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I'm sorry three of your family members died. What are you feeling now?

NewsOpinions

On Christmas Day, we read about a tragedy that happened in Malaysia - two cars collided in Mersing, and the sole survivor was a four-year-old boy. His parents and brother unfortunately died in the crash, along with the female rider in the other sedan. His picture was floated on Social Media, because the authorities in Malaysia was (apparently) trying to locate his kin. MFA quickly stepped in, and that was that.

On Boxing Day, we read that the boy - five-year-old - was calling for his parents, and that the family members of the deceased had retrieved the bodies.

Today we read that the boy - no, earlier reports were wrong, he’s actually three - was still confused, and calling for his family. We learned about the decreased’ occupations, found out that they were members of a local church, and got interviews with the family; the boy will now be cared for by his maternal grandparents.

I don’t know what we will be getting tomorrow.

My question is: is there truly a need to harass the poor boy and his family, in the quest for — for what, again? There’s no “truth” to be found here; it’s a tragedy, plain and simple. How far must journalism go to satiate the curiosity of the masses, at the expense of the family members who aren’t even allowed to grieve in peace? What do you expect the family members will be feeling? Three family members died at the same time. Do we really need an interview to know that they are grieving? 

There is, of course, the question of demand and supply. If people weren’t clicking into it, CNA / TODAY/ Sin Ming etc. wouldn’t be flooding social media with the news of this accident in particular. But isn’t that why we punish drug peddlers more than their abusers? This is an exaggeration, surely, but there are simply some impulses that shouldn’t be encouraged; some news that shouldn’t be sensationalised just for the extra revenue that comes with readership. Have all newspapers degenerated into tabloids in the age of social media?

I cannot speak for the family, and I am not denouncing the work of journalists - but I am asking for empathy in place of curiosity, for quiet prayers and reflections in place of heated debates.

May there be peace.

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