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Flight of Fancy

Ladies and, er, …

Start again.

One hundred and nine gentlemen.  Captain Yu-er Phuct and his 218-member cabin crew would like to welcome you aboard this China Repatriation Airlines flight to Life Imprisonment.  We look forward to serving you in the best traditions of Chinese human rights.

Today’s flight time from Had Yai to an undisclosed destination somewhere in western China is scheduled to last 9 hours and 15 minutes in the air and decades and decades and decades in prison on the ground.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused by having to board the aircraft while wearing hoods, caused by limitations in local ground services.  A full terrorist restraint protocol including shackles of your hands and feet and duct tape across your mouths has now been distributed by the cabin crew.  Please do not forget to return this equipment to our cabin crew before disembarking from the aircraft as we will need it for the next bunch of unpatriotic whingers who thought they could escape the glorious People’s Republic.

We offer a full inflight personal entertainment centre with a wide range of films, information videos and games, which you are free to enjoy as far as is physically possible when you cannot see anything.  And as soon as this announcement is over, you will be issued with compulsory ear-plugs, so you won’t be able to hear anything either.

If you experience any difficulty in operating your inflight personal entertainment centre, please do not hesitate to call a member of our cabin staff, who will be only too happy to teach you what happens when you complain.

China Repatriation Airlines is honoured to offer our award-winning full menu of inflight meals and snacks with a complete range of dietary preferences.  Unfortunately, however, none of this will be available for you because if you think we’re taking your hoods off, even for a second, you’ve got another thing coming.  And as for the thought of letting you anywhere near even plastic cutlery, just forget it.

The cabin crew seated on both sides of each of you, however, will be served hot meals and we hope that the aroma of their food will satisfy your hunger pains even if you won’t be allowed to taste any of it.

We will shortly be displaying our inflight safety video, and we ask that you give this your full attention, even if you a frequent terrorist flyer.  Please note that in the unlikely event of an emergency landing on water, there is no life vest under your seat, you will never be able to find your way to the clearly marked emergency exits, and the amount of ironware we’ve padlocked to your limbs will ensure that you will sink like a stone.

Should cabin pressure for any reason begin to fall, emergency oxygen masks will drop from the overhead lockers.  The children among you should fail to put these on first so that the adults can fail later, leading to mass asphyxiation which will solve a lot of problems for the authorities who are waiting for you wherever it is we’re going.

Please note that there are toilet facilities provided throughout the plane though since we put you all in adult diapers before we set off, this is a total irrelevance to you.

Please note that in accordance with international aviation rules, this is a non-smoking flight.  Smoking is also forbidden in the toilets, unless some of you turn stroppy and the cabin crew are forced to use lighted cigarettes to burn holes in your flesh to ensure compliance.

Our cabin crew will be offering a full range of duty-free items during the flight including thumb screws, tasers, and a variety of sharp objects for inserting into bodily orifices.

On arrival wherever it is we’re going, you are kindly asked to contact our ground staff who will be happy to escort you through customs and immigration to your summary trials.  Please have your passports ready and also credit card details of your families in China because if you think we’re giving you a free flight, think again, sunshines.

This is the end of our pre-flight announcement; you will now hear First Officer Thang Yu-tai finalizing take-off procedures.

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Cabin crew cross-check doors and Uighurs locked and prepare for take-off.

Flight tower Had Yai, this is China Repatriation Airlines aircraft November Oscar Hotel Oscar Papa Echo to somewhere secret, request clearance for take-off.

Flight tower Had Yai to November Oscar Hotel Oscar Papa Echo, you are cleared for take-off runway 08/26 and General Prayut says any time and does this mean we get a discount on the subs?

About author:  Bangkokians with long memories may remember his irreverent column in The Nation in the 1980's. During his period of enforced silence since then, he was variously reported as participating in a 999-day meditation retreat in a hill-top monastery in Mae Hong Son (he gave up after 998 days), as the Special Rapporteur for Satire of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, and as understudy for the male lead in the long-running ‘Pussies -not the Musical' at the Neasden International Palladium (formerly Park Lane Empire).