Nat King Cole had a song called “Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer”. Do you remember? Well, these days Malaysia is certainly experiencing the Hazy and the Crazy and some might even say the Lazy and all not in a good way.
The search for missing flight MH370 with 239 souls on board, now entering the 9th day, has been gripping the nation’s attention and that of most of the world too. It has been a grueling 9 days for the families awaiting word about their loved ones on board as well as for all the investigators and searchers involved.
However, the whole thing has also evolved into a crazy circus; from the way the Malaysian authorities have managed the press conferences and briefings for the relatives with the frequent dearth of actual information or worse peppered with contradictory statements, denials and false leads, to the ever expanding search area which grew from the relatively small area of sea between Malaysia and Vietnam where the plane disappeared from the ATC radar to the now wide swath of both land and sea ranging from the borders of Kazakhstan in Central Asia to the Indian Ocean near Australia. The search area now encompasses an unbelievable 10 % of the world surface and includes the world’s highest mountain ranges to some of the deepest stretches of oceans. Up to now 25 nations have become involved in the search.
Then there is also the craziness of the bomoh (or Malay shaman) and his followers carrying out rituals at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport which involved coconuts, a magical bamboo binoculars and a mystical flying carpet for the stated purpose of removing the influences of evil spirits which were hiding the plane and hampering search efforts.
His self proclaimed title is Raja Bomoh Sedunia Nujum VIP which translates to “The Very Important Person, Clairvoyant King of all the world’s Shamans”. It is reported that he claimed at the end of his first session a few days ago that the spirit realm had told him that “the plane was still in the air or that it had crashed in the sea”. Despite what Dogbert would call the “Gross Prophet Margin”, he might still be wrong if it turns out the plane has landed somewhere in Central Asia.
Still more criticism has been aimed at the perceived slow (lazy?) pace of the investigations led by the Malaysian authorities. For example, many query why investigators did not go to the homes of the pilots sooner especially to examine a flight simulator at one of the pilot’s home until just two days ago.
The only distraction to all of this for Malaysians is the ongoing drought and water shortages affecting 2.5 million Malaysians as well as our food crop and palm oil crop. Water rationing has been going on for about three weeks now. The dry weather has also caused bush and forest fires with extremely bad air pollution and haze as a result. Yesterday I woke up in the early hours of the morning smelling smoke and thinking there was a fire but then realising that the haze was particularly bad.
And so, pity Malaysia as we seem stricken by a trifecta of ills – lazy, hazy and crazy days are here.