Wednesday, 8 November 2006
I got up this morning around 6 am.,thinking what would my readers like to know. I still have a lot more stories to relate,after all, 35 years of flying is a long time, almost a generation.
Then, as I was lying on my bed,the memories of mine as well as my crews' encounters with MM Lee came to my mind.
I am not political but I do know one thing,like many older Singaporeans, that without MM Lee, many of us,our children and grandchildren would still be living in squatters without proper sanitations, electricity or clean running water. For, this I salute the great man Mr. Lee Kuan Yew! It is better to give him a bouquet now than when he is gone.
It was way back in the 1970s and 1980s when MM used to travel much more than these days and in the capacity of the Prime Minister of Singapore that we were privileged to have served him and his lovely wife.
It was an unwritten SIA policy that whenever MM flew with us, we would discourage the other first class passengers from smoking. We were told he had sinus problem.
On one flight,I politely told an American first class passenger to refrain from smoking too much(he was a chain smoker) and he graciously complied with my request. I think MM must have overheard my conversation with this American gentleman. Later on, MM pulled me aside and discreetly rebuked me. He explained to me that passenger had a right to smoke and I should not have asked him to stop.
My colleague ,once locked a first class cabin toilet for MM but was also nicely told not to ever do that again. MM's contention was , all first class revenue passengers have the right to the same facilities and he was no exception.
Whenever we could not complied with MM's request for things that were supposed to be on board, we would turn to Mrs Lee for rescue.She would then softly shout across the aisle to MM and told him not to bother the crew. MM would nod his head and smiled at the crew.
MM knew the type of pressure the company would put on the crew whenever he was on board,would occasionally reassured the crew not worry too much of his presence. Mrs. Lee was even better, always coming to our rescue whenever there was a shortfall in our service.
There was always so much fuss whenever MM flew with us. Security would be tight,the aircraft cabin and toilets would be in pristine condition,crew serving MM would be briefed before the flight on MM's likes and dislikes,his specially catered food and not to chilled his beer.
The good thing for the crew was,MM did not usually eat the food specially catered for him. He once told me and my crew to serve him and Mrs.Lee the food on the menu that the other first class passengers ate. He even told us to have his specially catered food and to us, they always tasted better than those on the first class menu.
To us, the cabin crew in SIA, it was such an honour to serve MM and his wife. For some of us senior crew, we were never worried or under pressure to serve this honourable couple. When things did not go right, we would just explained to Mrs. Lee and she would turn around and looked at her husband and said " Harry don't you..................." and everything would be alright.
Original post is here