Articles, Opinions & Views: Malaysia Airlines, MH3: The flight from hell by Mariam Mokhtar

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No Atheists
In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Malaysia Airlines, MH3: The flight from hell by Mariam Mokhtar
Monday, July 30, 2018
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | Malaysia Airlines, in particular, MH3 from London’s Heathrow Airport to Kuala Lumpur, should be renamed the airline from hell. Ask the passengers who were stranded at Heathrow on Friday, July 27.
They received an email at 0300 hours on Friday morning, to inform them that their flight, which should have departed at 10.45am London time, would be delayed till 12 noon. Who reads emails at that ungodly hour? A few more hours in bed would have been appreciated. Some passengers had also flown in from Europe. Some had purchased tickets the day before. If they had known, about the delays, they would have chosen another airline.
When the MAS passengers checked-in at Heathrow, they found “closed” check-in counters. When asked, the few unhelpful ground crew employees sitting behind their desks would point towards another area of the huge complex, and say “Go there”. No reason was forthcoming. “There” was apparently “Counter 1” of the MAS Customer Services desk, where a long queue was visible.
Whilst dragging his trolley towards “Counter 1”, a redirected passenger would pass around 70 people, in another queue. These MAS passengers had allegedly been told to gather for hotel bookings. Around the corner, was a third queue of 50, or more, passengers, who were told a different story. These three queues did not appear to be moving. Only two ground crew employees were manning the front desks at Counter 1. An Airbus A380 fits around 550 passengers. This is the summer holiday.
Why did MAS fail to communicate with the passengers? There was no warning about cancellation. The notice boards said the flight would depart at 12.30pm. Is grim silence the standard operating procedure (SOP) for cancellations? Two MAS employees who appeared, beat a hasty retreat when passengers approached them for information. Another new SOP?
Mothers with babies among the stranded
An Heathrow Airport employee, who was approached for help, proved more useful than the MAS ground crew.
Mothers with babies and young children were among the stranded. Businessmen would be late for meetings. Two passengers had to attend funerals and the delay meant they would be unable to attend the cremations. Another had to attend a wedding. Many had connecting flights from KLIA.
Passengers travelling on their own would wait ages in a queue, only to be told that they were in the wrong queue. If they left their bags unattended while seeking information about MH3, the luggage would be destroyed by security staff.
One person who complained on Twitter, said that on the previous day (Thursday), one passenger had tweeted that their MH3 had been cancelled. That MH3 had taken off one day later (on Friday). So why were MH3 flights on consecutive days cancelled? What is happening? Was MH3, on Saturday, also cancelled?
Was it a technical error? No one knows because they were not told. Was it adverse weather conditions? Unlikely, as other flights were operating, normally. Had a crew member, like the pilot, been taken ill? As far as we are aware, there is a backup crew on standby. Is it strike action by MAS? Unlikely. Did MAS run out of money to pay for aviation fuel? Who knows? Remember a few years ago, when on two days, MAS passengers were told that their luggage could not be put on the plane because of headwinds?
Passengers are not unreasonable people
Did the airline need a particular spare-part to be flown in from KLIA? Passengers are not unreasonable people. They know the importance of safety. They understand that weather may affect the flight schedule. MAS management’s inability to communicate is both irresponsible and unprofessional and has let everyone down. MAS and Umno-Baru have two things in common. Brand loyalty.
The party faithful think that their party can do no wrong. The rakyat tolerated the previous regime because they were afraid of change. Despite a corrupt and under-performing Umno-Baru, they still voted for the party at every general election. That was until GE14, when the rakyat decided “Enough is enough!”
Despite the cost (MAS is one of the more expensive airlines for long-haul flights), poor service, shabby interiors and low-quality meals, loyal Malaysians still fly with MAS because they love their national carrier – brand loyalty. Many destinations across the world – North and South America and Africa have been axed. London is its only European destination. It is a farce to call the airline “International”.
When Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman (photo) retired as the CEO and managing director of MAS, he left MAS with RM5 billion cash reserves. When he was the CEO, MAS employees received yearly bonuses. Today, it is a different story, altogether.
The day that Khazanah and the government stop any political interference and politically-connected bureaucrats in MAS will be the day for rejoicing by all Malaysians. If MAS employees are demoralised, what about its passengers? After the MH3 palaver at Heathrow last week, passengers may finally say, “Enough is enough. We will fly with another, more reliable, airline.”
The management staff of MAS seem to be burying their heads in the sand and hoping that their irate passengers will forget about the problem. This is a tactic that was employed by Umno-Baru and their cronies; many still hope that the rakyat will forget about 1MDB.
The concepts of openness and accountability are part of the new foundations that are needed to restore the economic and social health of Malaysia. If the management of MAS cannot adapt to the New Malaysia, they will have to be replaced.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 2:22 PM  
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