The morning starts with a refreshing cup of hot, brown water-flavoured liquid at the IFC Mall branch of Pacific Coffee. A middle-aged woman of apparently humble means walks in with a bundle of China Dailies and shoves one in my direction. She then sits on the easy chair opposite, produces a handgun and points it at me. “Read it!” she snaps. They are getting serious about circulation figures.
Thus it is that I find myself perusing a thought-provoking piece from some sort of strategic studies academic called Wang Baokun, who has important news for us. “China needs aircraft carriers because they are important for cooperation.” One way of looking at it, I suppose. Perhaps the sort of cooperation he is envisaging is the sort you would get from, say, the Philippine government if you parked a couple of carrier groups off Manila Bay and asked it to stand aside while you helped yourself to the Spratly Islands and various bits of the Luzon coast that have been part of the motherland since time immemorial.
The China Daily distributor moves on to other victims, and I am free to dip into the free and objective Standard for some far brighter aviation news. To my delight, I learn that Cathay Pacific Airways has finally seen sense and decided to ban exceptionally ugly breeds of cat and dog from flying.
This is long overdue. Nothing, in my experience, has ever ruined a journey more than the presence of these repulsive beasts on an aircraft. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been sitting back in my seat listening to the soothing, sophisticated sounds of Kenny G on the headphones, sipping a quarter-bottle of Chardonnay and watching the flight’s progress on the map on the TV – lost in a reverie of airborne relaxation, as if floating above the world – when to my horror, I feel a rubbing sensation against my leg, and look down to see the revolting mutant face of one of these disgusting animals in the aisle, hoping for a pat or a treat. What on earth possesses people to have such grotesque, genetically mis-shapen animals in the first place, I have no idea, but to fly with them is selfish and anti-social.
Now I will have no need to splash out and invite A-Hing the Bowen Road labrapoodle ripper with me on my next round-the-world tour. A key question remains: will CX take this to its logical conclusion and ban a certain other life-form from the cabin – the ones that look very similar to pugs, but have a distinctive lack of fur and spend the journey in bassinets? I think there could be an Airline of the Year Award in it.