Time flies… When I make the booking of AA’s tickets to India, it was 1 year ago.
So far, I did prepare the itinerary for every trip to overseas, but this round is slightly different, I was only in-charge of train and hotel booking due to extremely heavy workload and damn tight schedules. Sightseeing part, I have asked my best buddy cum traveler to prepare.
Our first day of arrival was not an easy task for us. We have been through the darkness and fear, first time felt so helpless and afraid of being a traveler in other country. We both almost got robbed and may get killed by a group of scam. But we were lucky that we are smart and alert enough to know it inside-out and able to stand until the next morning until we left the ugly yet terrified place.
We both were so excited as we flew to a place that I called it as “As heaven, as hell” – India. We booked our air ticket one year ago, together with the luggage and air fare + taxes, each person only have to RM247.00.
When we touched down New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport, the airport obviously is new and built because of recent Commenwealth Games, it is as nice as heaven. The capacity, interior, creativity, I would say it is as good as heaven, seemed like 2-3 times bigger than our KLIA. However, once you stepped out from the air-conditioned airport, immediately you feel the heat of 35°C at the time of 9:00pm. That’s when I call it as HELL.
Without wasting more time, we seek for information from the authority on how to get to old Delhi railway station. We were told by folks that taking public bus would be the easiest way, fare is INR100 per person.
Once we alight from the bus, I don’t really feel comfortable with that area. It is not only dark but a lot of MEN walking around. In India, hardly or zero possibility you will be seeing a woman walking down the street. That’s when we were approached by a guy with neat and tidy formal dressing, claiming to be a staff in GPO (General Post Office), proactively asking us if we need any information or help. As the bus was stopped in the middle of the street, we do not know where is the old Delhi railway station, so the only choice is to ask him for direction.
To our surprise, he told us that the station is now closed due to the safety as it is an area with full of Muslims, certainly we are not allowed to enter unless we have got a valid boarding pass. Of course I have my train tickets ready but still we were too naïve and trust everything he said, he then proposed why not we car pool by a tuk-tuk with him on cost-sharing basis, INR10 per person as he would like to go home. But before that he will guide us to the “Tourist Information Centre” together with us, to assist us to get the boarding pass.
The office clearly stated DTTDC, which stand for Delhi Tourism & Transportation Development Corporation, but I think they misused the logo, so that those who came to their office would BELIEVE them. Other than us, there are 5 Koreans are in the office. We were assisted by a guy named George who can speak fluent English. After he saw our train ticket, he mentioned that many travelers are facing the same problems, pointing at numerous photocopies of passport on the notice board, implying that we should have aware of such occasion. He even said that my train ticket is not valid, as I should have booked the ticket under “Tourist Quota” instead of “General Quota”. I started to doubt them, questioning on the validity and even “Tatkal” which is created for last minute foreign tourist. He even make a call to the railway station authority IRCTC and request the agent to speak to me, the agent even requested me to login to the website and cancel ALL my tickets as soonest possible, so that I can still save some money.
I started to feel very very weird, then that George shows up his true colors. To show that he is in bona fide and very kind in helping us, he offering us a BUDGET package that cost INR21,500 (According to my buddy, it is the price for 2), and that’s about RM1550.00!! While I was discussing with my buddy on such scam, George suddenly interested in my watch (holy sh*t, I forgot to take it off!), asking me how much does it cost. I told him it is only imitation and cost only RM10, you can simply get it anywhere in KL, and I was shocked when he said I give you RM10 and you give me your watch!! That moment, I seriously almost had gone crazy! After we rejected his offer, his manner was totally changed, ordered us to discuss anywhere else as he got other travelers in house (That 5 Koreans basically was already served by another idiot).
We then told the neat and tidy formal guy about what happened and insist to go back to old railway station but was few times denied by him, I got lil mad and had raised up my voice, told him it is my responsibility to look after myself, not him then only he asked the tuk-tuk driver to give us a lift. He even told us only pay the driver IDR20.00 for one way but that driver insist to run on meter which started at IDR19.00.
When we are not far from the old railway station, the driver took the right turn into an alley that has no cars but only few people walking towards it. Suddenly another neat and tidy formal dressing folk stopped the driver from going further, telling us with fluent English that it is not safe to go there now as it is Muslims district, the station is closed for safety purposes and insist the driver to turn back! I got very very fed up and request driver send us to New Delhi Railway Station instead.
Driver at first kind of refusing our request, but eventually he did. We thought that we are now safe but when we trying to enter the screening of security, a guy stopped us and insist to check on ticket. Without hesitation again, I show him my ticket as I thought he is one of the authorities. He pointed out that I have came to the wrong station and requesting me to go to the “Tourist Information Centre” to get boarding pass, exactly the same as what we experienced earlier, I feel that they are a group of syndicate, they are everywhere, they are connected!
As not to let them cheat, we REFUSED his offer and insist we will enquire at International Tourist Bureau. He then show us the way to the office, which is located on the first floor of the railway station. Once we reached downstairs, he requested us to walk up to first floor, but we know that this isn’t right and something is VERY WRONG. The notice board at downstairs clearly stated the office is only open from 8:00am to 8:00pm and he doesn’t even wanna lead us to first floor. Half way we walked up the stairs, I told my buddy, “if we walk up, I’m sure we will get robbed and maybe murdered.” He nodded his head to show his agreement. We quickly turn back and try to escape, then another guy appeared and trying to stop us, ordered us to go to the office at upstairs… Why would a stranger know where you are going? Obviously they are TOGETHER !!
We both were so tired, exhausted, dehydrated, fear and helpless. We went to one of the platforms at the railway station and spent our night there. We waited from 12:43am to 8:00am, with sticky yet smelly body, sitting on the bench in the awful environment, where you can’t breathe well due to the smell of urine and stools; dare not to fall asleep especially when there are strange eyes staring at you like an alien. It get worse around 5am, where the station started to get crowded, black crowds on the opposite platforms were staring at 2 fair aliens that glow within them.
During that long night, I was so afraid and worry. My mind keeps thinking of many things, my family, my friends, my staffs, my works (SHOULDN’T BE LOR!!) and someone that I really care and love. That moment, I only think of going back to the love one, nothing else.
After this incident, I find out few things that very useful and great for those who intended to backpack to India.
Ignore those who proactively approach you
Never trust the one who being bona fide and actively approach you
Never trust the one who can speak very fluent English and actively approach you
Never trust the one who trying to impersonating as a official authority. Only those dressed with uniform has the rights to order or check from you
Beware when your driver is talking over the mobile phone while you are on-board. They might be calling someone to inform them your arrival
Only go for PREPAID TAXI, owned by Indian Police. It was established to abolish touts from cheating tourist
Firm up your decision, trust your instinct (though may go wrong), but only trust yourself when you are in a country that is totally strange to you. If you think it is right, it will be right, better than being fooled by someone else
After 48 hours, I'm still learning about life in cyberspace. My sincere thanks to all who have commented, though I wish some can be more polite and positive, but anyway, I respect your right of opinion and expression. Now on the way to meeting the International President of JCI (Jaycees or Junior Chambers)
Sharing my past experiences with World's Best. Since everyone know how BEST they are, I've got a chance to experience the BEST within their organisation.
Not something fresh, it has always been news about passengers are complaining by lodging police report, filed for tribunal, or even getting help from ADUN or authority, as to get back their own compensation.
For the past 2 weeks, I’ve seen such cases again in TV and newspapers, claiming that the so called World’s Best has charged them not double, but 10 times higher than the prices; accusing passengers for not paying for the tickets; delay (no further notification after the last complaint) in refunds and etc.
I’ve encountered some minor issues with the World’s Best, not to that extend to file-in to tribunal, but to the extreme, I did lodge a complaint to the Public Complaint Bureau due to unreasonable administration fee incurred in the refund of tax only valid for international route, domestic route is not applicable, which is a DAYLIGHT ROBBERY. (According to the official statement issued by Ministry of Transport in Year 2005, airline operators should have refunded tax to “no-show” passengers.)
However, I am now very disappointed by the so-called World’s Best, as I find that they do not know what respect is. In my life, other than irresponsible yet rude recruitment firm called Agensi Pekerjaan Bright Prospect Sdn Bhd, I never felt so bad until I met S.Teh from World’s Best.
When I reach the office, I was greeted by Ms. Mak, a pretty yet friendly lady, at least she is showing the courtesy of welcoming you. But I was shocked when she was asking if I did bring along my resume as she had lost it. I was thinking, you can easily trace it from the email inbox, or you may have deleted the email as well?
All these while, though I sent out my resume, regardless if it's hardcopy or via email, I will get ready another copy, just in case employer did not print out or normally expecting you to submit your own copy. I was again shocked when she knew that I brought my own resume and said "good, coz my manager has not seen your resume". The question is if your manager hasn’t gone through my resume, then why are you calling me up for an interview? You already can't let me know what the current openings are, and now you are telling me your manager has not read my resume?
During our discussion, our point towards branding is different. Branding is the first impression that people perceived. Normally it is about identity and image. You can position your own branding but eventually it will still depending on public’s perception. From there, you know how many miles you need to go from there. Example, how many know that Toyota Malaysia is wholly owned by UMW Group? Without the sign “UMW Toyota Motors” printed on plate number of Toyota vehicles? Without the recent massive advertising in enhancing the UMW’s corporate image and position the branding, how many know that UMW is a conglomerate and their core business in fact is oil and gas?
Obviously she is telling me what is her doing but I strongly find that she should not deny my answer. Just like US English and UK English, you are practicing UK English, I am US English, when I define low cost residential buildings as apartment, you can't say that I am wrong, it should be define as flat. If you check the dictionary or if you are lazy, google it, both are sharing same definition, it is only the geographical and cultural differences. In this case, he is asking my perception, I am telling what I perceived the company as a brand, but she said I make a mistake. If that so, it will be your responsibility as you failed to create a brand that you want in others.
I have been dealing in marketing for so long and branding started in recent years, no one has doubted my capability in this area. I am certainly very upset when she said "you don't know branding". She needs to understand 2 situations, she is asking my point of view towards branding of World’s Best; second, she is telling me the brand they have positioned or wanted the World’s Best to be. It is alright if she is correcting me but saying I do not know branding is not only an insult but doubted my profession and previous experiences as a marketer and branding manager.
I would suggest other than getting to know the things related to your specialisation and job scope, trying to read and understand the people born in 80s and 90s, and reports or analysis that related to human behaviors, generally from newspaper. I do not deny her passion and seriousness in her duty, however, in order to manage a team well, you need to know all kinds of people you are dealing with, the world is changing, so do you.
My experiences don’t seem to be impressive, however young or not young, it's not something you can determined, even a 50 years old man could be young in his heart, just like her boss. You don't judge a book by its cover, in other words, you don't define or judge people based on the look and age. I admit my resume may shown that I wasn't in the position for, however, it is also proven that I am capable and has whatever it takes to climb up the stairs from the bottom, I was given a chance to explore and develop myself.
Moreover, if you are getting such a great offer and headhunted by someone, don't you feel that you are indeed valuable and useful to the employer? Don't you look for better prospect and at the same time expand your knowledge, vision and career advancement? They are many successful professionals has worked for numbers of MNCs and handled different tasks. When you know you had reached the climax in your jobs, the challenges will become a routine, once you are tired or bored, you will slightly demotivated. By the time, you will think of changing to a better environment and to be appreciated by other high profile organisations.
Do not tell me when you get headhunted by someone with better offers, you wouldn't want to consider the opportunity. Even their Head of Ancillary would resign and joined Carat Group as a Director. What has this proven? Who can guarantee that their Head of Commercial and CEO or mobile network provider would not want leave one day?
I am certainly upset when she only looks at the duration of services instead of my positions and job scope. She is again and again showing her attorney and disagreement. An interviewer should be humble and approachable by candidate. I find a Berlin Wall is right in front of me. I would like to ask “Have you carefully and properly read every single word that printed on the A4 papers that I presented to you. If you are not ready, why are you wasting our time and resources to meet up?”
In the event so happen that she read my blog, and she felt being insulted, she should be and feel sorry. I am just being bona fide by sharing my experience, so that those who so happen to bump into her for an interview may be well prepared for being disrespect.
Yes, you are not here to teach but you can't stop me to learn. Learning doesn't mean one must teach then only you can learn, learn is how you adapting yourself into new and diverse environment, how can you cope with it. Even if you hired a very experienced professional, once he is place on the floor, he will need to learn every single thing surrounding him especially people, culture and style.