A Day To Remember: Be Mindful

By Christina Kim - March 25, 2015

I just had dinner with my colleague that night!

Those were my colleagues!

I know some of those people!

These were the remarks I have heard from friends and close acquaintances when the infamous flight from our national air carrier took off on that fateful morning and was then declared missing.
Many may not have paid much attention to the news; since surprise elements seemed to have blended quite well with the daily headlines we have every day, though this was a little out of the norm, but it was something we thought, would be rectified, very quickly.
It was probably just technical error.
A plane was not on the radar, not responding and it seemed to have disconnected from correspondence.
Then it caught everyone’s attention when it was revealed that it has been hours since the last communication was exchanged between the pilot and the ground crew at the airport control tower and they have been not responding since.
They were not seen on the radar either; they simply could not be traced.
It was as though, they had just simply vanished, into thin air!

That was news indeed, and definitely something that was not of the norm.
It sounded a little far-fetched to be honest, and probably something that we would probably only conjure up or watch in the movies.
Surprise soon turned to alarm as everyone tuned to the news to watch and follow the progress of the fateful flight.
Everyone looked forward to the uncovering of the plane shortly and that statement that it was just technical error that there was a disconnection.

Those magical words never came; minutes turned to hours, hours turned to days, and days turned to weeks and months, and this month, marks exactly a year since the flight, MH370, disappeared without a trace nor any new finding.

It was mystifying really, and heart-breaking, for there is simply no sign of the airplane and everyone’s hopes just seemed to dissipate with air; except for the heated (and ongoing) discussion about how a giant Boeing 777 could just vanish, poof, into thin air, just like that.

It was a challenging time for the nation too, for this was a plane belonging to our very own national carrier; one that was well-renowned for their long established reputation in the aviation industry and is even one of the world’s top airline companies.

They were not amateurs, and the pilots were all qualified and highly trained professionals.

So what exactly happened?

Accusations and speculations were thrown around; forming theories of the possibilities of the sequence of events leading to the disappearance and also constructing the various conclusions which seemed viable for the fate of the plane.
Anger, despair, frustration, anxiety, excitement, worry all fill the air and the whole world is perplexed with the mystery surrounding the disappearance and all these emotions soon replaced the initial anticipation of hope of positive news.

This unusual event caught worldwide attention and spread like wildfire, for obviously this is not something that occur on any regular day.
It is no longer your usual headline on your daily news.

The government was thrown into action and limelight, and questions were hurled in an interrogative manner, and it was clear that the authorities were not experienced to handle a huge crisis like this.

Then again, to be fair, who is?

This is not a toy plane that just went missing, this is a giant plane ferrying hundreds of passengers and crew members and could not be traced.
I highly doubt any nation would be ready for such a crisis, no matter how trained they are.

For a while I have refrained from writing about this incident, or even comment on my own thoughts on what could possibly have happened to the flight.
It is not because I was afraid, but because I do not know.
I have no idea what happened to the fateful flight.
No, nobody does either, even aviation experts are also only drawing up their own theories and deductions based on the data in what was published on the news and deemed logical in chronological order. There is no conclusive data as to what could reflect or even close to the real truth.
This is a real case of the truth is out there.
Nobody really knows what happened, and everyone is just saying all they think is making sense in their own perspective but the truth remains unknown.
I do not know and there is nothing I could really say/comment or even write about when I really have no idea what to make of the incident.

Secondly, maybe I was a little afraid, to be honest.

Yes, I am afraid, not of making the wrong conclusion or being politically wrong, but I was afraid to tread on the emotions of the people who are involved.

Look at the big picture, in that whole event, who are the people worst affected by the declaration of the missing flight?
It is not you nor me.
It is not the world who are tuning into the news.
It is not the news reporters or anchors waiting to share the good news.
It is not really the airline company either, though they would want to know what happened to their plane and get their plane and everyone onboard back safely.

It is the people waiting at the airport and at homes; those who are waiting anxiously for the arrival of the flight that morning for the estimated landing of the flight from Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport at the Beijing International Airport in China.
They are the ones who woke up early in the morning to make it to the airport; from both Malaysia and China, the former being to send them to board the flight from KL and the latter to pick them up and go home after that long flight.
It was a midnight flight, and it was scheduled to arrive at the destination early in the morning, slightly past six.
These people are the ones who bid their farewells at the departure hall in the airport, and also the others who are waiting in excited anticipation for the appearance of the familiar faces when these flight passengers emerge from the arrival hall.

These people, are the ones who are the worst hit by the news.

These are the Loved Ones.
They are the family members and the closest of kin to the passengers on board.

We have all been there before.
We have sent our loved ones to the airports, bidding our goodbyes at the departure gate and waiting anxiously for hours until we receive that phone call or that text that they have safely arrived at their destination.
We have also waited for their trip to end, having engaged in days or weeks, or even months of Facetime, Skype and online conversations.
We count down to the day they are returning; making all the plans to spend time and converse with them in person when they are home.
We are happiest on that day of their arrival, and we drive to the airport to pick them up, waiting patiently behind the rails at the arrival hall.
Our eyes are transfixed on that screen which is our only information on their existence and whether their flight has finally arrived.
We are just anxious.
We are not strangers to them, yet we are just excited to welcome them home.
Some of us may even be waiting at home for they said they will take the cabs home, but definitely the excitement is still there.
It is a feeling we have all been familiar with.

It is a feeling of Love.
It is a feeling of Intimacy.
It is a feeling of closeness.
It is a feeling when we care.

And these very people, are the ones who are shaken to the core when they learn that the flight did not arrive on time.

It could be delayed.
It could be late.
It could have taken off later than expected.
It might be the weather.
It might the clearance at the airport.

The usual possibilities run through their heads as they waited and noticed that it was way past the scheduled arrival time.

Frustration may seep in, excitement may wane, but they still wait.

Minutes then turned to hours.

Frustration and disappointment are replaced by anxiety and dread, and horrifying thoughts start to creep into their minds though they try their best to block them.

Terror and panic follow.

What happened??!!
(with trails of exclamation marks)

The flight did not arrive on time.
Then the flight had not arrived.
The flight was not found.
The flight could not be traced.
The flight lost connection with the ground.

But it’s still going to arrive, right?
It may not arrive.

It is missing.

But it’s still going to arrive, right?

This is just a technical error!

We can’t find the plane.
We don’t know where it is.
We don’t know where it went.

The flight may not arrive.

The plane is not going to arrive.

The plane will not arrive.

For most of us, months could probably contrive that final conclusion that there is no more hope in the arrival of the plane anymore.

It will not arrive.

It is not going to arrive.

It seemed to be a fact that most have settled down with.
Simply because we do not know, and there is nothing we could do.

We are no aviation experts, we are not even skilled or trained to do anything that could help to trace the plane.
We can only pray.
We can only hope for the best.

For the families and loved ones of those onboard, this is simply not the case.
No answer is acceptable except that they have found the plane.
No statement can be processed by their minds; they are all trash information when it reaches their ears.

They are waiting, still filled with hope.
They lash out in anger at the airlines crew and the company, for they have failed their duties.
They have failed their trust.

They trusted them.

They trusted them enough to fly with them.

They screamed at the staff comforting them, they cursed and swore at the local authorities because there was no answer.
Can we understand them?

Are they totally behaving irrationally?

Are we sure we would be calm and collected if those on board were our own loved ones?

Think of it this way, and just imagine.

Your loved one was on board a flight that went missing.
You waited at the airport, or you just sent him/her off.
You waited for the notification that your loved one had arrived, or you were waiting to pick your loved one up.

You were informed the plane did not arrive.

Then you learn that the plane will not arrive.

And nobody knows when it will arrive, or if it is ever going to arrive.

No one knows where it is, no one knows where it went, and no one, could tell you what happened.
“I am sorry, but that’s all we can say”

You are going to be fine and walk away, accepting that you will never, never, ever see your loved one again.
Yes, you are totally fine, that’s logical.

Either you are a robot, or you totally hate that person.

You see, there is no way anyone could walk away accepting that there is no news of their loved ones, and that they need to accept that they will never see them again.

No One. Can.Accept.That.

It is heart-breaking and mystifying piece of news for us, but imagine when you are one of those who have a loved one on board.

It would not be just empathy or sympathy you feel anymore, it will be more than devastating and thousands of times worse.

There is simply no feeling to describe that, because we are not in the shoes of these affected loved ones.
Of course no one wants to experience that; and no one will ever be prepared for that either.
There are just no words one can say to even reduce that pain.

I am afraid to touch these very hearts.
I am afraid because they are in pain.
I am afraid because they are in a state where hope prevails and they struggle too, with lost hope but yet striving to believe.
I am afraid because they are in such dire states but they do not need anyone except their loved ones.
I am afraid because anything we  say sting and affects them in ways we cannot imagine.

For those reasons, I have not wanted to comment, but just continue to pray for the safety of those on board.

I have seen many articles and even books published since the disappearance, circulating and popularizing theories of conspiracy on the reasons leading to the disappearance of the plane.
Many have also proposed the possible destinations the plane could have landed and deduced the probable fates of the passengers.
There are also fingers pointing at faulty parties or the culprits behind the whole disappearance.

Everyone has something to say.
Everyone wants to judge.
Or perhaps, some of these people are also just merely trying to help out of heartfelt empathy and sympathy.

Whichever the reason, perhaps it is also important to give a thought to what these theories or articles could mean or affect the loved ones who are still, to this very day, waiting in anxious anticipation for their loved ones to arrive.
It could be theories to us, but it could be revelations or even horrifying thoughts to the loved ones.

They could be stricken with worry and misery already; do we want to add terror to that?

Do we really want to add to their emotional burden?
What we really need to do, is to be sensitive to them sometimes.

They don’t need hugs or words of comfort from us; no amount of consolation would do anything to ease their pain either way, but they certainly do not need to hear more theories on what could have happened to their loved ones.

There is no confirmation yet, and there is always hope.

I would too, if I were them.
I definitely will wait, pray and hope that my loved one is going to walk through that door and tell me it’s a joke to surprise me.

I definitely want to wake up to see my loved one right there, and that it was all just a nightmare.
I don’t believe that they are just gone, like that.

It is not possible.

They are still out there.

Have a heart, everyone, think of these people and the pain they go through.

For us, it may be mystery.
For them, it’s a painful episode and a nightmare they wish they could wake up and forget about.

We may be afraid to take flights and wonder if we will survive our flight, but don’t rub it in.

Don’t refresh painful memories for others who are still fighting to live on and wait in hope.

For us, it is a missing plane.
For them, it is a missing loved one(s).

For us, March 8th is just a date which may hold other significant meanings.
(March 8th is also International Women’s Day and perhaps date for anniversaries, birthdays, etc).

For them, March 8th is a day they don’t want to relive and is a day they will need to live with forever, bringing back pain and sorrow as they ponder and continue to wait for the answer, waiting for the day when the skies would clear and someone tells them what really happened.
Perhaps their loved ones would return home to their embraces.
It is a hope they are looking forward to, despite the fears growing in their hearts.
They are holding a strong front, amidst the doubts they are desperately trying to evade and ignore.

These are eggshells; or perhaps even more fragile, emotions that we could ever possibly imagine and we cannot tread on their distress if we have a heart.
We need to be mindful of their feelings.
We need to be careful not to tug at their heartstrings.
They have gone through a traumatic period and it seemed to linger on until there is a real answer.
Until they could see for themselves that answer and be convinced.
They are waiting, we are waiting, the world is waiting.

March 8th may be a date on the calendar every year, but for Malaysia, it will never be forgotten for it is that fateful day we lost our plane in the year 2014 and we are still waiting.

It will always be the day we remember, in infamy.

One thing's for sure, March 8th is never the same anymore for the nation.


My heart and thoughts go out to all affected by the disappearance, stay strong.

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