Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is both an international airline and our national carrier, although some will claim that it operates like a domestic airline, with extended routes to nearby regions.
The airline’s standards have dropped considerably over the years, mainly because of political interference, because the CEOs are not able to work independently, but have to obey their political masters, many of whom are also in Khazanah, which owns a substantial number of shares in MAS.
During former PM, Najib Abdul Razak’s tenure, MAS drastically reduced its number of international routes. Many of the destinations had been added during Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s first premiership. These destinations were made to facilitate trade links, promote business, promote travel and, encourage investment in Malaysia. MAS no longer flies to Africa, north and south America. London is the only European route, but it continues to fly to Australia, New Zealand and destinations throughout Asia. Thus, it still retains its international status.
Going Places or Going Nowhere?
Inflight magazines help promote the airline and the countries to which it flies. “Going Places” is the MAS inflight magazine.
Yesterday, MAS apologised for showing an advertisement, in the January edition of “Going Places”, for a dish that appeared to be made with pork. Some Malaysian NGOs had claimed that MAS was promoting pork cuisine. To the untrained eye, the meat may have looked like pork, but to both gourmands and gourmets alike, the meat was actually Wagyu beef, one of the most delicate and tender breeds of beef.
A MAS spokesman apologised, for any offence it had created, and said, “In the advertisement… the January edition of Going Places published restaurants that provide variety of foods which are part of the menu”.
“The images featured slices of Wagyu beef and cuttlefish. Just like other lifestyle magazines, the review of the restaurant was meant to promote the eateries for passengers all over the world”. (sic)
Companies are bullied
When will our NGOs start to think, and stop being “insulted” by images of food? There are more serious matters that they could worry over. The decline in education. The dirty rivers in Malaysia cuased by factories which dump their sludge and effluents. The manner in which other nations dump their plastic rubbish in our country. The rise in intolerance, extremism and lack of civic mindedness.
It is not as if BLTs (bacon, lettuce and tomato) sandwiches, or pork stroganoff were on the menu. There were no pigs running up and down the aisle. None of the cabin crew wore T-shirts with images of the pig. They claimed to have been offended by a photo of a beef dish.
Why did MAS have to cave in to the NGOs despite claiming that the dish was beef? The bigots in our society, who have tried to make the female cabin crew dress in a dull and characterless fashion, but were ridiculed by the Transport Minister, Anthony Loke, who told them to look the other way if an image of the women in uniform were too exhilarating.
What if the Hindu linked NGOs protested that images of Wagyu beef, or MacDonald’s Big Mac, or double cheeseburgers were offensive and had to be removed? What if vegans demanded the removal of pictures of meat dishes? What if carnivores were offended by images of vagetables?
Malaysia is gripped by a riptide of Islamic conservatism
Our NGOs and institutions are gripped by a riptide of Islamic conservatism. Airlines derive some revenue from advertisments. MAS hay have made money from the promotion of the restaurant. More importantly, how far do we want to allow some intolerant NGOs to dictate what is basically an inhouse matter.
By all means write in to the papers, to express disapproval, but today, many airlines, political parties, companies and individuals appear to be forced to their knees, by the demands of unscrupulous NGOs and individuals.
Take these people with a pinch salt. Many are nutters, or display stupidiy which is beyond the pale. The stupidity of these peasants knows no bounds. In today’s world, these ultra-sensitive NGOs, appear to take offence at almost everything. The Going Places dish, which they found offensive, was not even pork. It was beef. MAS should not have entertained them, nor make a groveling apology.
Today, it is photos of food. Tomorrow, who knows what will upset them.
Don’t expose your stupidity
Taking offence works both ways. At the height of the 11 September terror, a white man objected to a bearded, turbaned man sitting a few rows from him, in the opposite aisle of an aeroplane.
The MAS plane was preparing to take off, from KLIA. He told the cabin crew to inform the captain that this man was a terrorist and was likely to cause trouble. He demanded that the man be taken off the flight.
The white man was making everyone tense, with his loud protests about being offended by the presence of a terrorist on the aeroplane. After several minutes and many anxious moments, the message from the flight crew came back. The captain had agreed to the removal.
Two policemen came aboard to facilitate the removal, and the white man, whose consternation had alarmed the other passengers, was removed, much to the delight of the other passengers. They clapped in approval.
The moral of the story is, if you have no basis for being offended, do not waste peoples’ time and expose your stupidity.