Monthly Archives: April 2016

Do NOT travel on a plane unless you read this.

Wanderlust. Globe trotter. And all the other shitty names you come up with when you travel but you don’t know the first thing about getting on a plane. Let me tell you something. When you decide to take a plane – there is whole hell lot of things going on that you arent even aware about.

As much as this is a rant, it really is more of a public service announcement. You can thank me later.

1 . Show your boarding tickets without waiting for the crew to ask for it
Honestly for the love of humanity. Is this so hard to do? So you are carrying 20 bags. You know you will have to approach the gate at some point. Take it out. Put it somewhere accessible so you can reach out for it. Why is it so important you ask? How about you just take the bus to wherever you need to go to instead. If you have kids and baggage and all that then yes, of course the crew understands and they will help you but otherwise – please.

2.Place your bags in the overhead compartment yourself. TYVM.
You do know that cabin crew are not at all required to assist with your baggage right? You didnt? Great. Now you do.
First of all, know this. You paid for your seat on the flight. Not the space in the overhead compartments. So yes, sometimes on a full load and especially when you are late, there wont be space. But you don’t have to kick up a huge fuss like you own the airline. You don’t. Just tell the crew calmly that you cant find space and they will help you.
Second, on most flights, the carry-on baggage is limited to 7kg. Now, clever you decides to pack all your shit for a 2 day vacay and you expect the crew to carry it for you? Do you know how many people the crew has on a full flight? Let’s place an average of 250 people. If everyone of you starts asking them to help you with your baggage, they will leave the job in a month because their spines will give way and they will die. Yes they will assist the old, the frail, the pregnant, the weak but not you, you miserable-selfish-able-bodied prick. Do it yourself

3. Sit your ass down and buckle up.
You were the first to get on the plane, placed your bags and settled in your seat! Hurrah! Let’s give you a medal! Now shut up and stay in your seat. Yes, of course at this time, while 249 more passengers are boarding, you need to use the toilet and being seated right in the middle means you need to move in and out and stop traffic now and then because you will be going against the traffic flow and therefore delaying take off. Great. Oh what’s that? You want a glass of water? And some biscuits? Wow. I mean you really want to make full use of your $800 ticket dont you. Of course you know the crew is busy with boarding , attending to parents with infants, and passengers who requested assistance or have disabilities etc but nope, you want your biscuits and you want it now. Here’s your medal, jackass

4. IF YOU DONT WANT TO DIE, you have to put your window shades up, stow your footrest, stow your handset, stow your tray tables, stow your drink holder, stow your screens, place your bag under the seat IN FRONT of you, fasten your seat belts, remove your USB’s and put your seats upright.
This will probably be the most important part of this post. It will save your life. 
90% of aircraft accidents happens during taxi,take off and landing. Yes this is when the seat belt sign comes on as your plane is getting ready for take off or descent. Now, the NAA (National Aviation Authority) of all the countries in the world requires the cabin crew to evacuate the plane in 90 seconds. NINETY FREAKING SECONDS. I cant even finish peeing in that time. But hey, they have to evacuate 250 people out of a plane that’s about to go down.
If you still don’t get it, let me break it down for you. If you are seated on the aisle seat  and have things like your tray tables out, your footrest, your handset, your drink holder and your seat reclined – how the hell is the person next to you and the guy having the window seat supposed to get out without fumbling through all of that? He or she will take slightly more time thanks to your selfishness. Worse, he or she gets tangled up or stuck thanks to your stupid bag or something. Every mini second counts if a plane is on fire.
Next, there is a locking device attached to your seat when it is upright. If the plane hits hard during landing or crash lands, you wont be thrown around as bad as if it was reclined. Also when your seat is upright, you allow easier evacuation for the passengers behind you.
Why have the window shades up you ask? The cabin crew have to mend the emergency doors during take off and landing. They cant see shit if it is happening outside the plane ie : engine on fire etc. But you can and when you do, you can alert them. Of course, provided your window shades are up in the first place. So dont complain about the sun in your face. No one cares.

Now when the service starts…

5.SIT YO ASS DOWN. 
They are starting a meal service. You had 30 whole minutes to go to the toilet and shit your life away but NOOOOOOOO….you only want to do it when they bring their carts out. Why???? It is a policy on some airlines that they cannot let you squeeze through the aisle while the cart is on it. They have to move the whole cart (and mind you it is heavy) back to the galley or all the way to the front depending on where you are just so you can use the toilet. Oh and of course, when you finish your shit, they need to do the same thing all over again. How more selfish can you get? And imagine if it is one of those very short flights which still has a full service and it is a full load. The poor crew is struggling to get all the meals served and has to collect them all but she or he needs to move the heavy AF cart up and down and disrupt the service for all other passengers because selfish you did not use the toilet when you could have. Either go to the toilet before the service or do it after its over. Not in between. Some of you aren’t even sorry..it’s revolting!

6.How to use a toilet on a plane
Yeah would you believe it? This is actually a point in this blog. First of all OPEN YOUR EYES. Why? So you can READ. On the door there will be a part that says PUSH. Push the door. And it will open.
Before you sit your ass on the toilet, again, OPEN YOUR EYES. Look out for a sign or symbol that has the word flush or depicts a flush. Know that you have to press that after your business is done. And when you do, look at the toilet again, if you see parts of yourself(ie shit) flush it again.
Next, after using the toilet rolls and tissues – look around the sink area. There is a waste flap(usually) which requires you to push it so you can throw your rubbish. That’s where you dump it. Not just in any bloody hole you see in the toilet.
Also if you are going to vomit – DO IT IN THE FREAKING TOILET BOWL AND NOT IN THE SINK!!!!!!! What the heck is wrong with you?!

7.Things to bring on a plane

1.  A pen.
Please dont travel without this. Help the crew to help yourself. Really. Bring a bloody pen will you.

8.Call buttons/bell
This might be the nicest thing I say on this post. Some people are actually nice. They actually come to galley/kitchen(whatever you call it) and ask the crew for things ie: drinks/food/pen/tissue/whatever. And I get that for others it may not be as easy because they are seated further away or stuck in the window seat,mum or dad with kids etc.. yeap, totally understandable. Let’s excuse those people.
As for the rest of you –  the crew provides a service on board. They are not your slaves. They are the people who have to risk their lives when the plane goes down. They will be the last people to disembark. They are doctors and nurses on board when you fall ill or become sick. They are mothers to your children and infants when you need to use the toilet and have someone keep an eye on them. They are a lot of things when your plane is 50,000 ft in a pressurized space and you only have them to depend on. 
So be a decent human for once in your life – and if you are going to press the call bell, do it wisely. Also, do them a favour and ask the people around you if they want the same thing. Yes you know it. Those people who see you having something and they want it too. But they only ask for it AFTER the crew has served you – so now they have to do two trips. Sometimes 3 because the 3rd mofo just got up and wants one of whatever you’re having too. This is a Boeing 777 for Christ’s sake not a 7-11.

9.Goodbye
So you had a good flight and the plane is about to land… compliment your crew. Thank them. Tell them you had a good flight. Better yet, ask for a feedback form. Take their names down. This encourages them. Plus doing something nice for someone might make you human again. Remember what that felt like?

Author’s note : Of course not everyone are assholes when they choose to fly. Im pretty sure some people are a joy to travel with and serve. So if this hit you hard then you are part of the problem so stop being an a-hole flyer! Also, I tried. I swear i tried really hard not to get emotional writing this. But oh well. Anyway, now you know what to do the next time you get on a plane and this world and our skies is now a better place! 
You’re welcome! 

WHY OUR WORLD CELEBRATED THE HOLOCAUST AND WILL ELECT TRUMP AS PRESIDENT (1/2)

Growing up, i have always wondered how the world stood by and watched mass genocides like the Holocaust, Bosnia or the Armenians. How can there still be countries living under apartheid in the 21st century? How can people who are blatantly racist with crazy ideologies garner so many supporters? What is it that allows ordinary people to be coaxed into thinking that getting rid of an entire group of people is alright?

Last week in Hong Kong, i bought a book – The Sociopath Next Door. Written by clinical psychologist, Martha Stout Ph.d, who reveals a startling fact that 1 in 25 people are sociopaths. That’s 4% of our population who are utterly void of conscience and can literally do anything to anyone at all without shame, fear, guilt or remorse.

The book discusses a wide range of things not just specific to sociopathy itself but the entire psychology behind why people like you and me do the things we do and the role of conscience in our world. One particular excerpt of the book however felt like i was reading the holy book on humans – the revelation of how someone is able to do something so unbelievably cruel, have the masses of people endorsing him and worse, having those who support him, convinced that they are absolutely right. And i was compelled to share it with as many people as possible.

Moral Exclusion

“Each year on the 4th of July, the little seaside of New England town where i live lights a three-story celebratory bonfire on the beach. Pallets of dry wood are nailed together and artfully stacked on top of one another in a towerlike shape that dominates our quaint landscape for several days before the 4th. The tower is constructed just so, with enough planks of wood and enough airspace for airflow in between that in can be counted on to flame up quickly. It is ignited as darkness falls, with the volunteer fire department standing by, hoses ready, just in case. The atmosphere is festive. The band plays patriotic songs. There are hot dogs and Slurpees and a fireworks display. When the bonfire has burned out completely, the children return to the beach, where the  firemen obligingly drench them with their hoses.

All of this has been a town tradition for 60 years, but not being a big fan of massive fires, i have attended it only once, in 2002, when i was encouraged by my friends. I was amazed by the numbers of people who has somehow pressed themselves into our tiny corner of the Atlantic coastline, some of them from fifty or more miles away, and I jostled with the crowd to find a spot close enough to see the fire, but far enough away not to get my eyebrows singed, or so i thought. I had been warned that once the fire got going, there would be more heat than i could imagine, and it was already a ninety degree day. As the sun began to set, there were hoots and shouts and calls for the tower to be torched, and when flame was finally put to wood, there was a collective gasp. The fire immediately began to engulf the wooden structure like the unstoppable force it was, from the sand upward to the night sky that suddenly blazed. And then came the heat. With the feel of a near-solid object, a wall of unbearable, even frightening superheated air rolled outward from the fire in waves of increasing intensity, taking the crowd by surprise and pushing us away en masse. Each time I thought I was far enough, i had to move back another fifty yards, and then another fifty yards, and then another. My face hurt. I would never have dreamed that a bonfire could make that much heat, not even one that was three stories high.

Once people had retreated to a sufficient distance, a sense of happy fascination returned, and when the ornamental top of the tower was consumed by the fire, the crowd applauded. The ornament at the summit had been built to resemble a little house, and now the house contained a miniature inferno. This and the vague sense of danger and the heat all disturbed me somehow, and i could not seem to share the feeling of the festive occasion. Instead, perversely, I began to think about the reality of the witch burnings in the 16th & 17th centuries, events i have always thought of as incomprehensible, and as hot as i was, i shivered a little. It is one thing to read about a fire large enough to execute a human being. It is another to stand in front of such a fire, along with an excited, hooting crowd. The sinister historical associations would not leave me, and stubbornly kept me from taking any delight in the moment.

I wondered: How had the witch burnings happened? How could such nightmares have been real? Ever the psychologist, i looked around at the people. Clearly, these were not bewildered Basque refugees in 1610, frantically searching for diabolists to burn. Here we were, a crowd of new-millennium, peace-loving, non-hysterical citizens, unscarred by hardship or menacing superstition. There was no blood lust here, or subjugation of conscience. There was laughter and neighbourly feeling. We were eating hot dogs and drinking Slurpees and celebrating Independence Day. We were not a heartless, amoral mob, and we would by no means have rallied around a murder, let alone the staging of torture. If by some bizarre reality warp there had suddenly been a human figure writhing in those colossal flames, only the anonymous handful of sociopaths among us would have been unaffected and or perhaps entertained. Of the rest, a few good people would have stayed in paralysed disbelief, a number of especially courageous people would have tried o intervene, and most of the crowd would have fled in understandable terror. And the once-cheerful bonfire would have become a traumatic image seared into all of our brains for the rest of our lives.

But what if the burning human had been Abu Bakr al Baghdadi – the leader of ISIS? How would this crowd have reacted if suddenly confronted with the public execution of the person identified as the world’s most despicable villain? Would these normally conscience-bound, churchgoing, nonviolent people have stood by and allowed it? Might there have been enthusiasm, or at least acquiescence, rather than nausea and horror at the spectacle of a human being dying in agony?

Standing there among all those good people, I suddenly realised that the reaction might have been something less than horror, simply because Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is not a human being in our view. He is Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, and as such, to borrow an expression from Ervin Staub in The Roots of Evil, has been completely “excluded from our moral universe.” The interventions of conscience no longer apply to him. He is not human. He is an it. And unfortunately, this transformation of a man into an it makes him scarier as well.

Sometimes people appear to deserve our moral exclusion of them, as terrorists appear to do. Other examples of its are war criminals, child abductors and serial killers, and in each of these cases, a considered argument can be (and has been) made, rightly or wrongly, that certain right to compassionate treatment have been forfeited. But in most cases, our tendency to reduce people to non-beings is neither considered nor conscious, and throughout history our proclivity to dehumanize has too often been turned against the essentially innocent. The list of out groups that some portion of humankind has at one time or another demoted to the status of hardly even human is extremely long and, ironically, includes categories for nearly every one of us: blacks, gays, Muslims, Israelis, Palestinians, Native Americans, Shias, capitalists, Serbs, Hutus, the Irish, the Tamils, the poor, the rich – to name but a few.

And once the other group has been populated by its, anything goes, especially if someone in authority gives the order. Conscience is no longer necessary, because conscience binds us to other beings and not to its. Conscience still exists, may even be very exacting, but it applies only to my countrymen, my friends, and my children, not yours. You are excluded from my moral universe, and with impunity- maybe even praise from others in my group- i can now drive you from your home, or shoot your family or burn you alive.”

This was written in 2 parts simply to make reading easier. In the original excerpt, Osama bin Laden was used as an example instead of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. The change was to make it more current and relatable for everyone. Part 2 of this excerpt basically answers the questions posed below.

PART II (Preview)- There are leaders who can bring members of a frightened society to see the its as the sole impediment to the good life, for themselves and maybe even humanity as a whole and the conflict as an epic battle between good and evil. Once this beliefs have been disseminated, crushing the its without pity or conscience can, with chilling ease, become an incontrovertible mandate. The recurrence throughout history of this type of leader raises a long list of dumbfounding questions. Why does the human race tolerate this sorrowful story over and over, like a mindless broken record? Why do we continue to allow leaders who are motivated by self-interest, or by their own psychological issues in the past, to fan bitterness and political crisis into armed confrontation and war? In the worst instances, why do we let such leaders run the show and play games of dominance with other people’s lives? What becomes of our individual consciences?

Why do we not stand up for what we feel? 

Excerpt from ‘The Sociopath Next Door’ – Martha Stout