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Fasten your seat belt

This is the transcript of the speech that I delivered at the Area Z3 Humorous Speech contest held yesterday at Katong CC.

“Passengers travelling on flight  TR2652 to Bangalore please proceed to boarding gate 42”.

I had overslept and just made it to the airport in time.  I checked in my baggage and proceeded to the immigration counter.  I handed over my passport.  The immigration officer looked at my passport and gave me a long hard look….”You have a moustache here”.. “Um – I shaved it off”.  He then looked at me like I was a convict.  He  gave me a dressing down from head to toe before he let me go.

When I  reached the boarding gate I hear the announcement.  All first class and priority passengers can board the aircraft.  Then its the turn of passengers with children.  And finally it’s the turn of the   cattle class to board the plane.

When I finally enter the plane, the first class passengers are already seated.  They have already got their laptops and tablets ready.  And they look at you with a scorn – as If to say “Yeah, Im making money even now”.  You losers why have you entered our domain. 

Contest Chair, Judges and fellow toastmasters –

In the earlydays , air travel was a luxury. Male passengers wore suits and ladies wore dresses . Passengers were treated like royalty and waited on hand-and-foot by stewardesses who looked like Angelina Jolie or Sharon Stone.

Today, air fares have become  so cheap  that on some airlines you may be greeted by uncles and aunties.

Air travel has its quirks and has always been a conundrum for me.

When you enter the economy class.  you find a tall, huge man is trying to fit this big, bulky bag into the overhead compartment.  He is oblivious to the queue of people forming up to enter. Finally he realises that the bag cannot make it after all and the air hostess helps him out.

When I am travelling alone, I always like to select the window seat or the seat near the aisle.  This is because in the middle seat you are awkwardly sandwiched between 2 complete strangers.  On my recent flight I was delighted to get the window seat.  Then this big fat man comes in and occupies the middle seat.  He extends  himself to both sides like an  octopus.. I was left with no choice but to look out of the window.

Once the flight took off, the man in front of me reclines his seat all the way until it falls into my lap. So there I was trapped in my seat with no escape route.

I am anxious during take-off and landing.  Because my wife grabs hold of me all of a sudden. She is afraid of heights.  And I am afraid of her.

Then this gorgeous lady comes in wearing a yellow jacket .. and proceeds to give the safety announcement.  She is so fast that you cant catch any pause fillers.   But no one pays any attention.  “Fasten your seat belit like this. She then proceeds to do the Macarena There are 2 exits in the front, 2 behind and 2 at the sides.  In the event of a sudden drop in cabin pressure oxygen  masks will drop from overhead..  Please put on your mask like this.  If you are travelling with children first put your mask and then attend to your child.  In the unlikely event of having to land on water,  put on the life jacket,  blow into the jacket like this,  and blow the whistle like this.”

And then you can see that another air stewardess  looks at you from behind the curtain that demarcates the boundary of first class and economy.. and then she gives you a look…(as if to say…work harder and if you are lucky you can sit here one day)

Then it’s the turn of the pilot to make his presence felt.  So he comes on air – “Welcome aboard Tiger Airways. This is your captain Derek Marshall speaking,.  Today you are being served by our two charming ladies Vera Wee and Celine Goh. We are currently cruising at 37000ft above sea level and our current speed is 400 miles/hour .   On your left you can see the Riau archipelago and on your right you can see Legoland. At this rate we should reach our destination ahead of schedule”

Once the plane lands, the people scamper and  rush to open the overhead compartments, handphones go ring ring, and people are scrambling for the exit as if there is a bomb on the plane. Even school children are better behaved when the bell rings for end of school.

We have new experiences that amaze us from time to time and we have to be grateful to the pilot and the crew in making each of our flights a safe and pleasant journey!”

Traveling not only teaches us the value of life, but also exposes us to the sights , sounds , and stories of near and far-off places. It compels us to think about everything that is right and wrong with this world

In the words of Gustave Flaubert –

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

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