When Najib took office in 2009, one of his first PR campaigns was the 1Malaysia slogan. It’s 2014, and we are still being bombarded by 1Malaysia products and services that kind-of sort-of serve the public, in the roundabout fashion that is so typical of local politics. Year after year, government expenditure to service the aforementioned products rise, especially ‘Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia,’ or ‘BR1M.’ I do not moonlight as an expert in sociology, and so my opinion is not based on data. But from what I see, hear, and feel on the ground, as a proud Malaysian, is that racial tensions are as flared as they’ve ever been, and that the 1Malaysia campaign and all its correlated by-products haven’t really helped.
Then, three weeks ago, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared not long after takeoff at the Kuala Lumpur International airport, headed for Beijing, China. The Boeing 777-200 vanished into the inky blackness of the night, taking with it 239 passengers, and 12 crew members. Malaysia was thrust into unwanted limelight, and forced to deal with a crisis never before seen in history. Some members of government rose to the occasion, while others sat in corners, making a nuisance of themselves in the international arena. Naturally, some chaos ensued.
In my lifetime, we as a nation have never had to face such an incredible situation. And never have I stood opposing our nations’ critics.
The Chinese government and the Chinese people have been very vocal about how the Malaysian authorities have been handling the situation. On multiple occasions, they have hurled items at our representatives, demanding they be told information we do not have. To put it plainly: I wonder what they’re smoking, because I wouldn’t mind some of it.
Even someone as vocal and critical as I am forced to wonder what it is that the Chinese expect of our government. Maybe they wanted us to take a page out of CNN’s book, by declaring leads and then retracting them due to lack of credibility. We have watched for X days now, as international news networks clutch at straws to fill the information vacuum. We have heard the unlikely, the unfathomable, the insane, and the preposterous. And I am proud to say that none of the above came from the mouth of a Malaysian official.
Weird that, huh?
My grandmother is convinced that the Chinese are merely opportunists, vocalizing the sentiments they cannot express toward their own oppressive government. Although her theory holds water, and many of her friends agree with her, I am convinced that the issue at hand is due to the Chinese convoluted idea that the Government is almighty. More often than not, the Chinese government can eradicate whatever issues may face their people with one swift movement of a pen. Such is the belief of the Chinese people. And so they stand, outside our embassy in Beijing, asking us to return the plane that we have misplaced. Because obviously, we hid it.
Keep praying with your little red book, my friends. Mao isn’t going to save you this time.
To the twenty six nations that are assisting us in the search for MH370, my gratitude lies at your feet. To the families, friends, and loved ones of those aboard MH370, I would like to extend my deepest and most heartfelt condolences. I pray every day that the plane be found, but until then, I hope you all can find peace, and closure. I leave you with a poem, recited to me by a friend long before your loved ones departed, which has been playing on my mind since:
God looked around his garden, And He found an empty place.
He then looked down upon this earth, And saw your tired face.
He put his arms around you, And lifted you to rest.
God’s garden must be beautiful, He always takes the best.
He knew that you were suffering, He knew you were in pain
He knew that you would never, Get well on earth again.
He saw that the road was getting rough, And the hills were hard to climb.
So He closed your weary eyelids, And whispered “Please be thine.”
It broke our hearts to lose you, But you didn’t go alone
For part of us went with you, That day that God called you home.