Sunday, March 17, 2024

MH370: 10 years after ...

On March 16th, 2014, about 8 days after the mysterious and dreadful disappearance of MH370, Raja Safiah shared this messafe on her FB here. She reshared on the 10 years anniversary of the tragic MH370 recently.  

I am sharing this again in loving memory of Suraya Hanim who passed away in January this year. May you lay peacefully in Jannah my dear friend.

I can't help sharing this note. Beautifully written by Dr. Nadia Abdul Rahim to her father. She is also the eldest daughter of an old friend, Suraya Hanim.


This note is long overdue and is something that I should have written a long time ago - to let my dad know of how proud I am of him.

I am proud of what he does, in spite of him not being around for almost half of my life.

This is for my dad,

Captain Abd Rahim Harun,
A380 Fleet.

I am so sorry for being ashamed to tell my friends that you are indeed a pilot. A good one at that.
I am so sorry for telling my new friends that you are a driver.
I did not want to come across as a privileged kid.
We are after all, living a normal life. 

I am part of the extended Malaysia Airlines family.
I have flown with them ever since I was an infant.
My first trip with my dad, my favorite pilot was Kota Kinabalu.
Apparently, I was told that I was less than pleasant and I was being a difficult (but adorable?) kid. Nevertheless, I grew up loving airports and flying.
My father, just like the missing Captain, have worked for Malaysia Airlines ever since he left school. Many times we urged him to work with different airlines but he refused because he wanted to be close to his family and be around us as often as possible.
We could have enjoyed the perks that were offered - free education at international schools, all living expenses paid, a chauffeur to drive us around if he had accepted job offers from other airlines.
That's how much MAS pilots are sought after.
Being a pilot's daughter, you are bound to have just your mother flying solo, attending your first day at school, your academic prize giving ceremonies, your sports days, your birthdays and even those Raya celebration. The worst incident that occurred while Ayah was not around was when our house was robbed by 3 masked robbers. On top of that, my mother was then 7 months pregnant. My dad was not around and my mother had to handle everything by herself. She refused to call my dad and worry him as he was to fly back to Kuala Lumpur the following day. My mother understood the burden that he carries on his shoulders and the importance of having a full, undivided focus while he is flying as he is responsible for hundreds of lives, and not just his own family back home.
I remember being choked with tears when our English teacher in college asked us one by one, I stood up, and answered, "I remember that he wasn't around for half of the time".
He is far from a bad father. He is just working hard to support our family.
We have come to accept that, especially when people asked us, "Ayah mana?"
I would answer them "Entah, somewhere around the world. Not sure. Have to check his roster"
All his life, his presence has been determined by a single sheet of paper which he would share with us at the beginning of each month. He would sometimes be annoyed when I ask him about his whereabouts because I should have checked his roster first before asking him that.
Before he leaves for work, each one of us would send him off without fail and watch his airport transfer pick him up and drive off.
Sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, other times in the middle of the night. We would Salam him in advance before we go to bed.
And whenever he returns from work, everyone in the house would come to the front door, and salam him.
And I never realized how significant these rituals are until the MH370 incident occurred.
Each time he leaves for work,
he will be responsible for hundreds of lives
he will be responsible in connecting families together
he will be responsible in helping businessmen seal the deal
he will be responsible in realising wanderlust dreams of travellers
I remember once, a very old passenger in a wheelchair, waited for Ayah to meet him personally after a London-KL flight, he gave Ayah a thumbs up said, "Are you the Captain? Very smooth landing just now. Thank you!"
I beamed with pride inside.
But deep inside, our family knew, everytime he leaves for work, there is always a possibility of getting that fateful phone call, the possibility of him never returning home.
We have accepted that as part of our lives, every single day.
He underwent rigorous training to be where he is right now.
He has annual health checkup to ensure if he is fit to fly.
He has exams, just like students.
His flight manuals are as thick as my medical books.
He is as 'OCD' (meticulous as some would say) as you would want in any pilot flying your flight, ensuring everything is in place.
Even when it comes to punctuality, he isn't a minute late nor a minute early if he says he's reaching a particular time. ... 'I'm reaching there in 7minutes. Standby'.
This, is a snippet of a life of a cabin crew's family.
Cabin crews sacrificed a lot just so they could help the world connect from point A to point B.
Let us give the families affected by flight MH370 our support, prayers and some privacy.
Before you pass judgement, point fingers, or even spread theories and speculations, remember that you will not only hurt the missing cabin crew's families, but you will hurt our feelings as an extended MAS family.
Wherever you are, MH370, we pray for your return.

A Captain's Daughter.

It was 10 years ago that my wife was responsible as volunteer in the MAS crisis team to be caregiver to assist the family of passengers and crews such as that of Captain Abdul Rahim Harun to deal with the shock and trauma that came with incident.

There were 239 passengers in which 153 passengers i.e. majority are Chinese nationals. There were Malaysians, Americans, Australians, Canadians, French, Indian, Indonesian, Dutch, Russian, Taiwanese, and two Iranians with stolen passports.  

And the Mrs had to be caregiver twice, again for the MH17 incident on July 17 the same year.

Conspiracy theories

Theories are abound in trying to explain what happened. As M Veera Pandiyan put as title for his column on March 13th last week, "Many theories, so little evidence." 

There was even a theory from within the diplomatic circle that MH370 was a number "they" did on Malaysia for Dato Najib's brave visit to Gaza on January 22, 2013, a feat the fearless Mahathir dare not pull off. 

There was a commonly believed theory that it involved the American base in the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia. When it happened in 2014, Mahathir held the view that someone was hiding information

He believed it was a covert operation and blamed it on CIA. It came about out of his insistence that Boeing has a global system to monitor the whereabout of its planes.

In 2018, the year he returned again as Prime Minister at the age of 97, he resurrected his view that MH370 was hijack remotely. Then DG for DCA, rebuked Mahathir's theory as "inappropriate, and without any substantive and verified evidence." 

On the 10 year anniversary on March 8th recently, retired and veteran Mingguan Malaysia journalist, Ku Seman Ku Hussain shared an article on Kayang Post which technically explained for Mahathir's CIA theory. 

The articled referred to December 1st 2016 article on Global Flight journal on the existence of a Boeing system called Advanced Route Evaluation System linked to CIA office. 

ARE enable CIA to monitor Boeing planes globally and as proactive measure to prevent plane hijack. It could remotely take control of the plane from the pilot and steer it to land at a designated airport safely. All Boeing planes in 2006 are installed such system. 

Mahathir claimed MH370 system was hacked.    

New search?

So much talk and conspiracy theory, but when Mahathir returned to be PM in 2018, he reviewed the agreement with US search company, Ocean Infinity with intention to end it

He announced it at the end of May. Bloomberg cited cost as the reason. Between 2014 to 2017, Malaysia, Australia and China spent US$157 million for the search. 

To comfort the aggrieved family, he said it will resume when new evidence surface. Relatives of the Chinese victims were upset with his decision. 

Last year in March, Mahathir went into his usual double talk self to express hope the search will resume. In the same breath, he asked to accept the fact the passengers and crew may never be found

Back in April 2014, columnist James Fallows of The Atlantic magazine expect such to come from him.  

Recently, before the 10th anniversary, Ocean Infinity made a new "no find, no fee" proposal to the Malaysian government. They claimed to have found evidence of the planes final resting place. 

Boeing expert claim evidence points to premeditated mass murder and the plane is buried in an ocean trench. Anthony Loke announced on March 3rd that the search will resume again. 

However Anwar is not giving them false hope the mystery can be solved. He understood the families are seeking a closure and justice. but asked the families of victims to manage their expectation

Perhaps he is reminding Mahathir for failing to fulfill families' expectation for the last 10 years.

Closure, justice and hope

On the night of the disappearance of MH370, there were prayers and hope for Malaysia Airlines. When MH17 crashed in June, hope for MAS was lost.

There was a feeling of anger and doom for MAS in view of the manner Khazanah was being theoretical and formulaic in the turnaround. For too long and repeatedly expressed, this blogger advocated that an Airline should be run by an Airliner.

It needs someone with hands on familiarity with the intricacies of commercial aviation and the range of knowledge from soft skills of hospitality and customer services to the high technology of aeronautical engineering. 

After 20 years of endless ordeals, novice experiments and repeated corporate restructurings, MAG registered its first profit to reverse the 2021 loss of RM767 million to turn in an operating profit of RM556 million in 2022 on the back of a strong 4th quarter net profit after tax for 2022 of RM1.146 billion

The net profit for first quarter till end March 2023 was RM450 million. No news on the latest number for 2023 but CEO Capt Izham is optimistic of a full year net profit. When BBC start to take notice and wrote 3 days ago, "How Malaysia Airlines came back from twin tragedies?", it could be for real. 

Yours truly is elated. In a matter of time, the real culprit that set the airline aback for 2 decades will be known and this blogger could meet his maker a satisfied man for a fight worthy of the dedication.

Congratulations to the airliners. The closure to MH370 would be the icing on the cake for MAS. Just do not do the Amokh to appoint the wrong CEO for the wrong needs of the company again.

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