Wednesday, April 2, 2014
A Letter to the families and those on baord MH370
Quote here :
DR Julian Judson, the only son of Datuk Dr Judson Sakai Tagal who died in a helicopter crash in the thick jungle of Ba Kelalan in Lawas on July 12, 2004 reaches out and offer words of comfort and encouragement to the families of those aboard MH370, particularly Maira Elizabeth and the family of chief steward Andrew Nari from Sarawak.
AS I write this letter, dated March 27, 2014, planes and ships are scouring an area 154 square miles in size in the Indian Ocean, 1,500 miles from Perth, at coordinates 90° 25’ 19.20” E, 44° 41’ 24” S.
Their objective: locate a debris field of roughly 120 floating objects, the largest being 75 feet in size.
What the debris could be: wreckage from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the red eye flight bound for Beijing on March 8 that never arrived.
I have been following the news of the search ever since the story broke. Nothing else has dominated my conversations with colleagues and friends as much over the past three weeks. I have been hoping every day that each new lead would be ‘The Right One’, and have felt crushing disappointment when day by day — as hours turned into days, and days turned into weeks — the realisation that the chances of recovering any survivors were growing slimmer and visibly taking a toll on all involved.
And then, the news that everyone was dreading was delivered on March 24 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. Based on satellite data, the investigators concluded that MH370 had ended in the Indian Ocean. I know first-hand, the devastation that must have swept through the families of those on board as well as the collective grief of nations that had lost citizens and had spared no expense in manning one of the largest search and rescue operations in aviation history.
I know first-hand, the grief caused, because my own father, Dr Judson Tagal, whom I loved and adored, was in a helicopter crash that took his life, and the life of six other good men — Lawrence Th’ng, Roger Wong, Datuk Marcus Raja, Jason Eng, Ling Tian Ho and Samsuddin Hashim — who had been flying reconnaissance above the valleys of Ba Kelalan, plotting sites for electrical lines.
Their crashed helicopter was only found 18 days later, by brave VAT 69 commandos who had rappelled from a police helicopter over the suspected crash site. As our families and Sarawak united in grief, the following days were a misty haze of activity, funerals, and condolences. What stood out vividly in my memory, were the kindness and understanding of relatives, friends, and complete strangers.
Friends who cried with me and who just sat and listened to my hurt and pain. Complete strangers who reminisced about my father and grieved alongside us. Those who held us in their thoughts and prayers, and who let us know, both in word and in deed. I was comforted in the fact that my family and I were not alone, with a God above, who knew everything — and people around us, who felt the same, as we did.
And in the same way, I would reach out to the stricken families of the souls on MH370, and especially to the families of chief steward Andrew Nari, particularly Maira Elizabeth and say — you are not alone in your grief.
We grieve together with you in this time of pain and sorrow, and we are so sorry that despite the heroic efforts of the search and rescue teams, it has all come to naught. We remember you and the loved ones you have lost in our prayers, and we ask God for his comfort and peace that transcends all understanding and tragedy to uphold you in this time.
The days ahead will be painful, and often, will be filled with heartache that may seem beyond what you may be able to bear. And should you reach a point where the pain and sense of loss overwhelms all else, fall then, on God and the comfort that only He can bring. Be comforted by the presence of those around you who love you, and are loved by you. Be comforted by the happy memories that you have had with your loved ones, and continue to honour them by striving to live a life of kindness and love towards others, as they would have wanted you to.
Remember them, in the way a dear friend of my dad remembers him.
“My dear Judson, now that you have been taken from us, we miss you and there is a deep pain in our hearts. We miss you in Bario, we miss you in Pa Lungan, we miss you in Ba Kelalan, and we miss you in all the other places among the hills and mountains of the highlands.
“We miss your smile, we miss your jokes, and we miss your presence and laughter.
“Remember the time we went fishing and boating in the ulu among the rapids and waterfalls.
“Remember the time on the golf course when you got a par or birdie.
We still remember your laughter and your joy.”
Remember them well.
Dr Julian Judson