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01 April 2014
The Unspoken Malaysian Tragedy Of Flight MH370
The harrowing screams of hysteria as affected families mourn the loss of their loved ones on flight MH370 is a scene that unapologetically depicts the true extent of this horrible tragedy. The whole world is tuned in and has been provoked since Day 1 into giving a reaction, whether from reckless conspiracy theories or from perusing social media timelines for updates about nothing. Everyone wants answers to this baffling aviation mystery.
Young Malaysians in particular, like myself, have intriguingly taken to the news of flight MH370 very strongly, connecting to it at an almost personal level (at least by indication on social media) irrespective of whether or not we knew any of the victims or their families.
Perhaps it is because we all have probably traveled with Malaysia Airlines before and so it feels like it could have happened to any one of us. Or perhaps it is because there is a sense of national pride at stake and we all feel compelled to uphold it. Or maybe we are just a very compassionate, sensitive and responsive generation. Whatever the reasons, young Malaysians have set social media ablaze these past few weeks. But in this mad frenzy of content consumption, an unsettling theme appears to be emerging.
From sharing viral online articles to tweeting fierce views, many of us have been very quick to jump on the bandwagon and hurl criticisms at the Malaysian government for its incompetent and inadequate handling of this unprecedented event.
The unabashed politicization of the MH370 disaster is the unspoken Malaysian tragedy after which this article is titled. It is an unsettling theme not because the claims about the government may not be true, but rather because it seems Malaysians are completely at ease with sharing any damning news about our country with such impulse and ferocity.
That is scary because it is evidence that we have grown complacent with the peace and stability that we so readily enjoy as a nation. We are not, in fact, doing ourselves any favors by engaging in our routine culture of complaining about the government - not in this instance at least.
It is not only unproductive but will prove counter-productive as well. Because lamenting about the leadership of our country on a topic that implicates the sensitivities of other countries could risk serious repercussions on issues like diplomacy, national security and indeed the economy. This is especially true if the nation that's implicated is one of the world's most powerful nations such as China.
We are already seeing early signs of these worrying repercussions as the people of China call for a boycott of Malaysian products and exports in the wake of this perplexing aviation disaster.
So whether our criticism for the government is justified or not, we need to be smart and not reckless in the way we communicate it. This is not to say that we should keep mum about important issues; we must always continue to voice our concerns and demand better from our country's leadership. But to know when and where to do this is key.
Because the recent lashings from the Chinese towards Malaysia do not distinguish between our government and our country. To the devastated families whose rationalities are incapacitated by grief, Malaysia and by extension, all Malaysians are responsible for this disaster.
It is therefore far more productive for us Malaysians to show our strong support to the commendable effort our government has been making in coordinating what is an exceedingly difficult diplomatic and logistical endeavor to shed light on an extremely emotional issue.
After all, at this point, nothing else matters so much as to find this missing aircraft and bring closure to the affected families who have suffered more than anyone should ever be allowed to.