Wait till the plane stops or DIE


DON’T YOU JUST hate aircraft passengers who stand up and open the overhead luggage bins the moment the plane touches the ground?

If I was a pilot I would always taxi along the runway for a hundred meters and then slam my foot down on the accelerator so the plane does a wheelie.

(When I was a kid, I could do a wheelie on any type of bike, and a plane is just like a big winged tricycle, right?)

That would teach those misbehaving louts a lesson.


But their crimes are nothing compared to the antics of one Kamal Basha Ahmed, 23, an engineer.

As soon as his plane landed at Chennai airport in India last week, he whipped off his seatbelt, leapt from seat 28D and raced to get off.

He overpowered a flight attendant, opened the plane door and stepped out.

But the plane was still moving and the steps were not in place, theDeccan Herald reported.

He could have fallen to his death—but luckily the emergency chute inflated itself and he slid down to the ground level safely, the Times of India added.

Mr Ahmed clearly wanted to be first in the passport queue, but alas for him, airline officials exacted a terrifying revenge by having him locked up for days.

overhead bins

That’s another thing. People are always criticizing the authorities in China, North Korea, etc., for making up laws whenever they feel like.

These maligned officials can simply get jobs in airports, where they can make up instant laws to their hearts’ content, arresting people for opening doors, making jokes, walking funny, and so on.

Indeed, I’d be delighted if aviation people made opening the luggage bins while the plane is moving a death penalty offence.


THE MAN who invented the TV remote just passed away at the age of 96. I wonder if anyone tried taking his remote, putting new batteries in it, pointing it at him and holding down the red button for three seconds? Worth a try.



PUBLIC TOILETS in China’s capital can have “a maximum of two flies”, according to new rules, the Beijing Post reported last week.

If three or more flies are found, an unspecified punishment will be administered.

From past experience, I reckon the janitor will lose his karaoke club card for a month while the third fly will get the death penalty.

Or the other way round. In China you never can tell.


But how do the authorities expect to get information about the “strictly two flies only” policy out to the 14-gazillion-strong fly population of Beijing?

The only way I can think of is to equip each toilet with a little fly apartment containing two tiny chairs, two monogrammed mugs, two little sets of slippers, etc.


A SHARK NAMED Florence in a UK aquarium has turned vegetarian. Florence now avoids meat and eats only broccoli, lettuce and celery, the media reported last week.

Yeah, right.

I can just picture the scene. Trainer standing on the side, thinking: “Shall I get in?”

Florence, licking her lips, keeping her face straight, thinking: “Get in. GET IN.”

seaworld  trainer


ON THE FLIGHT back from a Singapore literary conference this week, I was delighted to see that a piece from this diary, featuring some of the lift-related comments from Lift Lurker, one of my frequent comment-writers, were featured in Reader’s Digest. Because of Liftie’s insistence on staying anonymous, he could only be referred to in this article as “a friend”.

readers digest

That’s the article, above, and here’s the full text:


Doors open. Enter lift. Push button. How hard can it be? Glad you asked, because it is never that simple…

WEEP FOR ME. I share a lift lobby with a group of primitive, uncivilized Neanderthals. (No offence to Neanderthals.) But here’s how they behave when they approach elevators.

1) On arrival at the lift lobby, they press the up button to tell the elevator where they want to go and the down button to tell the lift to come down and get them.

2) Every few seconds they repeat the process because they believe doing so will make the lift come faster.

3) Every extra member of their group who arrives in the foyer does the same because the lift will realize that a crowd is building up and get a move on.

When the lift arrives, new guidelines come into play.

1) Group A (the people waiting) must force their way in before Group B (the people inside) get out. Otherwise you can’t tell who are the winners and who are the losers.

2) The first person inside must use his body to cover the panel so no one else can press their buttons.

3) Lifts give people a two-minute pause from the rat race, so are a good location to ease one’s flatulence and enjoy a good belch. And everyone loves the smell of half-digested bile-flavored beer.

It’s not just my building, of course. The rules above are scrupulously followed in many cities in Asia and beyond.

But your humble narrator and a friend have recently been attempting to start a little revolution by adopting a more creative mode of behavior. Here’s how to play.

1) As each person enters the lift say, “Hi! Glad you could make it!” and shake his or her hand vigorously.

2) Hold the door open at ground level longer than necessary and respond to glares by telling people: “The lift is refueling.”

3) Then speak into the panel microphone. “This is Alpha Bravo Elevator one to Control. Ready for departure. Over.”

4) When it starts to move upwards, say: “Please turn off your electronic devices as they may interfere with the elevator navigation system.”

5) When someone presses a floor number, give them a strange look and say, “So. YOU’RE the one.” 6) If people are looking grim, suggest a group hug.

7) If someone tries to get in wearing a t-shirt, shorts or flip-flops, stop him, saying: “I’m sorry, the dress code is jacket and tie.” (This creates a more dramatic impression if you are wearing only your Speedos.)

8) Whenever a guy in a dark suit gets on board, sing the James Bond theme.

9) When any male and female enter, sing the wedding march. This works particularly well if they don’t know each other.

10) As the lift comes to a halt, say: “Doors to manual” to the wall panel and “Goodbye. I’ll never forget you” to the passengers.

My friend, who does not want his name in print, is an Asian who spends a lot of time working in Western communities.

He sometimes uses his Asianness to great comic effect in lifts. When entering, he asks: “Is this the men’s lift?”

When riding high-speed lifts with glass sides, he raises both hands roller coaster-style and says: “Wheeeee.”

Sometimes he takes off his shoes and asks other passengers: “May I share your elevator?”

Last time I was riding a lift-car with him, he decided to give a lecture to passengers on elevator etiquette: “When travelling in an elevator, the proper stance is to stand erect, with arms straight down touching the legs: your own legs,” he said, adding: “And always keeps your destination safe from prying eyes by covering one hand with the other hand when pressing your floor number.”

A passenger pointed out that people will see what floor you get out on anyway.

He shook his head. “I vary my journeys, getting out at a different floor every day.”

Do the above, and you’ll enjoy the same personal attention from the building management that my friend and I get.

You can take that as a warning.

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