The MH 370 tragedy has brought Malaysians of all ethnic backgrounds together in sadness — and in anxiety. Though the feelings generated by tragedies of this kind are often ephemeral, they have an impact upon the soul of the nation.

MH 370 is part of our collective consciousness today. It will be etched forever on our collective memory.

The 38 Malaysian passengers on board MH 370 come from different religious and cultural communities. The rest of the passengers are of different nationalities, a majority of whom are from China.

The 12 member Malaysian crew of MH 370 is also truly multi-ethnic.

Malaysia’s varied religious groups are offering prayers for the safety of the passengers and crew of the ill-fated flight. It is commendable that former Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, joined Buddhists at a special prayer session at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

In the larger ASEAN context, in spite of an ongoing squabble over competing maritime claims in the South China Sea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines have joined Malaysia in the search and rescue operation. Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia which are not part of that tiff are also rendering a lot of assistance. From outside the region, the United States and Australia are providing valuable help. Indeed, experts from all over the world are working together with the able and competent Malaysian search and rescue operation team to solve the perplexing mystery of the missing aircraft.

It is noteworthy that a number of air-safety analysts and media commentators from abroad have acknowledged that Malaysian Airlines (MAS), widely regarded as a five star airline, has an outstanding air-safety record.

When nations pool their resources together in a common humanitarian effort directed towards people of different faiths and cultures, it becomes an act of great spiritual significance.


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