A Tzu Chi volunteer lending an ear for a Chinese family of an MH370 passenger in Beijing.
BANGI: The agony and anguish of the families of those onboard missing Flight MH370 have been widely reported but little attention has been paid to their caregivers.
Volunteers from the Malaysian Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Malaysia have been tending to them day and night since the airliner disappeared with the 239 passengers and crew on March 8.
The men and women, in their blue and white uniforms, are emotionally drained and physically exhausted after lending their ears and shoulders to these families.
Still, they said they were happy to be there for the next-of-kin. Former businessman Danny Lee, 53, has been in Beijing, counselling families of the Chinese passengers from day one. It was not an easy task for Lee, who also served as a translator.
“Sometimes they would get angry and start shouting,” he said. “I would just stand there and let them because they needed someone to listen to them.
“Other times, they would get a bit rough,” he recalled. “I would hand them some tissues or hold their hand to comfort them and they would pull away, telling me ‘I don’t want your acting’. It was tough, but I understood what they were going through.”
Another Tzu Chi volunteer, who asked to be identified only as Teng, has been tending to the families staying at the Bangi-Putrajaya Hotel here. The mother of two, who is in her 40s, had taken leave from her job as a lecturer to help out.
“I am here from 7am to 8pm, providing emotional and spiritual support,” she said.
She said there were rough patches when emotions ran high among some family members.
“One woman was very frustrated and was shouting and complaining. I sat quietly and let her have her say.
“After she had calmed down, she apologised to me and I told her everything was okay,” Teng said. “I am happy that I can be their shoulder to cry on.”