link the crash of a Ukraine International Airline Boeing 737-800 to the 737 MAX accidents (AFP Photo/INA FASSBENDER)

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 commercial jet.

QZ8501 (AirAsia)

Leaders see horror of French Alps crash as probe gathers pace

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Karim Raslan: A Fresh Face for Garuda?

The Jakarta Globe, Karim Raslan

Even in the age of Ryanair and easyJet, a national carrier still plays an important role. (Photo: Globe Asia)

Even though I fly a couple of times a week — and should be sick of traveling by now — I’ve never lost my childhood fascination with airplanes and airlines. (I can still remember long-departed carriers such as MSA, BOAC and Pan Am.) So when I read that Garuda was undergoing a transformation, I became curious.

Of course, the changes were taking place on many levels: new routes, new planes and a new image as seen in the moody and evocative TV ads by Dentsu Start, not to mention the more prosaic but intriguing ads on print. (You know, the photo of the fully reclining seats and the list of international destinations being served by the new wide-bodied, Airbus 330-200 planes.)

Given that Garuda has been underwhelming for years, I was intrigued by the idea of a rejuvenated national carrier. Frankly, was it possible?

Since I had to make a quick trip to Hong Kong to speak at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, I decided to test the Indonesian flag carrier by booking a business class seat — just for good measure.

The past few months have witnessed a major shift in the way I travel, and I suspect I’m not alone in this respect. Trading down has become a fact of life for most of us. Before the financial crisis, I used to be a certified full-fare paying, business-class passenger. I would sit at the front of the plane, nibbling on roasted peanuts and sipping my orange juice. Nowadays, I’m a low-cost carrier man. I book online, select my seat then order my nasi lemak or sandwich (or pandesal when I’m on the Philippines’ Cebu Pacific Airlines) before I fly. It’s a very different experience, sitting alongside squalling kids, overseas-based workers and a photography club from Bogor going on its annual trip.

I’ve also started noticing minute differences among the carriers. The food on Jetstar sucks. Mandala’s planes are amazing. Cebu Pacific’s schedule is weird. (Its Jakarta-Manila flights depart after midnight, arrive at dawn and leave you jet-lagged.) And Air Asia’s flight attendants appear to wear the tightest of uniforms.

Even the terminals they use are different, reflecting their more plebeian market. Landing at Kuala Lumpur’s low-cost carrier terminal is not unlike stopping at a cheery, if crowded, suburban mall on a Saturday afternoon, except that there are a lot of people sleeping everywhere. (I haven’t tried Jakarta’s Terminal 3, but it looks sleek from the outside.)

While the flights aren’t so rarified, most of the crew are incredibly friendly. There’s a real buzz when you step onto the planes and the youthful zeal is infectious. By way of comparison, the legacy carriers — Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines and Garuda — are more restrained and at times, plain boring and listless.

Having said that, my Jakarta-Hong Kong trip on the new Garuda A330-200 was a pleasant surprise. The attendants were more energized and enthusiastic. One of them even took the time to explain to me how my seat and the in-flight video system worked, while I was served countless espressos and hors d’oeurves. When I mumbled disparagingly about the meal service, she looked downcast but insisted that I fill out a form “so that we can learn and improve, Pak .” Huh? That was new.

The seat was far more comfortable than either the Malaysia Airlines or even Cathay Pacific’s claustrophobic cabin set-up. (And yes, it really was flat.) The Airbus’s internal design was understated and subdued. If anything, the elegance was overly international and insufficiently Indonesian. Sadly, the stewardesses’ uniforms have not been updated, as they should be wearing kebayas instead. As I settled in to watch the in-flight movies, I soon forgot about the minor hitches and enjoyed the flight.

Even in the age of Ryanair and easyJet, a national carrier still plays an important role. It is a country’s flagship, embodying and, in turn, expressing the social, cultural and historical attributes of a people. Given the Indonesian culture’s diversity and scale, the responsibilities of a national carrier aren’t easy. Nevertheless, as the republic emerges from a “lost” decade, it is important that Garuda captures the enthusiasm and the warmth of its people. The airline needs to project itself as the “face” of its nation.

Garuda’s new planes and its new livery are great. But for me, the change in attitude, as demonstrated by the flight attendants, is far more important. They exuded pride and were genuinely excited with what they were doing. This kind of enthusiasm is infectious. It’s also transformational.

Karim Raslan is a columnist who divides his time between Malaysia and Indonesia.

No comments: