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Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Mile Hi Club

For a long while, I never dared to admit my childhood ambition was to be an air stewardess. That’s because there is so much judgement going on about that choice of career! People with upturned noses say that’s no more than being a high-class waitress, my father asks if I really want to clean up vomit and shit. Yet heads turn when the air stewardess walk by, usually green with envy or flushed with lust. I wonder who started the stereotype that air stewardesses are hot. Was it SIA who created the stereotype with the Singapore Girl? I know I don’t just turn at the SQ girl, I turn at ANY stewardess. Just to check if they live up to the reputation of being gorgeous. More often than not, I am sorely disappointed.

Still, I wanted to be one. For the money (averages about $4000), for the love of travel, for the love of meeting people and for the love of smiling. I wanted so badly to wear the kebaya with pride. I went for the interview at 19, I passed the self introduction conducted in a hotel in the city with ease. Then I was asked to go to their HQ in Changi (the bus ride was so long, my bum hurt) and went right into the swimming costume parade and swimming test. We had to jump from a staged plane, into the Olympic sized pool (with life jacket) and float/kick to shore. You don’t need to be a champion at swimming, really. I was green and unprepared; the other girls knew to use waterproof make-up and brought make-up to touch up after showers. Although I passed the body test (where the female instructors visually scrutinize your every inch) and swimming test, I failed the Kebaya test where there I was, standing bare faced in front of the grader.

So I left dejected and sat another painful bum ride home.

My then-boyfriend and parents were secretly glad I didn’t get it. They would have preferred I stayed by his side (boyfriend) and carved a more “intellectual” career path (parents). However, when I have a dream, I hope to pursue it till the end. When I say it, I mean it. I dislike empty or broken promises, so I honour them, even to myself.

I tried again at 23. This time, thankfully for participants, they improved the process and almost everything (sans the swimming pool test) was conducted at the hotel in town. Again, I breezed through the confidence and speaking test. Then came the face and hands check (she held a board and furiously marked here and there on some sheet where I glimpsed a drawing of a face), and then we don the Kebaya and did a fashion show.

I got rejected AGAIN.

What was wrong with me? I can’t stop asking. What is wrong with them? My friends won’t stop asking.
Here're my 2 stewardess friends, the one on the right even told me the story of a certain airline that had a crash before. Her friend's best friend was on board and unfortunately killed. When her friend took to the skies again, late one night while doing her "patrols", guess who she saw flying alongside the plane? ON THE OUTSIDE.
Another stewardess friend of mine takes her job with pride. Many stewardesses (SIA included) take the lazy/easy way out when it comes to cleaning up vomit and toilets. I was appalled when one of the SIA girls told me they were taught in class to sprinkle coffee powder on vomit and cover it up with a napkin. Or move the passenger if there're empty seats, if not, too bad for him/her. Or wait till the plane touches down for the cleaning Auntie to deal with it. Same with the toilets, just lock it up and wait for the cleaning Auntie.

This friend of mine, however, took the service of an SIA girl very seriously and will not be doing any of the mentioned above.
So my stewardess friends told me to paint my nails red and wear a push-up bra because I keep getting stuck at the Kebaya test and not advancing (psychological test and group interaction are the final stages).

They changed the process slightly again last weekend. This time, ace the interview first before getting your documents and height checked. The last 2 times was getting height and documents checked before proceeding. The min.height requirement is 158 CM, I am JUST right.

Guess where do I fail this time round? I am 157.4 CM. How can that be? Have I shrunk since 19 and 23? Did I eat some special cornflakes that my dad has to say, “Honey, I shrunk my kid”? Nails painted, I didn’t even get to show off these babies (bra padding).
Sex slaves is an intellectual book, FYI.
Just having the interview and getting your height checked took 3 hours. I didn’t think it was a waste of time ( I read a book) because I was after all, pursuing a dream (attending the SQ interview is almost like queuing up for Singapore Idol). If I hadn’t tried, I wouldn’t know but 3 strikes are enough to know. I’m throwing in the towel. My new boyfriend will be relieved, my face and hair will thank me (dehydration, tight buns on board), and no varicose veins. I guess I need some consolation talk, i am not being a sour grape.

I remember my supersize female lecturer confessed that she loves cuddling up in bed reading with a tub of ice-cream. We later found an erotic love novel sitting on her desk when we handed in our assignment. Immediately, the news spread like wild fire and the wicked rumour became that because she’s so big and lonely, she had to settle for romance novels, dreaming that there is a hunk feeding her ice-cream while she feels herself up under the covers.
Just like her, I guess I will live through my fantasy of taking the skies through this book, The Mile Hi Club.

A delirious, entertaining, strikingly honest read. It actually did make me feel that I won’t miss so much not taking the skies. For all the wannabes and dejected souls, pick this book up at the bookstores, you won’t go wrong. There i go again, i am not being a sour grape.

Meanwhile, i'll rely on the internet to bring me pictures from around the world.
The architects of St Peter's Basilica in Italy obviously didn't think about the sun when they designed this.

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