Friday, January 05, 2007

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

I read an interesting piece of news today. Shocked doesn't quite capture what I felt. Neither does elation.

With a headline that screams - AirAsia X London flights from RM9.99, I am sure that you would treat such news with a bucketful of salt too. Read the article here. It appears that our local budget airline, Air Asia, will be flying long-haul routes for about the price of a Happy Meal. Velco seat belts and sitting next to quarantined livestock suddenly come to mind.

I complain when it is expensive and I complain when it is cheap. I know, I know. I am not starting the year with the right vibes, but RM9.99?? C'mon! While the possibility of visiting England again in the near future is giving me terrific goosebumps, I am thinking no insurance company would cover my flight. Okay, even if you minus the cost of the food and entertainment (people would smuggle in pau and UNO anyway) something has gotta give.

While I laud economy travel, full comfort is crucial for any flight that is longer than 2 hours. Domestic travel on Air Asia is traumatic as it is, and I am lucky I have short legs. Passangers going bezerk in a flying sardine tin does not a pretty picture make. I just hope they don't take cost cutting to the extreme.

These last few days, I have busied myself with SimsCity 4. Released in 2003, this 3D simulation game involves, as the name suggests, building a city. You start with an empty plot of land in a big empty region. You have $100,000. So you are left to your own devices to build your empire. I like this game as it speaks to the megalomaniac in me.

You have to zone industries, create homes, build roads, employ firemen, erect schools and best of all - collect taxes. It is quite fun being on THIS side of the Hasil Dalam Negeri (IRS) for once. Of course your ungrateful minions..I mean citizens, would strike once in a while demanding for trivial things like breatheable air and water. Where they get the nerve, I don't know. But it is wise to keep them happy else they will bring your Mayor rating down. Nobody really likes to be unpopular. While it is so easy to be plonking parks and shopping malls, what is not easy is keeping the city accountants happy. Being in the black is quite a balancing act.

But what really rocks my boat is the transport system. Oh yes, there are traffic crawls in Sim City and it falls on you to ensure that the roads are clear, that the bus stops and subways are running at optimum rate and that the expensive highways are at the right spots. And with latest expansion pack, you can also erect Toll booths.
Who wants to play God when you can be Datuk Samy Vellu?

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