Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Lesson In Soft Power, On Board EVA Air...

And so we are finally back home in Incheon after 4 eventful, memorable and delectable days in Taiwan.

This was our first flight on EVA Air, which is one of the two Taiwanese intercontinental carriers, the other being China Airlines. Neeti and I were delighted by the service EVA Air gave us, right from check-in at Kaohsiung Airport to genuine, impeccable and friendly service on-board BR172 to Incheon. 
Moments after boarding the customary flight announcements began, starting off with safety instructions and all that spiel. And then, we heard something interesting - the flight attendant mentioned that EVA Air was pleased to have nationals of "India, Vietnam, Japan besides Koreans and Taiwanese on board!" 
"Did I hear that right?" I asked Neeti.
And she smiled. I got my answer. As we boarded, we appeared to be the only Indians on the flight. This was a sweet gesture, costing nothing, that instantly made us feel at home, on board. Little wonder, EVA Air is rated as a 4 Star airline by Skytrax
I bet Jet Airways or even the lousy IndiGo, back home in India, can learn a lot from these guys.
Once we were on board, an elegant, charming 50+ lady came and sat in the seat next to us. She was indeed quite a pleasing personality and smiled at us as she assumed her seat. And gradually she and Neeti got into an animated conversation.
It turned out that she was a Taiwanese headed for Seoul alongwith her husband - they intended to do a round of the Buddhist circuit of Korea. She was surprised that Taiwan is popular amongst Indians - this was the first time she saw Indian tourists in Kaohsiung!
The conversation that followed, between the lady and Neeti, was engaging. She mentioned how much she loved Bollywood. The last Hindi movie she had seen was Lunchbox. She was all praise for 3 Idiots and mentioned how similar she thought the education system in Taiwan was, putting pressure on kids. Then she asked Neeti for suggestions - among the movies Neeti suggested to her was Zindagi Milega Na Dobara.
I overheard the lady tell Neeti that her niece lived and worked in Bangalore for a couple of years, in an infotech company and added how India had grown over her. She also mentioned that she was a big fan of yoga.

The meal that we got on board was quite delicious, with generous helpings...

As their conversation continued, I drifted off into snooze mode. And as we began our approach into Incheon, the ladies were discussing the storyline of a Hollywood rom-com they had been watching on the flight's IFE.
As I am wont to, I got into "insight hunting" from this whole experience on board. This interaction between the Taiwanese lady and Neeti proved, once again, that India is sitting on an unimaginable potential that its soft power has. This conversation was particularly heartening simply because Taiwan and India do not have formal diplomatic relations, and travel between the two countries isn't that easy. Despite these hurdles, India occupies a significant part of the mindspace of Taiwanese, as we had observed during our travel in the island state.
Soft power is an intangible asset, a wealth that brute force cannot match and it makes India's rise seem comforting and not threatening to the rest of the world. And that is indeed great for India. But to leverage on this immense goodwill that India's soft power generates, policy-makers need to pay heed, which I guess they are doing under Prime Minister Modi!

As these thoughts were whirring in my mind, we landed at Incheon!

And it was time for a bit of Plane Spotting!

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 and behind that an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dream)liner... 

As we were getting up to disembark, a Hong Kong Express Airbus A320 taxiied in...

No comments:

Aviation Photo Search Engine
Biggest aviation photo database on the 'Net
Aircraft Type...[ Help ]
Airline...[ Help ]
Country / Airport...[ Help ]
Category...[ Help ]
Uploaded... [ Help ]
Keywords... [ Help ]
Range...[ Help ]
Sort By...

Include only photos for sale

Stop searching after hits [ Help ]