Monday, April 8, 2013

Perhaps some middle ground?

Further to my experiences yesterday of professionals providing we punters with a littletoo much detail about the machinations of their responsibilities in theinterests of outstanding customer service, today we have an all-too-different approach on offer.

Now to be clear up front, today’s long haul flight is my first in many years which has not been with an Asian carrier, and this is my first time ever to have flown with Australia’s national carrier on any journey longer than a couple of hours, so the approach to customer service that is being displayed by the flight crew today may simply be a reflection of cultural diversity.

If one were to view the key to herding passengers on and off a plane and through the lengthy flight as being a customer service exercise best executed with a gentle, carrot and stick mentality, then one can clearly see from amongst the Southeast Asian carriers a pleasant, gentle, overly hospitable manner to coax people along, much as you might expect to experience when invited to share a meal in the home of a Thai or Vietnamese host.

This contrasts dramatically with our Australian hosts who are today dispensing with the carrot, grabbing the stick in two, muscular, tattooed sheep-shearer’s arms, and adopting a threatening stance while staring down any potential opposition with aggressively flared nostrils.  Today, we passengers are being subject to a high rotation of disgruntled, waspish directions from the ageing purser in her most condescending, School Marmish sneer;

“I would like to remind all passengers that the Captain has put the fasten seat belt light on and you are all to sit down immediately”, followed a couple of minutes later by an even more snidey,

“Passengers are again reminded to stop getting out of your seats”, and a few minutes later – thoroughly pissed now at the passenger body’s general affront to her authority,

“Right, now … for the safety of all the passengers you need to siddown and keep your seat belt on!”.

And then, in a final, exasperated attempt to address the insolence of the anarchic, seat-belt flaunting passengers throughout the cabin, our irritated purser must have gone to a higher authority.  The Captain’s voice crackled aggressively on the intercom,

“Ah it has been brought to my attention that passengers are not observing the fasten seat belt sign.  May I remind you that I control this vessel and it is not your decision to walk around the cabin … it’s mine!”.

Ha!  If there’s one thing that’s gonna drive this passenger to mile-high lawlessness, it’s a direct order from someone in self-imposed authority!  Two days; two customer service don’ts!  How ironic that Australia’s national carrier is currently in political hot water at home for sending all its maintenance services offshore to Asia; the exact place which would serve it well in terms of learning some improved approaches to customer service.

The purser on today's flight delivered a pretty good rendition of the embittered, angry school marm.  Pic:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Vocational Training

Every job in the world has its perks … and its lurks; the butcher is a legally sanctioned killing machine who gets to walk around all day with a lethal weapon at his hip … but spends his days up to his nuts in guts; the baker makes tonnes of dough*, but is up at 1am and covered in flour; the candlestick maker does a roaring trade each year during Earth Hour … but has hands covered in burns; the primary school teacher get 38.4 weeks a year holiday … but those bloody kids; and the podiatrist gets around in a Maserati with a hooker on his lap … but suffers a daily ordeal of toe-jam and horny old nails.

Obviously, in business as in life, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and in order to enjoy the good, you have to put up with a bit of the bad.

Here in Vanuatu, the good is most certainly the fantastic climate, the laid-back pace, the wonderful people and the brilliant, sparkling sea, and understandably it is not uncommon for adventurous folk from places like Australia and New Zealand to move here and sign-up for an extended, working tropical holiday through managing small scale tourism businesses such as resorts and restaurants.

Over Easter, the Donkeys visited one such establishment where a young couple taking a break from a year or two on the backpacking trail, had recently arrived to service the needs of their fellow travellers, and at the same time, enjoy living on a stunning coastline in one of the world’s few remaining tropical coastal wildernesses.

But instead of being happy with the perks they enjoy every day, at three weeks, they are at each other’s (and their resort guests’) throats; he wanting to hang-out all afternoon with the young [and female] guests and she wanting to visit the local tourist sites because, as she would tell all within earshot, “it’s not fair.  I have been here for weeks and I never get to go anywhere”.

Every job has its perks, people … and its lurks.  The explosive sunrises, azure reefs and balmy evenings aren’t free; you might also have to do some work, like stock the larders, fix things, clean things and look after guests.  One thing’s for sure, as someone who paid for my explosive sunrises, azure reefs and balmy evenings, I was not entirely happy with the nagging lurk of a disgruntled and dysfunctional resort management. 

Still, life has a way of working itself out, and looking around at the haunted looks of my fellow guests every time one of these managers walked out onto the balcony, I have a feeling that they may soon find themselves enjoying far more ‘me time’ than they’d signed-up for.  It’s called hospitality for a reason … and it aint about you!

Bit of a mixed metaphor here, but the point is that even these guys suffer lurks in return for the perks of their jobs … and they don’t look to be complaining.  Pic:

*urgh – that was terrible

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Scott Morrison; MP, racist … bully

Scott Morrison’s interview with the ABC’s chief politicalcorrespondent, Sabra Lane, this morning from Adelaide was an exercise in everything that is rotten about politics in Australia today.  The leaderless cancer eating away at the ranks of the ALP is so malignant that the Opposition knows well it need do absolutely nothing to get into power in September … nothing at all … not even needing to develop workable, articulate or costed policies.

This was certainly clear from a snarling Scott Morrison this morning whose aggression right from the go-get soon descended into paranoiac accusations of the ABC meddling in Coalition affairs, and eventually into outright bullying in his juvenile attempts to disguise the clear fact that the Coalition has not even attempted to cost what they are claiming they will do to ‘stop the boats’.

So it seems that Mr Morrison and his Coalition need not exercise any of the baby-kissing traits of conventional politics in the lead-up to this election.  They simply do not feel they need to be liked, and discernible, well-developed and articulated policies appear to be unnecessary also.

No one’s arguing that our current lot are doing very much for our best interests at present, but at least there is some compassion in the way they talk to and treat the electorate.  Not so Mr Morrison and his ilk.  I mourn the loss of humanity as a trait we value in our leaders.

Introducing the Coalition’s new media advisers.  Pic:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Black-balled and black-handed

It’s a sad reflection of what blogging has become at the hands of Twitter, Facecrock and the like, that my blatant plea for sympathy and help at having to spend hours alone and bored in Canberra was met with silence and/or disinterest; gone are the days when such a post would have triggered a volley of replies from the blogosphere suggesting a visit to the National Museum, Questacon, some cute little bakery someone once visited on a school history trip, or at least a shopping expedition for porn in Fyshwick.  But these days, it’s nothin’, zilch, nada, bugger-all.  Absolutely no one is interested in appeasing cries for help … well, almost no one.

As it happens, someone was logging-in from Chile, and feisty volcano, Puyehue-Cordon Caulle has sent a massive, elemental vote of confidence in DonkeyBlogDroll’s hot air by matching with an appropriate-sized belch of stinking, sulphuric gas and ash, which has been sent Canberra-way such that the Nation’s capital will be shut down from noon, effectively cancelling Donkey’s roadshow schnore-fest.  Thanks Puyehue-Cordon, I’ll certainly be adding you to my Followers list.

So now I’m back to the office, trying to hide my filthy hands from my colleagues.  We all know what it is that causes teenage boys to develop hairy palms, but what of inky, black ones?

Years ago, my Tibetan staff took pity on a shivering Donkey when he arrived at the office on his first frigid, Tibetan winter morning, a pale, shuddering, snivelling mess.  My hands were pale, rigid claws, and after a good, guttural Tibetan chuckle, they took me to the market to buy some big, fluffy, black gloves.  Being a monumental tight-arse, I have hung onto those gloves for years, painstakingly patching-up the many holes which have formed in the seems such that I doubt any of the original stitching remains.

But despite my best efforts to keep these babies alive, even I must admit that it may be time to ditch ‘em in favour of preserving what remains of my relationship with my colleagues.  It is a fact of life in a Lhasa winter that your body goes through a good five months without producing a single drop of perspiration, and as such, my gloves were fantastic.  Not so in Melbourne, where five minutes on the bike has these fluffy mitts filling with fluid, causing the cheap, Chinese dye to leak an inky, black mess into my supple Donkey paws.  It is a complete mystery to me how such dye can so easily ooze from the garment for which it was meant, and yet be absolutely immovable from your skin, despite harsh, chemically-assisted scrubbing.

As if my hairy palms weren’t off-putting enough for the unsuspecting, new office colleague who might chance by to offer a friendly hello and an introduction, add to this sinister, black stains, and it’s no surprise my desk has been moved to the broom cupboard under the stairs.

Black-balled again.  Pic:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mind-numbing national capital

The midweek, Melbourne – Canberra run must be the biggest money-making scam this country has going; at best you might be lucky enough to snaffle a 1-way fare for about three-fitty, but in the main, you're looking at a blow-out of six-fitty and up.  I guess it's supply and demand; and charging exorbitant travel tabs to tax-payer [over-]funded execs and pollies may well be the only way to keep a fabricated city with no industry or self-sustaining infrastructure afloat.

The result of this feat of award-winning town planning is that Donkey, visiting our national capital next week for a one-and-half hour meeting, is looking down the barrel of having to kill 3 hours until after five just to escape the day within a reasonable budget.  What the hell am I going to do, other than sit in bland cafes fitted-out with generic office partitions, drinking disgusting brews at twice the price?  God Save the Governor General, indeed!

The title of this pic is "Painfully bored woman in cafe" – welcome to Canberra.  Pic:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gen Y stinks

It's not as though anyone pretends to love catching the tram to work ... especially at this time of year.  I mean it's crowded, damp, cold; there's never a seat for you to park your weary butt after dragging it across city blocks in order to hook-up with the illogical tram routes, and people are generally rude and as grumpy as you.

As if all that's not bad enough, this morning I had to stand next to two young guys who I am pretty sure ... hang-on ... [sniff sniff] ... yeah, I'm sure they had both been rolling in poo.  I lifted my nose (now on auto-shutdown) over the top of my magazine, and dared to view the source of this funk, but on viewing these fragrant specimens, I could see no brown smears, nor any other visible sign of soiling on their outer garments.  But I could smell them ... perhaps not poo after all, but certainly a rather putrid mixture of cigarette smoke and the stale odour of unwashed bodies.

As I retched and searched around for a place to stand at the other end of the carriage, these two stinky youths started talking about a girl of their acquaintance, whom they supposed was "going to be there later", and who they were expecting would bring some of her friends, and, from their leering tone, these two were pretty certain they were going to see some action as a result


Now I've never pretended to be an attractive Donkey, but even back in the day, when I was even more pimply, whiney and awkward than I am now, I still went to a lot of trouble to make an effort, and one of the first things one learnt when one was trying to attract a mate, was that the reek of unwashed adolescent boy was almost certainly the first criteria on that massive list of rejectable pre-requisites that the Presentation Nuns used to instil in their young borders, right from Day 1 (I know what you're thinking, perhaps Donkey might have had a little more luck if he'd cast the net a bit wider than the local Catholic girls' school – but we'll deal with that another time).

But the point is, one made an effort ... if not to smell like the Celvin Klein counter at Myer, then at least not to reek like stale faecal matter.

Still, these young turds thought they were in with a chance, and from the sound of their conversation, they didn't appear to be complete strangers to the female flesh.  So was it the young Donkey who was wrong? – going by my track record, it's possible – or are young women these days into the stinky stuff?  Either way, Melbourne's unfortunate commuters ought not to have to eat the shit sandwich yet again, this time by being forcibly exposed to the offensive courting rituals of Gen Y.

"Yeah Dude, let's go get some action".  Pic :

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On the down-low

It’s that time of year again, and I am feeling low.  I know Melbourne winter is nothing like the perpetual darkness of, say, the London working week, nor as cold, but at this time of year, every year, I fall into the kind of funk that can’t even be overcome by the great working class escapes of beer and football.  It seems to have come early this year … I wish I could get outta here.

More coffee might help, but I am sure if I had a cardiologist, they’d be getting pretty worried about the extent to which I seek solace in that particular vice. 

More blogging might help a bit … if the fine writers out there hadn’t gotten completely over it all – why the nothing, people?  Does anyone know of anything good and reliable to read?

Urgh, I hate winter.

I hate the darkness, too.  Pic:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Man lovin'

As a final fling before Mrs D returns from her debauchery in Europe, I'm having the ironically-named Boarking over for a few beers and a night of oggling fit young men in tight shorts.

The last time I had a few lads over in Mrs D's absence I ended up getting plastered, chucking my guts up and then falling over in the bath room, cracking a couple of ribs and turning my left side a wonderful shade of puce (rather appropriately, given the title of this post).

So clearly I can't be trusted around alcohol and men when my main squeeze is away.  Who knows what'll happen tonight before half time? He is a good looking man, after all ... for an old bloke.

If only Warrick was on the tube as well ... oooooh pinch me!  Pic:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Now for today's puff news piece

I can always rely on China to haul me out of a writer's block.  Further to my recent remarks about the poor status of animal welfare at the Adelaide Zoo, this report in today's The Age is completely outrageous!

There is just so much wrong with this article that I dunno where to start; a zoo (being an institution supposedly in the business of protecting the lives of animals) breeding a tiger and a lion ... for what reason?  Or were they just locked-up in the same cage together? 

Then there's the mother abandoning the cubs (which under the circumstances is probably completely natural, even though the in-depth analysis from the reporter attributed this outcome to "unknown reasons"), resulting in two of them dying of weakness [presumably from malnutrition/starvation].  Sure, this sort of thing would happen in the wild, but isn't there supposed to be supervisory care of animals in zoos?  Surely the zoo staff would be tasked with paying extra special attention to newborn cubs?

And then there's the statement, "...zoo staff found a dog ... to feed the surviving cubs".  Ah geez.  Pretty lucky to have that dog hanging around – and she looks so impressed in the photo, too.  What sort of outfit is this?

There's so much more going on with this story than has been articulated in this three sentence grab.  I don't know who I am more angry with, a Government which treats its caged animals only slightly better than many of its citizens, or The Age, for spewing out this regurgitated, Chinese propoganda. 

And don't be blaming all this on on-line content killing the print media – I paid the full $1.70 for the print version, and that's where the story was!  Grrrr.

This poor girl's eyes are as dead as my faith in the international community to support both human and animal rights in China.  Pic:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cracking the Mousey Browns

So we're just sitting here watching the box the other night and out of the corner of my eye, I see a farking mouse!  Well, I'm hoping it's a mouse and not a rat ... but Fark!  A Farking mouse!

Now I don't wanna say I was born with a silver spoon up my arse, but I have managed to get through the first 36 years of my life without having had to deal with mice!  Sure, I've had possums, snakes, massive cockroaches and ridiculous, steal-your-baby-sized tropical spiders ... but never mice!

Makes me feel like I've failed 'cause my place is now so dirty that vermin wanna live here.  Gross man.  It's always the way; you finally give-in and get a cleaner every 2 weeks 'cause you don't have tome to live and clean, so instead of actually cleaning  a bit here and there every few days, you do absolutely nothing and let the place turn into a cesspit for 2 weeks until the cleaner comes, just so that you get your money's worth ... well, that's what we do, anyway.

So my first step in 'Operation Eliminate Jerry' was to ignore it all and hope it went away.  The next day, I find the end of an open banana gone.  Mr Belfast tells me that traps work, and that yes, they really do go for cheese, so against all my innate, animal rights sensibilities, I went and bought some traps and set 'em up with cheese.

The next day, the bastards had eaten through a plum, another banana-end and a tomato (which they carried half-way across the room in a parody of one of those old-school Disney, ants-at-the-picnic cartoons.  The cheese was untouched.

So I bite the bullet and decide that if they don't like cheese, but they eat bananas and tomatoes, I'll set the traps with that.  I also vacuumed the Begeezus out of the space behind the oven.  Since then, nothing on the traps has been touched, so I'm tipping they're either US Military-prototype Cyborg Mice with enhanced intelligence, or they've farked-off somewhere else.

Not sure which I'd prefer.  But I still feel dirty.

Cute, my arse!  This little, smug bastard was the nastiest piece of work going.  That big, fat, black lady in the stripey socks just couldn't ever see it.  Pic: