Monthly Archives: September 2011

feel good

You don’t really wish anyone; even your enemy to see the sight of a hospital, especially with someone dear in critical health, unless of course you consider present government regime as your enemy in which case all is fair. I have had the unfortunate pleasure of staying in hospitals across
Pakistan usually as an attendant and extremely rarely as a patient. As much as there are various differences, number of familiarities are remarkable, especially in their staff’s behavior pattern.

I have just returned from a ‘night duty’ as an attendant and it beats me every time, how a group of new shift staff barge into the room, wake up patient from the sleep to say, “As Salaam Wa Alaikum, we are the new staff on shift, if you need anything just ring that bell.” As much as I appreciate
good service, I also detest lack of common sense. Hello? You just woke up a patient to say ‘ring that bell if you need something’?  He knows precisely why that bell is there for. Usually this conversation is followed by yours truly giving the group leader his version of ‘you shouldn’t have done that’ outside the room which results in silent treatment from staff when you actually call them through that bell next time.

What usually happens however is after 8 hours a new shift of staff barges in smiling to say, you know what they say. Then there is this endless stream of nurses and duty doctors who wake up patients to ask ‘Hello, how are you feeling?’ Lot better when I was sleeping, is patient’s guess.

If that’s not enough, there is always that cleaning staff who waits just enough for the patient to sleep again so he/she can do his/her share of spoils.

This in my experience happens in all hospitals at least in Karachi. Be it the evergreen AKUH, the president blessed Ziauddin Hospital or the new ‘burger’, ‘trendy’, ‘in’ thing South City Hospital, located in the posh South of the City I live in.

There is a slick café located in South City Hospital named ‘The Courtyard’. It would give Karachi’s fine dining restaurants a run for their money not for the food, but the money it charges. They have their own set of senseless rules. You can’t order a 70 rupees cup of tea (yes, 70 rupees for a cup of tea) unless you order at least a starter (minimum price 360 rupees). So when I ordered some ‘wonton’ to basically have a cup of tea, I was presented gravy dish called ‘Kung Pao Chicken’. The name sounds like a Punjabi dude trying Kung fu, but that’s not the point here. When I confronted the waiter (who at least had a good sense of humor) about choice of dish, he insisted that this is what I ordered. I replied that my order does not even sounds similar to this gravy dish and did he not wonder why I am ordering gravy with a cup of tea? He replied, he actually did wonder why am I ordering but he can’t judge my sense of taste and choice,cheeky bastard.

To be fair to them, I did get my wonton, and the food is alright.

A friend was recently posting a lot about a certain ‘hot nurse’ while he was attending his father in hospital. It surprised me a lot because somehow this creature has eluded me. No matter what reason we go to hospital for, somewhere deep inside, we are always looking for a ‘hot nurse’. You know the sort we see in porn but never see in the real hospital? Not even something close. The only ‘hot nurse’ I have come across is the ‘hot headed’ nurse. Unlike the non-existent ‘hot nurse’, she is found abundantly in all hospitals. She is pissed off like hell, always complaining either about a fellow colleague, the hospital management, salary, work load, visitors, and other patients. When she gives you an injection, boy you know you have got it. This is all the pleasure you are going to get from her.

Another night duty beckons, so have to take some sleep.

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social enough?

I was casually going through Facebook pages of Middle Eastern Airlines and to be honest my first reaction was rather skeptical. While it is not for me to advocate importance of social media in the region, Arab Spring has already shown its strength, it seems Middle Eastern carriers are just about warming up to it, or some are there just for the sake of being there.

First of all it is actually difficult to figure out if majority of these pages are really officially maintained or set up by employees and fans on volunteer basis. But those which are officially maintained look world apart.

Out of 15 Airline pages I went through on Facebook, only five have flight booking option i.e. Royal Jordanian, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Gulf Air and Bahrain Air.

With more than 180,000 followers, Qatar Airways page looks not only a professional effort but a proficient one as well.  With options like flight booking, twitter link, virtual tour and various consumer contests, it is indeed an active proposition.

Surprising it may seem however; best managed page in my view is that of Royal Jordanian. They seem most serious about social business. 80,000 plus fans might not sound too grand but considering Royal Jordanian’s standing in the region and local market, it is surely no mean feat. More so, list of followers is way more than global giants Emirates (50,000 plus likes)
and Etihad Airways (40,000 plus likes) which again speaks a lot.

Big Players should really work towards integrating social media into their websites. Emirates has a rather dormant page on Facebook, acting only as an info page, surprising for an airline which takes pride in number of industry firsts. Etihad Airways and Gulf Air, both despite having a flight booking option don’t have interactive pages.

No-frills carrier Air Arabia is more active in terms of using their page on Customer Service front, but at the moment has a modest 6500 plus followers list.

While Facebook is only one platform in the sphere of social media, above mentioned stats do not mean that Middle Eastern carriers are on a digital disconnect. All major players have official Twitter and You Tube presence. However, effectiveness of their presence would be an interesting
topic for another discussion.