In the days when I used to travel by plane, the home coming flight was mostly with MAS. The fare is cheaper as it was coming home compared to others. I have flown with several others and most of these flights had their own merits.
Founded some 46 years ago, Malaysian Airlines or MAS has been flying across the various continents carrying passengers and at the same time playing the Ambassador to this small nation that “nestled between Thailand and Singapore”, two of the better known countries to many. The well known sarung kebaya with its distinctive design of kelarai or bamboo weave pattern is as Malaysian as it can get.
My own personal experience with MAS has started ever since I was young. My dad used to take me to the then International Airport in Subang and we would stand at the balcony admiring the take-offs and landings. All these images are in black and white in my mind. Everything looked so big. The first opportunity to fly in a plane was only when I was 15. The flight was a short and sweet 45 minutes from Kuala Lumpur to Penang.
When I was 17 and right after completing my SPM, I headed out to not one, but THREE flight stewardess interview with MAS. In my mind, this was one of the ways to see the world. Being a petite (then) 46kg and only stood at 5 feet tall rendered me not suitable for the position.
About 5 years ago, I was also a part of consulting team to present to MAS a career transition program for its employees as it was going through one of its hardest transformation phases in its journey as an airline.
The MH 17 incident touched the lives and hearts of many nations. 298 passengers consisting of several nationalities as well as birds and a couple of dogs (must have been someone’s pets) in this tragedy. Numerous FB postings and Tweets went across the cyber space and all looking for answers to this atrocity. But so many were also bashing the national carrier for something that may be beyond their control. The past glory that this national carrier had surpassed many others for many years and it is just so unfortunate that it is now saddled with so many internal issues. The double whammy came in when the MH 370 incident is still unresolved and now we have MH 17 bombing tragedy. We were proud of this airlines when it brought Malaysian glories across the globe years before and when it is kneeling down, it is abandoned by its own people who not only fail to understand why the tragedy occurs but also due to their own political agendas.
Where are your spirit of nationalism? There are so many things in the country that can represent the nationalism spirit and the national airlines is one of it. The tragedy has nothing to do with the “Malay Muslim pilot who is fasting” or nothing to do with some “jihadists who wanted to down the infidels.”
I recall walking the bridge towards the MAS plane en route home. The logo emblazoned across its tail and the familiar “Selamat Datang” greetings makes me feel “almost home”.
Because, no matter where it is, the plane will always take me home.