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THE AL GILKES COLUMN: Searching for some closure

Al Gilkes

THE AL GILKES COLUMN: Searching for some closure

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THE CONFUSION SURROUNDING the over two-week disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 brought back to mind an old calypso from back in the day about how everybody wanted to know and everybody wanted to hear how some man got cut with a potty.
But while that Bajan incident would have been one that evoked much laughter, this current situation involving the missing plane is one that is cause for grave concern as with every passing day the relatives of crew and passengers alike become more and more frustrated and angry over the lack of information about the fate of their loved ones.
I read about a 30-year-old IT engineer from Beijing, whose father and mother were both on board the flight as part of a group of Chinese artists touring Malaysia, bemoaned, “Biggest of all is the emotional turmoil I’ve been going through. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. I’ve been dreaming of my parents every day.”
The plane’s disappearance on its way from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 has hit China particularly hard, with 153 of the 239 people on board being citizens of the People’s Republic.
But what boggles the mind has to do with how, in this age of technology so advanced that few of us can wrap our brains around the true extent, can a whole airliner vanish into thin air, as it were, without a trace?
As would be expected, a new theory surfaces every day about the jet’s fate as with few known facts and an increasingly bizarre set of circumstances, many people turn to conspiracy theories, some as far-fetched as alien abduction.
But most disturbing has been the volume of Facebook and other social media reports encouraging readers to click on one link or another in order to see some shocking video of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. Take my advice and avoid those links because they are all scams.
You see videos with titles like “Malaysian Airlines missing flight MH370 found in sea – 50 people alive saved” all over the various sites, with one even claiming that the plane has been found in the Bermuda Triangle. It was subsequently proven that the photos used to promote that particular video were from an April 2013 aeroplane crash near Bali.
If you are get trapped by these so called shocking videos and click on a link, you more than likely will find yourself being asked to complete a survey before continuing. These links are designed to look like a Facebook survey requesting permission to gain access to your profile but by so doing you are giving hackers personal information which may be used against you by scam artists.
Another theory making the round was that the Boeing 777 might have been stolen, either for parts or to be used later in a terrorist attack. There was also one that Flight MH370 disappeared by hiding below another aircraft with its communication system turned off. And yet another suggested that it flew too high and disappeared into outer space.
Hopefully, the latest news about Chinese satellite images of what could possibly be the plane’s wreckage somewhere in the Indian Ocean results in closure for this most unusual of modern-day aviation mysteries.
Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm.