SBY is patriotic
..... and his Minister of Tourism continues to look foolish
I'm fairly certain that SBY will be fairly pleased
with the organisation of everything in Bali
where he has been busy for the past week; the lack of security problems, the positive reasonableness projected by his government team and, no doubt, the news that he and Jusuf Kalla, his current Vice President, are shoe-ins for the next Presidential election are all very nice for him.
I'm not privy to the means of transport he is going to use to get back home. It will probably be an air force plane, but that's not so important ~ assuming it arrives safely. However, I am curious to know whether he'll fly Garuda.
You see, it has emerged this week that he has postponed a planned Presidential visit to Europe
until such time as the European Union rescinds its ban on Indonesian airlines entering European airspace. SBY prefers to fly Garuda; it's probably the cuisine but that's irrelevant.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's spokesman, Dino Patti Djalal, said, "The president wants to make sure that... before he makes the trip to Europe that the airline ban is lifted. That's politically appropriate and psychologically appropriate too.
"A date was supposed to be set
(some time in early 2008) but his instructions were: 'Let's not set a date before the airline ban is lifted
,'" he said.
"He will go there when the airline ban is lifted -- it is a matter of principle for him.
"A Garuda Smile
The European Commission announced last month that it had kept Indonesian airlines on its list of banned carriers after a review in early November. The next technical meeting that could see the Indonesian ban lifted is expected in January or February.
Next year has been declared Visit Indonesia Year. Many, including me, have commented
that this is a rush job and not very well organised, with a logo that is somewhat impenetrable in its symbolism.
This makes it all the more ridiculous to see a photograph in today's Jakarta Post, unfortunately seemingly not online, of Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik, accompanied by Garuda Indonesia president director Emirsyah Satar, waving to the public after the unveiling of a "Visit Indonesia Year 2008" logo on a Garuda Airbus 330 at Soekarno-Hatta Airport on Friday.
Now that's sure to go down well with the technocrats in Europe. And all those potential tourists who are going to have to use other airlines to get here.