A time for unity

str2_db_p17a_4colsThis is the period to embrace our loved ones and be thankful for the many blessings we have.

For the past week, Malaysians have mourned the tragic loss of the 298 lives on Flight MH17. The entire nation was shocked at the news of the plane being shot down on July 17. It’s hard to believe that barely six months after the unspeakable tragedy of Flight MH370, we are again united in grief. The news of MH17 was so devastating, so unjust, so senseless, that I broke down in tears when I heard about it.

I was so troubled by the horror, I couldn’t sleep. So many of my friends from Europe have flown this route. My son Max had flown this path before, too, on his way back after visiting his grandparents in Germany. It’s heartbreaking to think of all those children on that flight. I’m mourning for the loss of such young and innocent lives. My sincere condolences and my prayers to all the families and friends of the victims. May everyone on MH17 rest in peace.

The day after the news, I had to give a speech at a prize presentation ceremony for my “Enjoy A Safe And Stylish Balik Kampung” campaign. I couldn’t help but be emotional midway. I had to stop and ask everyone to join in a minute of silence for those on MH17 before I was able to continue.

The number of tragedies unfolding around the world is frightening. In Malaysia, we’ve seen our share of bad news in just seven months this year. I love my country and pray with all my heart that this incident marks the end of such sad news. It hurts me to see acts of violence and the senseless loss of lives. It hurts me even further when the suffering involves children. My heart breaks to see photos of children suffering in Gaza, or being the victims of disasters. I pray constantly for those children not to suffer. Children are the future, but they’re being killed before they can realise their potential.

It’s hard not to question the coincidence of such tragic events this year. Why Malaysia Airlines? Why Malaysia? It’s depressing to read the negative comments by Malaysians who put the blame on the airline, the pilots, or the government. We should be united and respect those who lost their loved ones in these incidents.

Regardless of what happened, I have always preferred to fly MAS and will continue to do so. Their service has always been good and it’s no use blaming them for tragedies that have affected them, too. I urge the public to give some respect and dignity to those who need it during this very tough time. This Raya, especially, we should be thankful for being able to enjoy the company of friends and family, and prepare together for the celebration. Show your love and do good deeds while you can.

I must say a heartfelt thank you to all my fans, customers and partners for their support. Without your help, Diana Danielle and I wouldn’t have been able to donate part of the proceeds from our sale for a two-month-old baby girl’s heart surgery. It wasn’t cheap; she needed RM45,000 and we were glad to show our love to her. We’re praying that she’ll recover quickly and we’ll see her back on her feet in no time, a little bundle of energy like all kids her age.

When Diana, some bloggers and my team visited the paediatric department at the IJN foundation, the sight of so many children with cardiovascular problems made our hearts ache, too. I felt for the parents, many of whom can’t afford the expensive treatments necessary for their children’s health. It’s my sincere hope that more people and corporations come together to help these poor kids.

I’d like to convey two wishes. One is for the Malaysian team to do us proud at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. I will be paying closer attention to our national athletes, having met a number of them when we launched their new outfits. My second wish is for all Malaysians and Muslims to enjoy the warmth and love of their friends and families during Hari Raya. I wish you many blessings this festive season, and may the world be more peaceful without weapons or violence. Let’s pray for a better tomorrow for our children.


>Award-winning fashion designer Melinda Looi tries to marry consumerism and materialism with environmental consciousness. She believes her greatest creations are her kids. Send your feedback to star2@thestar.com.my.

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