Annus Horribilis

It was supposed to be another ‘normal’ day. I woke up early, turned on the TV, switched to Astro Supersports to catch the Bulls game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Chicago’s United Centre. I was hoping that the Bulls, with Rose back and playing at his All-Star level, would continue their current five games winning streak.

While watching the game, I decided to do a little cleaning, I vacuumed under the sofa, swept the living room and mopped the floor.

Like I said, it was supposed to be a normal day, that is, until at about 12pm, when I saw a tweet with breaking news saying something that went by the tune of “Air Asia flight QZ8501 missing amidst flight from Surabaya to Singapore”.

The first thought that ran across my mind was, “shit, not another one”. We’ve one too many aviation catastrophes this 2014, the last thing we needed was to cap off the year with another misfortune.

We started with the missing MH370 tragedy earlier this year. To this day, we have yet to find the location, or the remains of the Malaysian Airlines plane. The tragedy brought together many countries, namely China, Thailand, Australia, Singapore and many others, in a large scale search and rescue (later on modified to search and recover) effort to locate the missing plane. On a side note, this tragedy also brought the word ‘unprecedented’ into fashion.

Still reeling from the loss off MH370, we were again shocked by the felling of another national aircraft MH17 over Ukraine. The plane, flying from Amsterdam, heading towards Malaysia, was brought down after being struck by what a report describes as ‘multiple high energy impacts’, killing all 298 passengers and crew. We don’t know who did it, but all fingers are pointing at Russian supporting rebels in Ukraine.

Earlier this month, the East Coast of Malaysia was hit by heavy rains, resulting in the worst case of flooding ever seen. As at last count, almost 160,000 people were displaced from their homes. Reports are indicating a third wave of flooding to hit Malaysia to strike beginning the 29th of December (which is tomorrow, as of this post’s drafting).

And finally this, we’ve lost another plane,Air Asia, QZ8501. Which, as of writing, we’ve yet to locate. I sincerely hope we find the plane and all passengers and crew, unharmed.

There you go, it has been a tough year for Malaysia. The silver lining is that whilst despite the squabbles that we see  online, Malaysians are generally united in hoping for the best.

I must say though, that even if three aviation disasters are very improbable, I doubt that there are conspiracies behind all this. Shit happens, and we mustn’t always be looking for patterns that aren’t there. The more important questions to ask from all these events are; could what have happened be stopped? If they can, what can we do to prevent them from happening in the future?

I hate that we’ll have to finish off the year on such an awful note, but, channelling the optimist in me (whatever I can scrape that is), I hope that we’ve reached the bottom, and that the only way to go now is up.

Here’s to a less moribund year end, and to a much, much better 2015 ahead for everyone.


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