They share grief, hope with world on social media

They share grief, hope with world on social media

The world has never witnessed something like this - hope, determination, faith and love, all told in 140 characters or less each time.

It moved many worldwide.

It did not matter that 17-year-old Maira Nari was in Malaysia and you were in another country.

Her tweets, using Twitter handle Gorgxous_, to her missing father were so personal, so heartfelt and so universal, it seemed like it was your loved one talking to you.

For 17 days, as she clung to the hope that her father, Mr Andrew Nari, the chief steward on MH370, would come home, the world clung on with her.

We experienced hope in this tweet: "That feeling inside me... I just know that he'll come back."

And we felt the determination to keep the faith with this one: "Don't forget to eat your dinner. Because remember, your family members are waiting. Stay strong, and know that you'll come home, daddy. ;')"

And the short, sharp, touching and heartbreakingly positive posts kept coming.

Perhaps the one that moved most people was of a daughter talking of her father's love for football.

And when she mentioned the teams in a game she watched on behalf of her missing father, the effect was devastating. It was a match when Liverpool (her father's favourite) took on Manchester United.

"Daddy, Liverpool is winning the game. Come home, so you can watch the game!" she tweeted.

After Liverpool's win, she tweeted again: "& Liverpool won for daddy. Good game, and I can imagine him smiling. Hahaha. He must be happy. Goodnight daddy. * hugs *"

It prompted the club and football fans to send her tweets offering support.

"Just to let you know that we are thinking of your father & all those still missing from flight #MH370 Be strong. YNWA (You'll Never Walk Alone)," the club tweeted.

And when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that the plane had crashed into the southern Indian Ocean on Monday, it tweeted Maira again: "We prayed your father would come home @Gorgxous_ Tonight our thoughts are with you & families of all those lost. You won't walk alone."

The world, too, grieved with Maira when she tweeted: "I feel so lost, so blank."

But she still carries a flicker of hope as she tweeted on Tuesday: "Physically and mentally tired. It has been a hectic day since last night. I am still hoping for a miracle, but..., hm. Goodnight, daddy. :')"

Another victim on the flight was Malaysian scholar Tony Tan Wei Chew (left), 19.

Dance instructor Ah Sen Hok Fen, who had taught Mr Tan when he was at Catholic High School a few years ago, was shocked.

The team had won gold with honours at the Singapore Youth Festival in 2011.

Mr Tan went on to study at St Andrew's Junior College (SAJC). The former instructor felt sad "reading all the posts on (Tony's) Facebook page wishing him to return well and fast."

The coach, 32, had taught Mr Tan twice or thrice a week.

And, he told The New Paper, barely a dance session would go by without him calling out "Tony!"

There was a particular move that was Mr Tan's Achilles heel. Mr Fen recalled: "The dance was rather athletic. He would miss some steps...That's when I'd call his name."

The teenager would smile apologetically and try to keep up with the class.

An SAJC spokesman said: "Led by our principal, the school observed a minute's silence in memory of our former student Tony for whom students and staff prayed for over the past two weeks. The school extends its deepest sympathies to Tony's family."

tnp@sph.com.sg


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