The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Airliners, crackpots, bird flu and phones

  • The best news I’ve heard so far this year: Tiger Airways, a Singaporean discount carrier modelled after Air Asia, is starting flights to Perth in March. And just like Air Asia, they have ridiculous discounts: $20 one way to Singapore, plus (obscene) taxes, on selected dates until October. This more than plugs the hole left when Valuair stopped its Perth flights after a merger with Qantas (mutter grumble), and makes it wonderfully cheap to travel around Asia. I’m already planning a trip to relatives in Penang for about $400, less than half the current cost. Hopefully this will also be a good thing for West Australian tourism — the State government had better take advantage of it!
  • Who decided that this guy was so important anyway? (Just like Christianity, Islam is divided into different factions and schools of thought, and he’s only one mufti …) I don’t think we should ban him from returning or revoke his citizenship (now that’s a horrid idea: how do you decide who’s a bad citizen?), and he’s entitled to freely travel and express his views. But if I flew overseas and told some people that all Australians are idiots, somehow I doubt there’d be such a swarm of coverage. The media need only stop paying attention in order to transform him into Yet Another Harmless Crackpot.
  • The ASEAN summit in Cebu, postponed from last December, has just started. Impressively, our government has used this as a chance to pitch in a $5m donation to combat bird flu, which gives some meat to the rather hollow Declaration from the last East Asia Summit, and fits in nicely with the argument made on page 29 of my thesis ;-)
  • Finally, after more considered analysis, I’m not sure the iPhone is as awesome as it first seemed. It’s far and away the best phone interface ever, that much is certain, but it won’t be able to run 3rd-party software (perhaps not even Web 2.0 apps), we know little about the camera, and there’s a case to be made that hardware keyboards are better (they’re good for blind people — such as me, when SMSing while half-asleep). Speaking of which, this is an awesome response to everyone’s reactions.
  1. What, no Burning Kettle?

  2. $20 one-way to Singapore? Now THAT is cheap!

  3. You do realise that there are no seats and that you must book your 10 second toilet break at the time you book your ticket?

  4. And that’s different to Jetstar, Virgin, Air Asia, and Adam Air … how exactly?

    (well, in the latter case, sans the whole losing planes in the jungle thing, but anyway.)

  5. Oh, it’s no different. Sure, $20 to Singas is cool. It’s certainly cheaper than the cab fare to the International airport from the city – then again it’s cheaper to hire a car, have a nice dinner out and stay in a cosy hotel than grab a cab each way. Problem is you pay for what you get.

    So if you’re willing to put up with the jet being delayed a day or two, having to pay exorbitant prices for basic food and drink (you can’t byo btw), with no entertainment then these budget airlines are the way to go. In fact for $20 I’d probably do it too, but not for $300. But that’s just me. I like my grovelling servants, and my nintendo, and 127 video channels and being put up in a hotel if the plane catches fire and can’t fly until tomorrow. Then again maybe I’ve just watched too many episodes of Airport =).

  6. … and, perhaps also, you’re a person with an actual income, as opposed to a poor struggling student for whom airline travel is synonymous with budget carriers ;-)

  7. WTF? Students don’t get to travel overseas. They should be at home, studying hard, or working part time jobs, to pay off their $100k HECS debt. Bloody bludgers.

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