Connect with us
Advertisement

Kingair? No, A Fokker!

Stuart White

The World in Black-N-White


One of the most unexpected moonlighting job stories came to light this week when the King of the Netherlands, 50 year-old King Willem-Alexander, revealed that for more than 20 years he has been a co-pilot on scheduled flights for the Dutch national airline, KLM. 

 

King Willem-Alexander, 50, said he has ended his role as a regular 'guest pilot' after 21 years on KLM's fleet of Fokker 70 planes while he previously also flew jets for Dutch carrier Martinair.  He announced that he will now retrain to fly Boeing 737s as the Fokkers are being phased out of service.


This news comes as a surprise to many, since the king has always kept a low profile, flying only once or twice a week and always as a co-pilot.  The father of three and monarch to 17 million Dutch citizens calls flying a 'hobby' that lets him leave his royal duties on the ground and fully focus on something else.


'You have an aircraft, passengers and crew. You have responsibility for them,' the king told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. 'You can't take your problems from the ground into the skies. You can completely disengage and concentrate on something else. That, for me, is the most relaxing part of flying.'


Willem-Alexander said he is rarely recognized by passengers in his uniform, especially since security was tightened on board planes in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.   'Before September 11, the cockpit door was open. People regularly came to have a look and thought it was nice or surprising that I was sitting there.'  When he makes announcements to passengers, Willem-Alexander says that as a co-pilot he doesn't have to give his name.  'But most people don't listen anyway,' he added.


True, the Dutch Royal House of Orange is much more low-key than its British counterpart, where second-in-line to the throne, Prince William, also part-times as a pilot, flying a local air ambulance helicopter close to his Norfolk home but William makes no pretence to hide his identity, which must leave some of his rescue patients more than a little non-plussed.  And let’s face it, being King of modern-day Holland doesn’t exactly sound like a full-time occupation so who could blame him for wanting to full his extra time doing something he loves and doing it for love, not for money?


I’ve sometimes wondered what it must be like to be born royal, wealthy and immensely privileged so that you never have to consider a career, at least not one that is expected to offer much in the way of financial reward. In England, in previous centuries, the eldest sons of landed gentry and titled folk had every expectation of inheriting the family fortunes and estates, through the statute of primogeniture, or inheritance by the first-born.

 

Though they would have been expected to involve themselves in the running of the estate, that still left a fair amount of free time to pursue the usual country sports of hunting, shooting and fishing and spend time in the grand house in London, taking in the theatre, visiting one,s tailor and drinking at one’s club.


But today, such a life, though still enjoyed by a privileged few, is not the norm.  We look at the likes of Prince Charles and wonder ‘what do you actually DO all day?’.  Of course he has a diary of royal engagements but they by no means fill up his calendar, leaving an awful lot of spare time to tend his beloved Highgrove garden where, by his own admission, he talks to his plants to encourage them to thrive. 

 

If that sounds a little dotty, it probably is – that’s what having no real job till your mother pops her clogs can do to you, particularly as his mother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, is still going strong at 91, leaving Charles, now 68, still twiddling his green thumbs, a once and future king but not just yet.


Consider that, for a moment, if you will.  What must it feel like to be nearly 70 years old and know that your ‘proper job’, the one you’ve supposedly been preparing for for most of your life, is still ahead of you, at some unknown time in the future.  It’s even feasible, though not necessarily likely, that he could shuffle off his mortal coils before his dear mama, sending him to his grave without ever having reached his full potential, nor claimed his rightful title.  


Meanwhile it has been announced that as his grandson, Prince George, has been enrolled in a London prep school in September, Prince William, Charles’ eldest son, will be relocating to the capital with his wife and family which will mean he has to give up his part-time rescue work so he too will effectively be out of work.  


So let’s celebrate the quirkiness and work-iness of Dutch King Willem-Alexander who, a couple of times a week, dons the uniform of an airline First Officer and takes to the skies with a planeload of hoi-polloi passengers, not for guts and glory, not to win the approval of his subjects who might otherwise think him somewhat of a dilettante like his British would-be counterparts, but just for the sheer love of flying and doing a job he clearly loves.  And as a wise man once said ‘Find a job you love and you will never work another day in your life’.

Continue Reading

Columns

The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

Continue Reading

Columns

A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

Continue Reading

Columns

Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!