Love Them While You Still Can

Watching the Prime Minister’s announcement on March 24, 2014 that flight MH370 had ended in the Indian Ocean and there were no survivors, the very first thought that came to me was, how could the person who drafted this announcement be so insensitive to make such a conclusion based on just data on paper?

Apparently, many others share my view as postings on various social media reflected the same sentiment. At that moment, no plane wreckage had been discovered despite various satellites producing images of supposed debris which could be linked to the plane but nothing was confirmed nor denied.

I have no right or knowledge to question what the experts are saying but as a human, this is by far the worst ever way to reveal the truth as there is no solid evidence. In fact, this version of the ‘truth’ has sparked more unanswered questions than ever, leading away from the truth more than before.

Some say that the move made by the Malaysian government was an act to ensure transparency, to deliver news as and when it is received. Yes, they have done that, but the way it is delivered would go down in history as the worst public relations disaster.

Granted, there is no easy way to deliver bad news, and the crushing pressure from the world to find out what really happened to flight MH370 only makes it worst. However, the flak that the Malaysian government has been receiving is not just from this one announcement. It has been a culmination of missteps right from the start of the investigation. Among others, I still can’t get over the fact that the authorities actually paid so little attention to the air turn-back, and the fact that they knew the plane continued flying after the turn back for at least another eight hours. With this, they wasted precious time searching the South China Sea in the beginning.

Having said that, I am not here to criticise or question any of the world authorities for their approach in this investigation. But even as an observer, I am frustrated by the progress. Hence, the reaction of the families when the tragic announcement was made was totally understandable. I can only imagine the fragment of what they are going through – the undignified pronouncement of death sentence on their beloved ones without proper justification can only open more wounds and widen the gap for closure.

A rational person will acknowledge the fact that it is almost impossible for anyone to survive the turbulent Indian Ocean for up to 17 days should flight MH370 did indeed crash there. However, to families of the passengers and crew on board, they still want to hold on to hope, hope that miracles do happen. This hope was dashed by the announcement in a rude and most hurtful manner. Hence, such drastic reactions from the Chinese including calling the Malaysian government murderers is not a surprising outcome, even though it was an unwarranted one.

For the rest of us, there is an invaluable lesson to be learned here. As I looked at the photographs of all the passengers and crew on board the flight published in the newspaper the next day, it struck me that everyone of us, no matter how insignificant we may feel, has an impact on someone else’s life. Hence, we need to cherish everyone that crosses path with us in life particularly our family. This statement may be cliché but it rings true more than ever now.

Life is fragile. Show your loved ones how much you love them. Seize the day.

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