2014 – A Year in Retrospect

“Three more days. I can’t wait for 2015 to come.” – Z, my bureau chief. 

I couldn’t agree with him more. It hasn’t been a good year – in particular for Malaysia, which has been inundated with tragedies and disasters. It was almost like someone was deliberately out to get us… or maybe we just have really rotten luck.

What started off as just another Sunday at work for us journalists quickly turned into a hotbed of activity. Holidays were cancelled; some of the workforce recalled as we received news of yet another missing plane. Barely eight months down the road after Malaysia Airlines MH370 disappeared without a trace on March 8, we woke up to devastating messages in our groupchat this morning, saying that an Indonesian AirAsia plane had gone missing en route Surabaya to Singapore. The search is still underway for the plane as I write this. Let’s hope the close to 200 people on board are safe somewhere… but it has been hours and no news is not exactly good news in this sort of situation.  :'(

Aviation disasters abound this year. MH17 (also a Malaysian aircraft) was shot down while flying over the Ukraine/Russian border. The plane was carrying mostly Dutch citizens, and nobody survived the crash. You’d think that two such accidents happening is already a chance of one in a million, but three within the span of a year? What are the odds? Although AirAsia Indonesia is essentially an independent entity that carries the name of AirAsia, many are saying that, you know. AirAsia IS a Malaysian company, with headquarters in KL.

So, what are the odds?

The two earlier tragedies have already claimed a few hundred lives – we really do not need more lives lost in such a sad way. The families, the people on board who all had high hopes and dreams which were tragically cut short.

It’s not just airplane disasters and whatnot. It’s just been a generally shitty year.The rise of religious extremists and militants, even in my peaceful Malaysia which has always been known to champion a ‘moderate’ version of religious tolerance, are becoming increasingly rampant. People who have actual brains are silenced and persecuted, while extremists, bigots and racists run rampant, dominating the public space and getting away scot-free with inciting hatred and sowing discord. Leaders stay silent out of fear or selfishness. Politicians are allowed to talk about burning Bibles and are not even punished, while those deemed ‘insulting’ certain religions are charged under the Sedition act.

The worst floods to hit the East Coast states have left 160,000 people displaced, and some people have drowned. Meanwhile, the authorities there are busy squabbling about implementing ‘God’s law’ aka hudud (Islamic law) – a sure step back towards the stone age with laws such as cutting off limbs for stealing, etc. The first people who should have their limbs cut off are corrupt officials, but of course, these so-called ‘laws’ are only applicable to a select part of the community. Instead of channeling their energies to helping the people affected by the floods, who are without clean water and food,  these politicians prefer to play moral police in their ‘righteous’ quest to become God’s law.

And it’s not just in Malaysia. There have been really sad things happening around the world.

The Palestinian-Israeli war. Murder of young children in Peshawar, Pakistan. I mean, war is never pretty but how can human beings kill innocent young children and still call themselves human beings? Even animals don’t kill just for the sake of killing.  The rise of ISIS, kidnapping and torturing women and children to become slaves. The Australian hostage situation. Boko Haram.

2014 has just been a bad year for a lot of people. Makes you wonder if the Mayans counted the end of the world by a few years off….

 

Personally, 2014 has been a good year for myself. But I find it hard to feel very happy about it when I hear news of such things happening around me everyday.

Let’s hope for a better 2015.

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