2014: Annus Horribilis

MH 370. MH 17. And now, QZ 8501. 2014 is shaping up to be an annus horribilis extraordinaire for Malaysia. Inevitably, there has been a number of conspiracy theories flying around: how can it really be a coincidence, they say, that we are observing such a succession of calamities, one after the other, over the course of a year?

Obviously, the odds are very slim for such a succession of terrible coincidences to take place, all within a year, all relating to a country whose two airline carriers boast one of the best safety records in the region, prior to 2014? It is all very befuddling, confusing, and for some, rather intriguing. Perhaps there are hidden hands, pulling the strings of cosmic malfeasance which has led to successive tragedies in this year which is slowly coming to a close?

Unlike some of my compatriots, I prefer to keep a calmer perspective. There are myriad reasons why God tests us, and sometimes those tests can come thick and fast. This is what I believe, anyways: that the hands of God can easily giveth and taketh away, and sometimes we may be left in a daze, trying hard to understand the reason and rationale behind the calamities that befall us.

Obviously, these pontifications are all cold comfort for those who are losing friends, siblings, parents, children. To them, my sincerest condolences and commiserations. The most wrenching pain often comes without much warning, or even meaning. Human souls are often left asking “why”, trying to make sense of tragedies.

The human mind is always restless, always searching for that faint thread of narrative that will somehow “explain” our lives and our sorrows. This is how our mind works: we grapple with the disconnected bits of reality and try to fashion some semblance of meaning, even when the random occurrences of reality may actively resist such neat explanations. Maybe such “meaning” will always be elusive. Maybe God wants us to continue to marvel at His Majesty, be it in triumph or in tragedy.

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