Friday, July 31, 2009

Dubai, T minus 30 minutes

Just a quick post-- in DXB now for a brief stopover on the way to IST.

Lots of Filipino workers here in the airport-- one was even kind enough to let me ride the airport trolley.

Singapore, T minus 2.5 hours

At the SQ lounge (officially the Silver Kris Lounge) in Changi Airport. It's official-- the CX lounge in HKIA is the BEST. The SQ lounge is not bad, for sure, but the CX lounge trumps it in two important ways. One, the CX lounge has hotel-like private bath/shower rooms, while the SQ lounge is more like an upscale gym shower room. Two, freshly made food is available at the CX lounge (in the Noodle Bar), while food in SQ is the buffet type.

That said, the food in the SQ lounge is very good-- very nice selection of Singaporean dishes plus the all-important steamed rice (most lounge fare are just finger food, hardly satisfying).

I have about two hours before my flight to IST-- a 13-hour flight with a brief stopover in DXB.

A few pics:

Changi Airport Duty Free Area-- the gate for my flight to IST is E28

Silver Kris Lounge

supper in Singapore
Til the next post.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Manila, T minus 1.5 hours

At the SQ lounge in NAIA now, waiting for my MNL-SIN flight. Eating some fish fingers and siopao while sipping tea. Had a dizzying cab ride to the airport and my rhinitis is very much annoying me right now. Plus I have a paper which I have to submit within the weekend, so I'll be working on the plane and into IST-- I'll probably have to spend my 10-hour layover in the TK airport lounge to finish the paper.

And it's only the beginning of what promises to be a stressful trip.


I miss you so much, Dear. Take care over here. Can't wait to see and hug you (both) again.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Manila, T minus 3 days

I'm going on a research trip this Friday, will be out for about two weeks. Here's my itinerary (in IATA airport code): MNL-SIN-DXB-IST-FRU/ALA-IST-SIN-MNL. The FRU-ALA leg will be by land. Might go around IST on my way to FRU, since I have a 10-hour stopover there. Might also have lunch with dr.sbdink in SIN on my way back to MNL.

It will be my third time in Kyrgyzstan and my first time in Kazakhstan, and in both countries we will be visiting different far-flung villages. Kyrgyzstan is officially my third most-travelled country after the Philippines and the United States. Need to brush up on "Говорите по-английски?", "Я не понимаю", and "Где туалет?".

I'll be spending my birthday on a plane. I'll be departing from ALA at 3am on my birthday, stop for two hours in IST, then fly to SIN where I'll land at 7am the next day. Since I'm travelling from West to East, about three hours will even be shaved off my birthday. Maybe they'll serve cake for dessert on SQ.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rest in Peace, Robert Strange

Robert Strange McNamara, US Secretary of Defence from 1961 to 1968, has died at the age of 93. He was best known for being at the centre of two of the 20th Century's most cruicial events-- the Vietnam War and the Cuban Missile Crisis. One was his worst failure, the other his greatest success, but in both instances he displayed unflinching and amoral rationality, where the only golden rule was the good of the country.

One of his greatest contributions was to put rigourous analysis into public policy and planning. A trained economist and statistician, one of his early jobs was to maximise damage while minimising losses during World War II bombing sorties, probably using linear programming that any economics student knows today. Although nothing was said about his readings of Nash or Harsanyi, his analysis and actions during his tenure as Defence Secretary exhibited game theoretic brilliance.

To end, I give you his Eleven Lessons:

1. Empathise with your enemy
2. Rationality will not save us
3. There's something beyond one's self
4. Maximise efficiency
5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war
6. Get the data
7. Belief and seeing are often both wrong
8. Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning
9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil
10. Never say never
11. You can't change human nature.