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March 26, 2014

Following The Missing Plane

Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – It has been about two and a half weeks since the plane – Malaysian Flight MH 370 – has disappeared into nothingness. They are now searching in the southeast Indian Ocean for any trace.


In the Star, Malaysia's English language daily, headlines continue to abound – like "Search continues in Troubles Waters," "Chinese satellite captures image of floating object," "Search in Indian Ocean continues despites cyclone," "Zaharie's family seeks refuge," “Bomoh apps numbering more than 40, and growing," and on and on.


The local television stations have a notice that covers a small part of the screen which state "Search Mission, Day 19." The Astro channels (our cable TV. service) have a local channel that runs 24 hours per day. The station advertises about three times (or more) an hour with a silent notice which runs under the screen or interrupts the entire program. It informs people to change the channel to 501 where newscasters are broadcasting about the incident.


In shopping centers, huge murals have a large picture of the airplane and a place to write something. The sentiments are written in Malay, Jawi, Chinese and English.


There are some uniquely Malaysian things. A bomoh (a shaman, for lack of a better translation) has thrown in his weirdness and added some powers from the world beyond. I am sure others have tossed in their two cents worth also. The captain of the ship has been blamed for the incident and his family has taken the brunt of the cat calls. They are now in hiding.


The theories abound. Ong Hwee Hwee in the The Straits Times summarized in the best piece of writing here. She looked at all the approaches and quietly discounted them. The plane could have caught fire in mid-air; it could have stalked another airplane to avoid radar detection; the plane could have used "terrain masking" technique; the plane could have exploded in mid-air; and the plane had a structural issue. They all have been trashed.


We wonder why the plane had to be a Malaysian Airlines one. Just fate, I guess. At least everyone knows where Malaysia is now.


But, life is slowly getting back to normal. A by election – one held to fill a political office that has become vacant between regularly scheduled elections – has come and gone with not much fanfare. It was that guy who was convicted of sodomy, twice, and they finally got him. His wife took his place and won.


There is another by election to be held here in Sarawak, replacing the chief minister, who resigned and was promoted to the top spot of president.


More than half of the Chinese community is computer illiterate, needing to go to smart phones or tablets, according to the Borneo Post. There will be a training session for them.


There is not much to write about except the plane is missing and they don't know where to find it. I see by one news report that the French have discovered something floating in the southeast Indian Ocean, just north of the roaring forties. Another guy just said the plane bounced and ended up in the South China Sea, hundreds of thousands of kilometres from where they are looking now.


And so we wait, and wait and wait, and life continues.


...Life is good. . . . .


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