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Air Asia eXperience

How was my Air Asia eXperience? To check in and get on the plane was OK - the usual minimal service and bus-station-like experience of the LCCT. Though I must say the international departures lounge now has many more shops than before - and it almost feels like a real airport.

The flight was much cheaper than the cheapest MAS flight, about RM1700 cheaper. The ‘Brisbane’ flight lands in Gold Coast Coolangatta airport, which is about one hour from Brisbane, but there’s a Malaysian/Australian company called AAExpress that runs a bus service that will pick you up at the airport and take you to Brisbane for AUD38.

So money-wise, it’s great value and I can’t complain there. But I do have two major grouses.

The seats are pretty minimal, narrow, and don’t lean back very much - OK it’s budget travel... but there is no footrest! Maybe it’s just because I have shorter legs or something, but I find that a footrest can make so much difference and surely they can’t cost a lot to have! It’s rare even to find a bus without them now.

And the second problem is the food - I booked a ‘Vegetarian meal’ and this is what I got...
air asia meal nasi lemak

yep, like one scoop of rice and a few spoonfuls of some (admittedly tasty) fake meat-type thing. Oh, and a bottle of water. It’s really not enough - and they only serve one meal in an eight hour flight. I mean, I would be fine with paying more to get a proper meal! Some fruit, bread roll, whatever... shame! :-(
air asia meal nasi lemak

And because they spend so much time giving people change, etc, it takes ages to serve.

Anyway; something I would recommend is that it’s probably well worth paying in advance for the entertainment (i.e. films, etc.) - if you’re saving RM1,000+ on the flight, might as well allow yourself RM30 or less to avoid spending the whole flight staring at a map with the plane’s flight track... And bring a pillow and blanket.

Blogging and business cultures - comparative survey on blogs

davidlian (who says many interesting things about blogs, advertising, and public relations, and tweeting) alerted me to a survey just recently completed by a PR firm Text100 (which he also works for I believe). There is a press release, a Global report, and an APAC report.

The press release quotes Prof. Michael Netzley of Singapore Management University as saying
"Very little data exists at a global level allowing us to compare blogger behaviours and preferences at both a regional and even country level. Text 100 offers what might be the most comprehensive data to date about bloggers and how they practice their trade." (here)

I'd agree very much about the lack of comparative data for blogs - it's something that bedevils me somewhat, because I have ideas about how Malaysia blogging practices may be different from elsewhere, but I have no way of checking it. However, I would also like to blow my own trumpet at bit, and suggest that the myBlogS 2009 survey is also a pretty comprehensive survey on "bloggers and how they practice their trade". Though, to be sure, I did not approach it from a business studies angle.

One of the most interesting aspects of the results are differences between APAC and European and American respondents. However, one methodological caveat is that the number of American bloggers is pretty small (the numbers for most answers are: APAC 233, EURO 189, USA 27) - which means that I would not be confident that the USA responses give highly reliable results.

Here are some quotes:
"Globally, more than 80% of bloggers say that they would acknowledge sponsorships of blog postings. Asia across the board is less likely or willing to acknowledge forms of sponsorship.
The cultural precedent for gift giving in Asia as a part of business practice, and not having to acknowledge this, is likely to contribute significantly to this difference." (Global Report: 8 )

However, there are still a majority that do think it's important. There are also less APAC bloggers (75%) who say that they should "clearly state their employer or association if
blogging on issues or topics that relate to their businesses" - the figures for EURO and USA are 87% and 96% respectively.

This is very interesting for me. Recently I was thinking about how there has been little reaction to the monetisation of blogs in the Malaysian blogosphere - you get the odd complaint about over-commercialisation and the most obviously paid-for-blogs (of the PPP/Izea type) don't seem to attract much traffic, but overall people don't seem to mind too much. Then I remembered how when I first got here, I was surprised by how the division between 'business and pleasure' or, more accurately, 'business and social life' is not as clear here as what I was used to in Belgium. For example, WW would get phone calls late in the evening about work; or dinners with friends and/or family would also double up as 'business meetings' where different commercial ventures were discussed; the way I was brought up was that if - for example - you are having a social meal with someone, it's kind of rude to start talking about 'money'.

Anyway. With that in mind, and thinking of other results from this survey such as
"In APAC, 88% prefer an introduction before receiving information from a PR firm or corporation with whom they have not had prior contact, compared with only 41% in the USA... Introductory face-to-face meetings with new contacts are more important in APAC than in Europe or the USA" (Global Report: 17)

it's clear that in order to understand the way in which blog monetisation is happening in Malaysia, I need to look more into culturally-specific business practices.

Which reminds me that I recently met up with classyadele, who is researching corporate blogs in New Zealand, and she also had some thoughts about different business practices in New Zealand. It was nice to meet someone who seems to spend as much time as I do thinking about blogs :-)

It's a very interesting survey, and the APAC report breaks down the results into countries - such as:
"Computers, technology and the internet are the subjects most blogged by surveyed bloggers. Malaysian bloggers seem to be more interested in entertainment/arts/music and culture/community, while the latter is also most popular in Australia." (APAC Report: 10)

There are more comparisons - again, the numbers for each country are relatively low, but still there are interesting results.

What do you think? Is there a particularly Malaysian, or 'Asian' way of doing business which influences how the Malaysian blogosphere is developing?

Edit 04/07/09: here are a couple of short videos by Text100 in case you're too lazy to read the pdfs :-)