Wednesday, March 12, 2014

MH370: From deep within comes the sludge.

"It is a capital mistake to theorise in advance of data."
The recent tragedy involving the missing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, needless to say, is devastating. Friends, family, why, the entire nation (Malaysia as well as China and other countries where some of the passengers come from) is keeping their fingers crossed, some praying, some hoping, some believing that the passengers and crew are still alive. It’s nerve wrecking especially for those having sleepless day and night waiting at the KLIA airport and the hotel in Putrajaya where some are invited to spend their waiting hours.
In the midst of it all are the authorities involved with the investigation, the ministers, the civil aviation authority, Malaysian Airlines personnel, and eager beaver media folks waiting to feed readers and viewers any scrap of information available. And, among them comes the sort of sludge that arises from deep water when it is disturbed…the worst kind. The kind that take it to the worst possible media platform – the social media, especially the Facebook.

Of late, we see some nitwit from the opposition party mocking Malaysian Airlines, and indirectly the government on twitter, and he was lambasted. Then, it comes knocking in your own social media doors when you see disparaging comments on the people who are spending sleepless nights trying to recover the aircraft and its passengers. Calling the authorities moron, as if these users have had an IQ competition with the personnel involved and scored the highest, when they are probably resting at home, having iced tea, and knocking about the keypad or keyboard thinking they are the greatest gift to mankind since Sherlock Holmes; like finding fault with the authorities is akin to solving the Jack the Ripper murders.

I am pro-government, meaning I am for all good governance, no matter which party is on board. So far I am fine with the opposition running the state I am in right now (Selangor, when I have not stepped on KL). Personally the members of the Islamic party, PAS, are swell folks, still maintaining the Budi Bahasa Sopan Santun culture so prevalent back in days among the Malaysian, especially the Malay community. The buck stops when it comes to politics.

I still recall during the first day of working as a reporter for a business newspaper, I picked up News Straits Times daily, known for being staunch pro-ruling party, when a colleague took notice and said, “So, it’s true you are from Johor”. The joke is, I am from the very state which had been fiercely loyal to Barisan Nasional, the ruling party that has been in control of Johor for a long time.

No thanks to the firm grip on the state, when growing up in Johor, we treated those who are supporters of the opposition with suspect. But recently, when the whole Anwar Ibrahim episode come rolling down like an avalanche, the young blokes including those from my state found it especially endearing to be anti-government ie anti-ruling party, and support the former deputy minister and education minister (Anwar was the minister when our education system went downhill during the 80s, the very product that belched out these flag bearers).

Not my parents,  brothers and I. I have heard about Anwar and his escapades way back in early 90s, thanks to my brother who was working in Carcosa Seri Negara (where ministers and diplomats hang out or meet other minister and diplomat blokes and gals) and he said that he had never seen anyone as insecured as Anwar, barging down the lobby with security details that will make the US President cry “unfair”. Not the then Prime Minister, (now Tun) Dr. Mahathir who prefers to amble about on his own saying hi to the staff, do his meets and rush back to either his office or home.  

Now that the aircraft is missing, armchair political analyst are crying “Conspiracy!”. And one of it involves the very Anwar’s determination to take over Selangor state and make his way to Putrajaya, the country’s administration city (planned during Mahathir’s time, by the way). Very interesting theory that is, get a plane in which the majority are Chinese national, have it disappear so that the entire nation would be worried about the aircraft and its passenger, not a politician who is charged for (attempting to?) poking his sexual appendage at the legally prohibited hole. And in turn, earn the wrath of the very country which Malaysia can be proud of calling a friend while being as neutral as she can (the buck stops at Israel though, I got no issues with that, I don’t like the side braid).

Then, of course, the critics of the ruling party had a good time rolling down the social media aisle, laughing their posterior with hole in it off, when a Bomoh was called in to aid the search for the missing plane. If eleven countries got together, with technology that would make George Lucas have sex with himself, still have issues finding the goddam plane, I am sure desperate folks would insist on getting non-scientific help. It is not also helped that the Bomoh was said to have predicted that the aircraft was in air. The critics ran out of aisle to laugh their sagging buttholes off.

Then of course, the criticism that the authorities are unprofessional. I thought they were, they were polite too. I have been to and covered many press conferences where I felt like shoving my tape recorder onto the collective mouths of the blokes and gals supposed to respond to the media yelling, “say Aaaaah!” like a frickin dentist.

This time, the prime minister and the others at least talked and assured that it is too early to divulge anything because more than these poor reporters, it is the grieving family looking for answer, or closure who needs to know first. And frankly, they got nothing to say except that whatever was blown out of proportion by social media and some irresponsible online media is not true until verified.

This brings me back to something I posted in response to that, that was said by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle through his creation, Sherlock Holmes: “Never theorise in advance of data”.  In this age where data is available anywhere, everywhere, for anyone and everyone, information has no value. Revealing what they know so far about the missing aircraft is not going to hurt anyone. Because, once everything cools down, everyone will go back to their miserable lives, updating their Facebook statuses, sharing imbecilic jokes, copying and sharing uncredited quotes, or some positive self-help shit that is not going to get me a good paying job, or posting pictures of friends and family members that are as interesting as last year’s torn calendars; and waging keyboard war with another knucklehead which will have as much contribution  to the growth of our society as a pimple on an elephant’s ass. And that includes me too.

But the family who has lost their loved ones? They will continue to grieve. In the meantime, there would be another tragedy that would stir the pond and get the sludge called social media truth seekers out floating like ones our family once saw below the Kota Tinggi waterfall – human turd.

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