Saturday, 19 July 2014

Teacher uses MH17 to teach students a valuable lesson

The New Paper, 18 Jul 2014

A local teacher Matthew Zachary Liu used the MH17 tragedy to teach a heartwarming, valuable lesson to his primary 3 students.

After overhearing a conversation between two poly students joking about MH17 on the way to school, he decided that his class would not be a typical one.

He posted on Facebook earlier today: "As I walked into class today, I told my students not to take out their textbooks just yet; that we're going to have a chat instead.

"I then wrote MH17 on the board and asked the class of 40+ nine-year-olds if anyone knew the significance of it."

Liu said that only a handful knew about the latest aviation tragedy so he informed them about the flight that was shot down in eastern Ukraine.

The mood shifted noticeably when he informed them that close to 300 people died.

When he asked them how they felt, a few students stood up and said they felt sad because people have lost their love ones. They also acknowledged that it could have easily been a Singapore plane.

What if it was an SQ plane?

Liu asked them to imagine how many would care if this happened to a Singapore Airlines flight. Every single student raised their hand.

The students said: "Someone we know could have been on that plane... my father, my mother, my cousin..."

Liu said: "This was when I got them to think about a scenario where one of their classmates weren't in class today because he/she was on the plane and the last thing the class said or did to this now missing classmate was bully/tease him or her. How much would they feel now that they're never going to see this missing classmate again?"

He then asked the students to turn to the person beside them and give them a pat on the back and tell them you cherish them.

The class did as he instructed while breaking out into smiles and laughter.

"One kid even walked across the classroom to give her friend a hug," said Liu.

Latest disaster a unifying force for Malaysians

By Wong Chun Wai, Published The Straits Times, 22 Jul 2014

IT WAS 7.35pm on a Friday night at Angkasapuri. The Prime Minister had just started to break his fast with a sip of water and a small bite of a date when a phone call came in.

His aide whispered to him that it was from the United Nations Secretary-General.

The conversation between Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Mr Ban Ki Moon took almost 15 minutes, during which they exchanged views on the MH17 tragedy. When it was over, Mr Najib gave an outline of his conversation to those of us at the same table who were watching what was taking place.

"I am waiting for a call from (President Vladimir) Putin in the next 30 minutes," Mr Najib said as he finally managed to start his actual meal.

When the Russian President finally called at around 8.30pm, Mr Najib had to quietly excuse himself to go to a nearby room to escape from the loud music playing near the table. This time, the conversation seemed shorter.

His aides quickly found time to brief him before his nationwide television appearance over RTM which was coming up.

The Prime Minister has had little sleep since the shooting down of MH17 on Thursday night by what is believed to be a Soviet-era Buk surface-to-air missile. Ironic as it sounds, the Russians had tried to sell the Buk system to the Malaysian military in the 1990s.

By Mr Najib's own admission, it all seemed unreal. When he received a late night call from a top MAS official on Thursday night, he said, he sensed it would not be good news. If the word "unprecedented" was repeatedly used by the then acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, to describe the MH370 tragedy, which until now remains unresolved, the same word could also be used in this latest tragedy.

No airline has ever been involved in two major disasters within a span of four months and involving so many passengers. It appeared that lightning had indeed struck twice on the unfortunate Malaysia Airlines.

For ordinary Malaysians, it is what we call "sial" in Bahasa Malaysia. Translated, it means bad luck.

There are just three key questions from Malaysia: Was MH17 shot down? And if yes, who gave the order and who were the aggressors? And, finally, what action will be taken against the culprits?

This is simply cold-blooded murder of the highest degree. It is a pure criminal act and 298 innocent lives have been lost for a quarrel that is not ours. MH17 found itself caught in this disgusting feud between Russia and Ukraine.

As Mr Najib rightly pointed out, Malaysians are victims of a geo-political war. It has gone beyond just two countries as the big powers take sides.

As a nation, the majority of Malaysians are standing together as one and I am glad of this. It has been very decent of opposition Democratic Action Party adviser Lim Kit Siang to urge Malaysians to rally behind Mr Najib as we grapple with this sadness.

The tragedy has brought back some common sense to us, reminding us that as a country and as a people, we all share many things together - the joys and the pains - regardless of our race and religion. As mortals, we lead fragile lives. Away from all those silly racial trivialities that have disturbed us, we need to worry about bigger issues. We will stand together, Malaysia.



Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 shot down in Ukraine
Don’t Blame Malaysia Airlines

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