Cathay City

I met with Group Medical Department and the management this morning, who have been caring and concerned about my condition and future. Grateful. Won’t be long I’d officially retire. Full of memories in Cathay City, let alone those in the air. Sad ending – so long. The last time was eighteen months ago with my uniform and luggage, but this time with my walking stick and tote bag.

Boeing Factory, Seattle, 2019 May

After the meeting, I realised that it had changed a lot. It has been renovated to create a warm and modern vibe at every corner. A young and well-groomed gentleman in his perfect-fit suit greeted me with an approachable smile and asked if he could be of any help to me. He offered to sit down on a comfortable sofa which I did — feeling physically and emotionally drained after meeting with Group Medical, knowing that I would leave Cathay for good. My Cabin Crew Line Manager saw me, and we chatted in a private room. He asked whether I knew that young man I talked to just now. “I have no idea, but it’s very kind of him to offer help,” I replied. “He’s your new big boss,” he said. I felt dumbfounded as I haven’t been following closely of what has been happening at work since I fell sick.

Looking back, I had thousands of pre-flight briefings and safety training at Cathay City. Still, the most memorable experience was my Senior Purser promotion training, which was extraordinary tough and challenging. I shredded tears when I finally passed. Apart from practical knowledge and skills, safety or service related, we had to pass numerous demanding scenario tests through which the management would judge how well we reacted and managed the situations when everything went wrong at the same time inflight – engine on fire, passenger having a heart attack and crew injuries all happening at the same time, for instance. They would make it extremely difficult to the extent that you would break down. That’s the crucial moment that they wanted to see how we reacted. If you gave in – you failed. Some might think it’s so unnecessary as we are just serving passengers meals onboard, but in reality, things go wrong all the time. I remember once I had to do CPR on a passenger with a suspected heart attack and, at the same time, had to make sure my service in First Class was still running smoothly, let alone keeping Captain and Medical Officer on the satellite phone well-informed of the situation. And there were numerous occasions that I had to follow the instructions of the Medical Officer on the phone to dispense and administer medicines from the Inflight Doctors’ kit, considering that we are not officially trained to do that like a registered nurse, but that’s part of our jobs in reality. Apart from medical emergencies, there would be some problematic passengers on board now and then, causing disturbance to the crew and passengers or threats to the safety of the flight. Many wouldn’t know that we are all trained for self-defence and how to restraint and handcuff a troublemaker, although that would be our last resort. There were many memorable happy moments too inflight, with the passengers or between the crew. I wrote so many birthday cards and sang, ” Happy Birthday” many times with champagne and cakes. I normally would be at the second door on the left during disembarkation. Every smile and thank you from passengers mean a lot to me. I value passengers’ feedback, better if they were willing to let me know upfront so I’d do something about it, or at least write a report about it. I will be leaving, disabled, but I believe Cathay will thrive again very soon despite the pandemic. It’s a sad ending on my departure, but I have twenty-seven years of memories to take with me, and I’d have a lot of stories to tell my friends at care home.

Published by Des Syun

Physically challenged with relentless chronic pain, but it doesn't define me.

%d bloggers like this: