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Making Progress

Published: Tuesday July 22, 2014 MYT 9:35:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday July 22, 2014 MYT 10:08:07 PM

Time to fight cynicism

MY mother always says that lighting does not strike at the same place twice. She would always use this term to console me whenever something bad happened or tragedy struck. How I wish this to be true but the twin tragedies that have afflicted us, MH 370 and MH 17, reminds us that life is indeed fragile and very unkind at times.

The 298 people on board MH 17 en-route to Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam boarded the flight on Thursday (17th July 2014) have lost their lives to a conflict that has nothing to do with them and a supposedly routine flight has become one of the worst aviation disasters in history.

I echo our Prime Minister’s call for swift justice for those who lost perished on MH 17; I am sure the world expects nothing less. If indeed MH 17 was brought down by pro-Russian separatists (I would call them terrorists) in Ukraine as the anecdotal evidence suggest then Russia faces its moment of truth and must do everything in its power to ensure those responsible are brought to justice. This dastardly attack on innocent civilians is a heinous crime and those responsible must receive must face the full force of the law and they must be punished severely.

As the initial reports trickled in, like most people in dire need of more information I took to cyber space and social media. While there was a lot of confusion on whether the MH 17 suffered a mechanical failure or was brought down by a missile; the comments coming from some of my fellow Malaysians shocked me. Many sought to blame Malaysia Airlines (MAS) for employing a route over Ukraine to save costs and some even sought to lay blame on the pilots.

Such comments angered me but as the angered settled down it was replaced with a forlorn sadness. I expected more from my fellow Malaysians. As the whole world was watching and scrutinising our reaction, some of us decided to use this opportunity to score cheap political points and lay the blame on MAS without being privy to the full facts.

Many Malaysians have become so cynical that their initial response to any tragedy is that is part of some ludicrous conspiracy. Some of us have grown accustomed to looking for the very worst in any given situation and if they are unable to identify the nadir in any given circumstance they simply construct one. This is indeed debilitating and an unhealthy trend because Malaysia will not thrive if a large of part of its population is cynical and unjustifiably distrustful. I believe we all endowed with the capability to think and to discern between what is right and wrong, what is proper and improper and we must employ these faculties when evaluating situations such as the MH 17 tragedy and avoid visceral and knee-jerk reactions simply because one is less than enthused with the political establishment.

Allow me to quote part of my Facebook post that I posted after reading the comments posted by many cynical Malaysians (some of them friends of mine), “It is important to employ sense and sensitivity when you speak on this (MH 17) because the hearts of many families are now broken knowing their loved ones are never coming home … Also to all the keyboard warriors who enjoying pointing blame, take a break and reflect on the kind of person you are, look in the mirror and ask yourself is this how you were raised.”

I do hope in this tragedy we also reflect on the kind of nation and people we want to be; I accept that the government is not infallible because at the end of the day we are all humans. Malaysians must transcend their political aficionados, and evaluate situations and the responses taken to address crises in fair and unbiased manner. In my humble opinion, the best way to make a difference is to be constructive in criticism and nurture rather than demolish. I believe we owe our founding fathers that at the very least. 

To the families of the 298 passengers on board MH 17, I know no words any of us can mitigate the pain or the sense of loss but allow me to share a few words from the Greek poet Aeschylus that has always helped me to cope with loss. Aeschylus wrote over a thousand years ago, “In our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God." I pray that God guides the families of those who have lost their loved ones and I believe I speak for all Malaysians when I say the entire nation shares their grief and sense of loss. 

I am certain MAS and Malaysia will emerge stronger from this unspeakable tragedy and I for one will not eschew from flying Malaysia airlines whenever the opportunity arises because whenever I step on a MH flight I feel not only an innate sense of pride and patriotism but I also know I am in good hands.

> The views expressed are entirely the writer's own.

Tags / Keywords: opinion, Making progress, Ivanpal, MH17

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