Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Kudos to An-Nahdhah Mosque's Management

I was attending a friend's wedding event at An-Nahdhah Mosque, Bishan on Sunday, 11 October 2009 and when I went back, I inadvertently and carelessly left my bag, containing my HP Mini netbook, at the basement carpark, before I went into my car. It seems that I might have left the bag when I needed to put on my shoes, and I only realised it after I reached my home at Bukit Batok.

I immediately called the mosque's management after getting the number from SingTel's directory service (100). While driving back from Bukit Batok to Bishan (which seemed like forever), I had Mr. Jamal on the other line, who patiently listened to my panic voice explaining that I had left my bag in the basement carpark. I even wrongly informed him that it was a blue bag, while it is actually a purple backpack. Mr. Jamal said he would check and advised me to call him back in 15 minutes.

Fifteen minutes later, I was already exiting PIE onto Lornie Road when I tried to call the mosque again, and was nervous when nobody picked up the call. I kept on calling using my handsfree but unable to reach anyone in the mosque, until I reached the mosque itself and went into the basement carpark. I was even more nervous when I couldn't find the bag at the place where I might have left it, and immediately took the lift upstairs to the first floor to go to the management office.

I met the mosque's staff at the office (I'm not too sure whether he's Mr. Jamal or another staff) and, alhamdulillah, thank God, the bag was there and he gave it to me. He mentioned that upon receiving my call, he immediately went to the basement carpark and found the bag near the carpark's lobby entrance. There were some other people around when he found the bag so he asked them whether the bag belongs to them, and they said no, so he brought the bag to the management office and kept it there. Thank God!

I also met some of my friends from the wedding event there, and shared my experience with them. Because of that, I didn't manage to thank the mosque staff properly. Thank you, Mr. Jamal and An-Nahdhah mosque's staff, for helping me to locate and keep the bag for me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pangandaran is Getting Closer

This article is originally posted on ABN's Asia Travel Blog here.

Pangandaran is a famous tourist attraction, located at the south-east end of West Java province, Indonesia. Its beaches are reputably the best and finest in Java island, and also offer excellent surfing. Other than its fine beaches, Pangandaran also offer a beautiful national park and its own version of green canyon.

However, its location at the southern regency of Ciamis in West Java makes Pangandaran not really appealing to Jakarta and Bandung tourists, let alone foreign tourists. By road, it takes around 5-6 hours to reach Pangandaran from Bandung, the capital city of West Java province, and it takes around 7-8 hours to reach Pangandaran from Jakarta, capital city of Indonesia, by road.

Fortunately, there is now a faster alternative to reach Pangandaran, which is via air. Susi Air, an airline previously specialised in chartered services, has started scheduled services from Jakarta and Bandung to Pangandaran. This will cut down the travel time between Jakarta and Pangandaran to only one hour. It will operate a Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft with a capacity of 12 passengers to service the Jakarta-Pangandaran route twice a day, one direct flight and another one with a stopover in Bandung.

The flight from Jakarta will depart from Halim Perdanakusuma airport, located east of the city and closer to the city centre compared to Soekarno-Hatta International airport.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Indonesia AirAsia’s Change of Flight Timing

On Friday (16/10) morning, I received both SMS and e-mail from AirAsia, to inform me that my and my family’s upcoming Indonesia AirAsia’s QZ 7785 flights (same flight on different dates) from Singapore to Jakarta on December 2009 are being rescheduled from 12:40pm to 5:45pm. There seems to be a re-timing exercise affecting this specific flight number and all QZ 7785 flights after 25 October 2009 are affected.

I immediately logged in to AirAsia’s website and tried to change my itinerary to an earlier flight for the day using its “Manage my Booking” function, however I would have to pay S$40 “change fee”. Luckily, there were some other Indonesians in Singapore who had also purchased tickets for some future QZ 7785 flights and were affected by the same problem, and they were kindly enough to share their experience in Indo-Sing mailing list. They mentioned that if we call their call centre to request for a change to an earlier flight due to this re-timing, they will process it without charging the $40 change fee.

That’s good news! The only problem is that it was very difficult to call AirAsia’s call centre number in Singapore on that day. I tried calling the number (630 77688) since 10:30am in the morning and I kept on getting busy tones. I eventually managed to get in touch with them at around 3pm in the afternoon, and I immediately lodged my complaint about the change of schedule and requested for a change to an earlier flight, free of charge. He requested for the booking codes and I gave him.

The call centre staff then gave me a Service Request Number (SRN) and was transferred to their support staff. They put me on hold for quite some time (I think close to 5 minutes) before a support staff then took my call and request for the SRN. After I gave him the SRN, he then processed the flight change (for both myself and my family, who are on the same flight but different date) and informed me that I will receive an e-mail containing the new itinerary within 15 minutes. Yay! :)

Less than 5 minutes, I received the email with the new itineraries, and immediately print them. Just to make sure, I went back into the “Manage my Booking” function on AirAsia’s website to check the booking, and it’s confirmed that the flight has been changed to an earlier flight (10:30am) for the day, for both booking. I am a very happy AirAsia customer now.

Thank you, AirAsia. :)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Padi - Live in Singapore!

Green Media, a Singapore-based concerts and event management company, is bringing Padi, an Indonesian rock band, for a one-day only live concert here in Singapore. The concert is scheduled to be on Sunday, 1 November 2009 at 3pm, located at Dragonfly, a live music room within St James Power Station, Singapore’s first coal-fired power station built in 1927, which has since been converted into one of the Singapore’s leading music and nightlife venues located just next to VivoCity, in Harbourfront area.

According to Green Media, they currently have a special project which aims to bring together the various groups of Indonesian community already existing in Singapore and to help them co-exist with the Singapore community. PADI Live in Singapore! is a first in a series of events and concerts to be organised by Green Media which promotes peaceful social integration of the Indonesian community to that of the local Chinese or Malay community. The Indonesian and local friends' base that we have consists of the Indonesian Chinese, Malays and Eurasian from various religious backgrounds but with one main objective and love - the love for Indonesian music.

While their efforts are indeed to be appreciated, I was quite shocked to see the ticket price for the event. The standard ticket price is S$157 if purchased online, and S$175 if purchased at the door. The price includes of $2 booking fees and one drink coupon redeemable for soft drinks and juices only, but excludes $1 mailing/collection at venue charges. The ticket price is just too high, in my opinion. According to Andre, it’s even higher than the ticket price for The Police’s concert here in Singapore last year.