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Monday, March 23, 2015

Mr. Lee and Mrs. Lee Kuan Yew, our gracious passengers.... a repost and tribute

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


Anonymous said...

LKY's flight had always been viewed as the safest of them all. Safety and Security were always given top priority. It had always been my favourite flight all these years. CC all worked like a rugby scrum. Pilots were all well behaved. Aicraft condition tip top, service ware all shining and new, carpets changed. Menu unbeliveably extraordinary.

Finally, there is no need for any crew to be worried or stressed about having him on flight.

Anonymous said...

hey u upstairs u must be a lau cheow to know all these lol

Anonymous said...

Absolutely! Proud to be a lau cheow and rightly so. Hard work, tolerance, and mutual respect for each other are common traits of older staff and the silver generation. I would even go thus far to state that if LKY had been on board SQ 006, the crash would most likely not have happened. Besides, Lowen Brau was among his list of beer catered specially for him.

Alfred G said...

During take off ex DXB, with LKY on board, there were loud explosions.

The aircraft's underbelly lit up with flames. Clearly reflected from the cowling of engine #1 .

He was on the way to LON and connecting to Lusaka for the CHOSM - Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting.

Strong smell of burning rubber, cabin lights went off, the aircraft swayed left, then right with more explosions.

Secure and safe to have him on board?
During those days with the Japanese Red Brigade and Marxists, Palestinian Liberation Organisation.. just about any high profile figure was a target.

You may think it an honour to die with him...but 300 others on board have other plans.

Anonymous said...

It was an aborted take-off. The aircraft tyres had burst. The commander had to make a split second decision for the overall safety of paxs and crew. No casualties were reported.

"Honour to die with him"? This is pure fantasy. No one had ever mentioned this at all. This is wishful thinking and a personal opinion. The terrorist groups mentioned are not new. They have been around for decades and will not disappear completely even though after being exterminated.

Examples are HAMAS, AL-QAEDA, TALIBAN and the recent emergence of ISIS whose leaders are from the Iraqi army. I mentioned SQ 006 because the crash was caused by a pilot error. A careless mistake had claimed over 70 lives along with four CC.

Anonymous said...

U all who ??
All champions what....
All were born to win ....

Anonymous said...

Just stating the facts.

Anonymous said...

Did MM ever conducted spot check?

Anonymous said...

Spot check on who? Certainly not on the cabin crew as he was fond of us.

Anonymous said...

dirty harry
finally gone

Anonymous said...

Here are some of the mistakes that he had admitted, including some in Parliament screened over TV as well as others published in the media:-

* Had never known Devan Nair to be drunk.
* Admitted that he would have handled the bilingual educational policy differently had he known that it was so stressful on children and parents.
* Stated that it was foolish not to legalise casinos prior to giving the green light for gaming in Singapore.
* Malaysia Day proclaimed on Sep 16 ( his birthday) 1963.
* LHL and his first wife got married on the same month and date as his parents.
* Campaigned for a Malaysian Malaysia that proved to be disastrous. The Federal Govt had to boot out Singapore.
* Survivors of the Cable Car Tragedy were left hanging to dear life for some nine hours before they were rescued........???