MH370: When emotions take over

MH370: When emotions take over

There is a lot of anger and frustration out there, and understandably so. After three weeks, and despite the announcement that MH370 is deemed to have crashed in the remote southern Indian Ocean, there is still no closure in sight.

As we watch the images on our TV screens, and even via our smartphones, we can see that the search is intense and professional. After all, more than 26 countries are currently involved.

One recent TV broadcast commented that one of the reasons why so many countries are willing to chip in is that Malaysia is deemed to be a "friendly country" with friends who will always come forward to help.

The reality is that a full array of expertise and technology is currently being harnessed in the search for the plane.

But at the people level, emotions continue to run high. Amid speculation and suspicion, what is being done up to now is viewed by some people as inadequate. And when emotion gets in the way of reason, unpleasant scenes are bound to arise.

Personally, I have had enough of the persistent attacks on Malaysia as a country, and Malaysians as a collective whole. And I think all reasonable and rational Malaysians should speak up when abuses, verbal or otherwise, are hurled at our country.

We are not talking about criticisms against national leaders who have to take them in their stride. This is part of their job, after all, and I think it is also fair to point out the inadequacies of our frontline people when they fall short.

But why should ordinary Malaysians take the heat - for no reason whatsoever - over the disappearance of MH370?

Take, for example, the endless barrage of threats and emotionally-charged accusations coming from the country with the most number of passengers on board.

First of all, they have every right to be angry. And they can throw tantrums if that will make them feel better.

At times like this, the least we can do is to try and understand their anger and frustration.

But what I cannot understand is why is the situation being defined strictly as "us against them"?

Let's not forget that there are 50 Malaysians among the passengers and crew. And the fact that this is a Malaysian Airlines plane puts us at the very pinnacle of the responsibility chain.

Malaysians grieving just as much

There are Malaysians who are grieving just as much because they have lost their friends and relatives. And as far as numbers go, we must also not forget that many Malaysians are now currently involved in one responsibility or another in taking care of the families of those affected by the tragedy.

Some faces have become so familiar over the past few weeks that they have practically become like family to us. And we are not talking only about the images of the victims plastered all over the newspapers.

This is not an aviation mystery that involves just one country. To be precise, those on board MH370 come from 14 countries.

But Malaysians are at the forefront to answer the queries, and many more are working in the background. All the daily abuses being hurled at our officials, who are already doing their best, are not going to help bring the plane back.

It is insane to suggest that the Malaysian government is, or Malaysians in general are, guilty of murder. This is when emotions have truly gone haywire.

And the condemnation of Malaysia Airlines has gone overboard. Point out the airline's shortcomings in this present crisis, by all means, but one surely cannot be hysterical about the airline's historical record.

There is only one blot on MAS' flying record, but that happened in 1977.

And running down MAS in itself does not mean every other flight of every other airline is guaranteed safe. People will continue to fly, on MAS and other airways, despite the ongoing crisis.

Yes, we could have handled things better. We could have done a better job of crisis management in the early stage.

Yes, we slacked, but that's simply because we have never had to deal with a crisis of this magnitude, whether natural or man-made.

Our leaders and officials have never been tested under such severe circumstances before. They've never had to face the international press up close and personal.

These are the people who not only ask tough questions but also some silly ones as well, like the reporter who asked our Acting Transport Minister if he is a cousin of the Prime Minister.

But we have to admit that our frontline people have learnt much along the way.

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