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Sunday, 15 October 2006

A tribute to Mr.Sutopo Yap or "Pak"...The most generous passenger of all time.

Believe it or not, Pak ,one of the richest men in Indonesia was the most generous SIA passengers of all time. He loved the crew,boys as well as the girls.Pak could not speak much English but we communicated with him in Hokkien, a Chinese dialect. He was a very humble man and extremely generous with the cabin staff. Pak never failed to treat the crew to big meals in expensive restaurants at outstation. After the meals,he would bring the whole set of crew,numbering 18 usually to either posh drinking places for drinks or to his hotel suite. It was common for Pak to tip hotel staff hundreds of dollars.
There was a room service boy who brought the drink orders for Pak and the crew and was tipped US$200. At first, the waiter thought Pak must have made a mistake but Pak told him..."Take and buy your family makan" ( makan is the Malay or Indonesian word for food)
It was common for Pak to fly the crew who nightstopped in LA to Las Vegas. Yes, the whole set of cabin crew. He would give a couple of hundred dollars to each crew to buy jackets for the boys and dresses for the girls.
Once the crew arrived at Vegas, Pak would hand over a packet containing cash to the senior steward to distribute them to the crew. US$500 for each crew was the norm but sometime it could be $1,000 each.
There were times when Pak did not get off at the same station where the crew nightstopped. It did not matter much to the crew because Pak would always hand over some cash to the crew-in-charged to give them to the crew to spend.
A crew once told me Pak slipped 2 pieces of a thousand dollar bill into his hand when this crew bid Pak farewell with a handshake during disembarkation.
When asked why was he so generous and kind to the crew, his reply was he admired the SIA cabin crew for being so hardworking, friendly and humble.
Pak always tell us of his humble beginning,his life as a coolie(labourer)and how deprived he was when he was a boy. His advice to the crew was always to remain hardworking,honest and most of all ,be humble.
Pak has since left this world but he shall always be remembered and loved by the crew who knew him.

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