KUALA LUMPUR - It was a solemn Thursday night when a group of local entertainers came together for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of family and friends lost on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.
Artistes from the local Indian film and music industry, joined by the public, took part in the sombre event at Bangsar Village Shopping Centre, praying silently while lighting candles and placing flowers at the mall's drop-off area for the 298 passengers and crew whose lives were tragically cut short.
Local singer and rapper Ram Nath RNB, who led the candlelight vigil, said that on Monday a group of his friends initiated a small-scale candlelight vigil across the street from the mall, an event which eventually drew a crowd of 300.
The group was later approached by Bangsar Village to collaborate on another vigil, this time with Malaysians for Malaysia, a citizen-initiated group passionate about creating a better Malaysia.
Ram Nath, who was school friends with MH17 crew member Angeline Premila Rajandran, was shocked when news of the tragedy broke.
"I knew Angeline and when I first heard the news, I passed it off as a hoax. I still have trouble grappling with the truth. It's not a lot that we can do now but pray for the lives lost," he said.
Mitch Yusmar, a representative of Malaysians for Malaysia, said the tragedy was an opportunity for all Malaysians to unite on common ground.
"I knew someone on the plane too, but it's really not about one person; at the end of the day, it's about humanity. And we need to set aside our differences if we are to properly overcome this tragedy together," she said.
Ex-MAS cabin crew Malar Meni Perumal, who made time to attend the vigil, said she had yet to recover from the news of the missing Flight MH370 when she had to face the tragedy of MH17.
"My friends and seniors were on both planes. They were awesome people to work with.
"MAS taught me everything I knew about life and it's just devastating that this happened to the airline. The best thing we can do now is stand together and pray," she said.