This is a highly technologized world. Without smartphones and the internet, many in society feel completely lost. However, the outrageous text message that was sent out to the family of those lost on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 sends a clear message that the airlines is returning to business as usual without a thought about those grieving their loss.
No one can dispute that the loss of this flight is a story that has stunned the world. Many nations were involved in the search for the missing plane; however, to send a text message to the families of the missing prior to the press conference held by Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak only adds to the sense that Malaysia continues to handle this tragedy poorly.
It is, of course, understood that the passengers from the doomed flight were from a myriad of nations. However, Malaysia Airlines should have taken the time to set up a conference call…Skype…FaceTime…any and all of these would have sent the signal that Malaysia Airlines feels for the people involved in this tragedy and will take the due diligence and care they should when delivering the impossible news that their loved ones would not be coming home.
By many accounts, though, this is not what happened. CNN reports, via Twitter, that Malaysia Airlines sent out a text message. A text message is a convenient way of communicating that milk needs to be brought home on the way from work, or that supper will be late getting on the table; a text message is not a way to definitively tell a group that encompasses the family and friends of those lost on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that their loved ones perished.
Society’s increasing reliance on technology has meant that people have become numb to the courtesies that used to be so commonplace. Expectations for kindness have somehow dropped along the way. Text messaging, while a convenient mode of communication, has replaced the common kindnesses and warmth that come with face-to-face – or at the very least voice-to-voice – communication.
The news that the flight met an ultimately tragic end comes as no real surprise at this point. It has been two weeks since contact was lost with the flight. It is understandable that family members have been praying for a miracle for their loved ones and hoping that somehow their parents, partners and children would find their way home. The tragedy brings, at the very least, closure for these families who have been left in limbo for weeks.
But to coldly send a mass text message to those affected by this profound tragedy defies understanding. While some allowances can be made for cultural differences – there are, after all, routines and emotional responses that are more common to some cultures than for others – there is no excuse that can be made for the insensitive way in which this was handled. This is cold-hearted bureaucracy at its finest. Send the text, and business can continue as usual. However, for 239 families and their friends, their lives will never be the same. That changed two weeks ago when they received word that their loved ones were missing. The loss is only made more tragic by the coldly unforgivable text message from Malaysia Airlines that families received.
By Christina St-Jean