Day 3 @ Sydney

Training on Project Management was light, exercise oriented and was fun. After the training, accompanied by my exec’s exec, boarded Hornsby line to Milson’s Point and took a evening stroll in Sydney Harbor Bridge. Weather was pleasant, breeze was super cool, time around 45 minutes past 7, summer days are longer and its was neither night nor evening, sky was in twilight zone and an excellent evening indeed. Lots of photo opportunities and my camera captured Sydney skylines and Opera House in its sublime grandeur. Our discussions during the walk, touched work life balance, the quandary we were in and finally the conclusion was “cultures were to blame”. Had pizza in local kebab shop, tasted delicious compared to Pizza Hut and hate hut’s taste. Wanderlust usurping me, I lusted for more sightseeing and decided to venture to new places to fill rest of the days.


Day 2 @ Sydney

Started the day fresh with a bit of yoga (sun salutation & inverted poses). Ventured out to harbourside and ordered salad sandwich and macchiato. The amount of coffee served was less compared to Wang’s in Singapore. Of course coffee content was different though. Weather was excellent, 19 deg Celsius, just cool, soothing and cloudy.

Veered off to nearby Maritime Museum and spent about 2 hours and took few pictures outside where different types of ships were docked permanently for viewing – submarine, frigate, Captain Cook’s ship replica (HMS Endeavour) and a couple of speed boats. Hovered on to Harbor Bridge, meant for pedestrians and monorail, crossed the small bay and moved to Sydney Wildlife Park –  a quickie collection of Australia’s indigenous animals in mini urban zoo environ – a classy attraction for the urban quickies. Hanged around for 2 hours and snapped all the animals to heart’s content. I purchased the 3-in-1 ticket for AUD 69 that covers Sydney Aquarium (which I covered on Mon evening), Sydney Wildlife Park and Sydney Tower.

Then walked along the Darwin harbor piers thinking if I could catch a cruise around harbor but Majistic Cruise lady told me the next sight seeing is only around 5pm. Walked to the end of the piers and hit Lime street and Hunter street to NSW Library. A nation is considered advanced and intellectual, based on the Library facilities and resources – and Sydney has excellent library facilities – no doubt about it after touring few levels and browsing the book collection. Went to level below ground and bumped on William Wordsworth’s brief biography with quotes from his poems. This once really stunned and attracted me about nature, on his own words here:
                                            I have
A presence that disturbs me with joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man
A motion and spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. therefore I’m still
A lover of meadows and the woods,
And mountains, And of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the might world
of eye and ear, both what they half-create
And what perceive; well pleased to recognize
In nature and the language of the sense
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart and soul
Of all my moral being

Took a look at NSW parliament. Since renovation work was going on, didn’t step in and moved to The Mint. Snapped a few shots and headed to Hyde Park to see Archibald fountain. Then headed straight to Sydney Towers and approached the ticket counter and bypassed them to go straight to lift deck. There was security check manned by folk from a nearby state and promptly asked for some good food suggestion. He mentioned Central Plaza basement has a good food court. As my hunger prangs sprung up, temporarily procrastinated it for a while and whizzed to viewing deck. Weather was cloudy and visibility was ok but not as good as in a clear sunny day. One great compliment is the telescopes with adjustable heights thrown free every few steps across entire circumference of the deck. Enjoyed Sydney’s spectacular views for 3 quarters of an hour and headed down to Central Plaza basement. Before that, walked a bit to locate a convenience store to buy drinking water, as drinks in food courts are expensive. Had a sumptuous and wholesome indie food with basmati rice. Heavy with lunch, looked at my watch and it was 10 min to 5 pm, tried to rush to Majistic Cruise, alas cruise already left. Mistook a couple of ferries plying to Paramatta as cruises and went near their piers to be taken aback and later settled down enjoying the cool breeze and planning my next foray into the streets.

Later decided to take a train ride to Sydney Harbor bridge and headed to Town Hall Station. Looking at the peak evening rush, decided to delay my train adventure until 7 pm and spotted Kinokuniya. Browsed Alan DeBotton’s Art of Travel, a nice book but expensive though for its amount of content. Later around 7:10pm, took the North Shore Line to Hornsby to North Sydney. On the way, train passed through the bridge and alighted at North Sydney and crossed platform and headed back and alighted at Wynyard Station. Wanted to find out a best Australian departmental store and sighted WoolsWorth. Browsed its shelves for good nougats for my family, project team and customer, but decided to get it few days later. Planned to try Lottery as well with a single ticket purchase and the odds – a staggering & unattainable 1 in 15 million to win jackpot. With a veggie patty sub & a frantelle spring water, ended my day.

On the sidelines of Sydney

Had the opportunity to fly A380 (the super jumbo for now) to Sydney from Singapore. Was pleasant to fly technically but as usual kids/babies on board nearby and the entire 8 hours was blessing in disguise. The wailings and incessant crying  of weaning babies – I’ve been through that, it’s really needs tremendous Zen like patience to handle them. Kudos to mothers. You’ve to be on Raffles or Business class to really compare the comfort and I was on the common man’s class and hence can tell the difference except for a bit of leg room and  bigger screen size. Entertainment system was state of the art, no doubt about it. But the input interface to select movies could have been more classier.
Landed weary without good sleep, headed for a shuttle to Star City Casino Hotel. To be candid, hotel location was great but the service was poor. No freebies or complimentary items, internet access costs you an arm and leg, $100 for a week’s access! Managed to get around the city – took metro, central station and green line to star city – single trip city sojourns are very expensive. Noticed the trains get a tad empty around 8 to 9 pm. Hanged around Paddy’s & Chinatown, visited Powerhouse Museum & Aquarium and plan to hit a full city tour today armed with my experience of half day wandering Sydney.

How to die gracefully – this eternal poem talks about it

Mine and yours should be reminiscent of the gentle slumber that the narrator falls into at the beginning of the famous 14th century poem Piers Plowman. In the immortal words of the poet William Langland:

But on a may morning on the Malvern hills…..
Being tired of wandering, I took a rest
Under a broad bank by a Bourne’s side,
And as I lay down, leaned over and looked into the water,
I fell into a sleep for it sounded so merry.

Perhaps your obituary should read as follows:
”At the ripe age of nearly a century he was enabled to look back through the years that had passed, and calmly awaiting the approach of death, feel that his life has not been wasted, but all his energies and his best years had been freely given for the benefit of mankind.”

This is what the New York Times obituary observed when Peter Mark Roget passed away giving us the immortal “Thesaurus” of English language. Ultimately, Roget’s – along with all decades of preparatory work – did much more for its creator than it has done for its hundreds of millions of users across the centuries; it enabled Roget to live a vibrant life in the face of overwhelming loss, anxiety and despair. This personal feat was an equally impressive achievement.

Customer Service – The Practical Points – Great collection of pointers

    Be fully present
    Value and learn from your mistakes.
    Empathize with your customers.
    Pick a role model with the qualities you want to develop.
    Meet unique customer needs.
    Establish trust.
    Answer repetitive questions graciously.

    See customers as people, not as problems.
    Make decisions that delight customers.
    Do what you love to do.
    Seek to know what your customers know.
    Act in alignment with your company’s brand.
    Do what you say you’re going to do.
    Think and act like a champion.

    Anticipate customer preferences.
    Give customers some control over their experience.
    Seek out emotional responses.
    Communicate a message of innovation and hospitality.
    Cater to customers’ lifestyles.
    Strive to exceed expectations.
    Deliver credible interactions.

    See the positive quality of a client’s negative behavior.
    Feel compassion while your customers vent their emotions.
    Get to know and care about your customers.
    Give your customers what they need.
    Put care into the details of your everyday actions.
    View challenging situations as opportunities to make the client relationship  …..even stronger.
    Honor the customs of your customers.

    Use long-term thinking.
    Develop win-win relationships.
    Think like an entrepreneur, regardless of your job description.
    Put your customers first.
    Be a creative problem solver.
    Treat customers the way they want to be treated.
    Ask useful questions.

    Offer low pressure and high pleasure.
    Focus on the benefits.
    Manage the customers’ expectations.
    Consider your customers’ perceptions.
    Do the right thing.
    Offer continuous points of contact.
    Maintain the relationship during and after the sale.

    Create an excellent first impression.
    Put the right people on the job.
    Respond positively to a variety of communication styles.
    Contribute to a happy work environment.
    Present a consistent artistic service performance.
    Evaluate results and make improvements.
    Make sure all customer interactions end on a happy note.

Customer Service
    Gain a competitive advantage by giving strong customer service.
    Use surveys to gain valuable information about what customers want.
    Respond to a customer’s complaints through personal contact.
    Be fair, even when you think the customer is wrong.
    Use a wide variety of feedback tools.
    Communicate your customer service philosophy with employees regularly.
    Give and receive ongoing training.

    Cultivate a culture of inclusivity.
    See every complaint as a gift.
    Educate and empower front-line staff.
    Implement customer service best practices continuously.
    Use service recovery tools.
    Appreciate employees for what they’re doing right.
    Be nice.

    Be honest.
    Take complete responsibility for a speedy recovery.
    Strengthen the relationship with every interaction.
    Use both your heart and your head.
    Take action when you discover a problem.
    Find joy in turning around negative customer interactions.
    Know when to say good-bye.

“Who’s Your Gladys?” Practical Points…..Official Link, reproduced here for my notes.

above in PDF document for download WYGPracticalPoints072309.pdf

Windows Live Tags: Customer,Service,Practical,Gladys

Seven Steps to Shipshape Shakespeare

source: Bardisims, thanks to Barry Edelstein, visionary Shakespeare SME


Know what you’re saying
Antithesis: The Juxtaposition of Opposites is everywhere in Shakespeare
The changing height of language: swings back and forth from highly poetical to very simple
Verbs: special heightening agents
Scansion and Meter: The time signature behind the lines
Phrasing the verse line: Cover the speech with a piece of paper and read it one line at a time
Monosyllables and Polysyllables: Note the words with only one syllable and the ones with a lot of them



There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyages of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves
or lose our ventures   
Julius Caesar

Like the ocean, human lives are governed by tides, and, as with a sea journey, if you set sail at high tide, the voyages goes well. But if you don’t. this and every voyage ends with you beached in shallow water, and miserable. It’s high tide right now, and we must either set sail this instant, when all the conditions are favorable, or lose everything.


The strong necessity of time commands
Our service for a while — Antony & Cleopatra

The fierce urgency of now demands that I get to work

To business that we love we rise bedtime,
And go to’t with delight  — Antony & Cleopatra

We get up early in order to do stuff we love, and we do it joyfully.



This kindness merits thanks   — The Taming of the Shrew

I can no other answer make but thanks,
And thanks, and ever thanks
     — The Twelfth Night

I will pay thy graces / Home both in word and deed   — The Tempest

Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks, but I thank you  — Hamlet

Many and hearty thankings to you both   — Measure for Measure


I desire you in friendship, and I will one way or the other make you amends  — The Merry Wives of Windsor



Though I look old, yet I am strong and lusty,
For in my youth I never did apply
Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood,
Nor did not with unbashful forehead woo
The means of weakness and debility.
Therefore my age is as lusty winter,
Frosty but kindly
  — As You Like it

I may look old, bit I’m still vigorous and full of beans. That’s because, when I was young, I made sure not to take anything that would inflame my passions and stir me up to no good. And I didn’t go crazily chasing after all sorts of things that would in the long run be bad for me. The result is that in my old age, I’m like a bracing winter’s day: cold but enjoyable



With news the time’s in labor, and throws forth
Each minute some.
   — Antony & Cleopatra


One woe doth tread upon another’s heel,
So fast they follow.

The bad news is coming on so fast and furious that each piece trips over the one in front of it.



                                          Heavens lend
A thousand differing ways to one sure end.
This world’s a city fulll of straying streets,
And death’s the market-place, where each one meets.   — The Two Noble Kinsmen

This is the state of man, Today he put forth
The tender leaves of hopes, tomorrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honors thick upon him;
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
And when he thinks, good easy man, full surely,
His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,
And then he falls
. — Henry VIII

Here’s how a person’s life runs. Today he cautiously indulges his hopes, those fragile things that are like the newest buds on a branch. Tomorrow he flourishes, and collects all sorts of splendid successes and tributes that he displays proudly. On third day it suddenly gets cold, deadly cold, and at the very moment when this trusting person is convinced that glory is upon him, that’s when he’s cut down and crashes to the ground.


His life was gentle, and the elements
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all world “This was a man”
  Julius Caesar

He lived a fine mannered life. the things of which human beings are made were balanced so perfectly in him that Mother Nature, maker of all men, could point to him and proclaim that he was the perfect example of humanity.


When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
  — Romeo and Juliet


God shall be my hope, / My stay, my guide and lantern to my feet  — Henry VI

Heaven is above all yet — there sits a judge
That no king can corrupt  — Henry VIII