BEING stranded at an
airport for 18 hours certainly makes you think about life and the world around
My ordeal at Changi Airport
last week was interesting not because of the massive delays from a runway
closure due to a small plane crash, but because of the entire experience
throughout my wait.
Runway 1 of the airport was
shut down after an air force jet crashed and caught fire during the Singapore
Airshow. I’m glad the pilot was unharmed — it goes to show the risks some
people have to go through for others.
Although it took 18 hours
to get my flight, the “waiting” was a calm and comforting experience — from the
time I arrived at the airport to the time I left.
After my flight was
rescheduled, I realised that it would be best to find accommodation. Normally,
a traveller is not allowed out of the airport once he has checked-in his
luggage and passed the security and immigration gates.
Yet, in this case, the
immigration made an exception. It was clear to them that overcrowding at an
airport with flight delays overruled standard operating procedures.
My taxi ride to the hotel
was also a comforting one. The driver understood what was going on, and the 2am
check-in at the hotel was smooth and rapid.
The next day was another
“smooth” wait, albeit with more delays. Eventually, I was on my way.
It simply goes to show how
strong customer-oriented fundamentals are key to a successful handling of a
If everyone understands the
principles and objectives of his or her profession, and plays his or her role
without hesitation, it creates a series of events that lead to a great customer
experience despite the difficulties faced.
What I realised most of all
was how unfettered I was throughout the whole ordeal. Despite my unscheduled
absence, I was able to work with my team members, who were communicating with
me online at the headquarters. I was also able to play my role with my
superiors at the ministry and counterparts in the industry.
New technologies can never
replace the human factor. And because of that, human compassion can never be
substituted with even the most sophisticated artificial intelligence.
This Chinese New Year, let
us remember that although we may meet once a year, the connection on this very
day will impact our daily lives through unspoken bonds, friendship and love.
The stories you share at
the reunion dinner are not just for the sake of sharing, but they add to the
experience of the listeners. Each anecdote, advice or joke adds value to the
listeners, and when the right time comes, those stories will guide them in
So use this opportunity
wisely, for wisdom shared will multiply into a world that is enriched with
Gong Xi Fa Cai to all
celebrating the Chinese New Year, and a safe journey to you who are returning
to your loved ones! May the Chinese New Year bring prosperity and further
enhance our lives for years to come.
And because of that, human
compassion can never be substituted with even the most sophisticated artificial
intelligence. The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.