[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Sunday, December 17, 2006

[Airlines and Ho Chi Minh City]
It was the second time travelling on Singapore Airlines. The first time was when travelled on SIA was at last year's SEA Games in Manila. Qatar Airways is said to be a five-star airline (if there is such a rating). My first flight was on Finn Air. It was an exciting experience.

I think so far, air travel for me has been quite okay. But there was one encounter on SIA that I would not forget. I had asked the air stewardess for something but my request was not fulfilled.

Service aside, I like the fast take off and landing of Singapore Airlines. Their service standards have, by far and large improved. I recall there was a New Paper report on SIA's service standards a year ago.

I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City in the afternoon.

The streets are busy and full of motorcycles. You hardly see any upmarket cars around except for the signature white taxis.

It is a lot like in the Philippines and Malaysia.

Straight after we arrived at the hotel, we had lunch and it was on to work. After checking in, grassroots leaders headed up to the discussion area while others who were not involved headed to the market to shop.

My roommate who was down with chicken pox did not come along so I have the whole room to myself. It is much larger than my room in Doha.

As usual, the view is one of the first things that I take note of. My room is near the road so it is pretty noisy even though it is late at night. The view at the 12th floor was breathtaking.

Since it is a constituency retreat, we split into groups to address the concerns of the various age groups.

Our group, being the youngest, was different from the rest. We brainstormed and wrote our ideas on post-it pads.

Each group then presented their ideas and recommendations to the panelists including our adviser Minister George Yeo. All of the groups came up with powerpoint slides.

After an afternoon of interactive discussion, with snacks, tea and coffee on the sidelines, we headed for dinner on a three-storey boat in the town area. As we ate, the boat cruised along the river.

On the top section of the boat, there was live music. It was very romantic to stand at the front of the boat and let the breeze blow your hair.


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