What a waste of lives!

The tragedy that happened in Penang yesterday, where a dragon boat on training capsized, could have been averted if people are more safety conscious.

It was reported that of whose were drown and or reported missing, only 1 was wearing a life jacket.

From the view of safety precaution, an open sea is a dangerous hazard, no matter how calm the sea may look.

So applying the principle of safety, it would be best to avoid the hazards; but in this case, since the rowers were taking part in a competition, training in an open sea is a necessity , so they would have no choice but to face this hazard.

But they could have chosen an area where the seas were calmer, to lessen the risk of this hazard.. It was reported that normally trainings were conducted in the calmer areas in Tanjung Bungah or Batu ferringhi, but this group chose to do it in a rougher sea. Any training of this sort must be accompanied by safety rescue boats with powerful motor and trained life gurads, but apparently this was not the case.

Then again, if all wore life jackets, it would have at least provided more buoyancy to the person wearing it, and being brightly coloured, life jackets would be more eye catching and easily for rescuers to see them.

I have swam in open seas before , and if a person goes 2 feet below the surface of sea level, you will never be able to see him clearly even if from a distance of a few feet.

So, never underestimate the power of the sea.

There is a Chinese saying that ” you can bully the hills, but never the water”, meaning that it would be safer to climb hills than go out in the seas or even playing in the river.

This is yet another case where safety measures as well as procedures were not adopted.  This came hardly a few weeks after the explosion of a new mall in Malacca, where safety procedures were again ignored resulting in a huge explosion.

Just a few minutes of observing safety procedures would have saved the lives of so many people,. What a waste !


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ahoo
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 15:31:35

    We, Malaysians tend to compromise on safety issue at hand. It is just so unfortunate that young lives have been lost due to pure ignorance on safety first in all that we do. My sincere condolences to all families involved and let the new state govt comes up with cetain guidelines that all group activities that involve going out to the open sea be monitored more strigently and are provided with safety rescue boat(s) as suggested by Dr Hsu.

    Not too long ago there was this ” ferry tragedy ” of Pulau Tioman. Wonder how are those old boats nowadays ? Are there sufficient rountine inspection done on the sea worthiness of it all ?


  2. Meng
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 15:51:41

    Precautions and safety measures are indeed lacking. Take for instant the occasional boat capsize in Pulau Besar malacca where lifejacket were not provided???

    Well you may never know when danger strike.

    Good lesson learnt for Penang folks.


  3. Nick
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 16:17:27

    This accident is wholly avoidable. I am shock beyond words that such a reputable school can compromised on safety standards. What kind of teacher have the school employed? How come this teacher/coach has demonstrated such negligent approaches to water training? I am sorry but there is no room for excuse. Innocent lives have been lost and I put the blame squarely on the HM and his team of teachers who obviously have slackened in their professionalism. A sad day for this illustrious school and a lesson for all HMs in running their schools and remembering that every kid under their care is done so because the Parents entrusted their stewardships.


  4. disgusted
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 17:23:22

    Life is like a candle in the wind.


  5. Ah Wong
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 21:06:55

    I was almost moved to tears reading this news.
    Parents raised their children from babies, nursery, sent them to kindergarden, primary school- worry about their UPSR.

    Ok, UPSR is good. Managed to go to good school like Chung Ling High school. PMR result is again excellent, now going to sit SPM. High hopes, one of the potential scholarship holders for high achievers. Hope to see them got married….

    Now, after one morning. The son is gone forever.
    This thing happened many times, The UTAR students in Kampar, I am very sad to read all these news. I am very sympatetic to the affected parents. Parents were even willing to sacrifice themselves to the sea if they were allowed to.

    Hai…why all these things happen?


  6. stevent
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 21:56:29

    The reason for the change of venue in training is because this new area is the competition venue. When something is not broken, don’t fix it! That’s THE golden rule for everything in life. The state government decided to change the venue without conducting proper studies. Once again, it’s so sad to see such a beautiful state slowly disintegrating. I hope people would now understand that policies do matter.

    We can always say take precautions on this and that. We have to be realistic at times. Budget cuts/non-priority/efficiency/etc are the reasons why safety tools are last in line. No sports teams in the world have ever fully follow safety guidelines, especially during their training – neither in the east nor west.

    If anyone read the NST today, there’s a full page dedicated to this tragedy and we can see that all the departments and even the school are denying responsibility. This is definitely going to be a PR mess.


  7. Atila
    Jan 22, 2010 @ 07:08:31

    Dr. Hsu

    Death is never one second late nor one second early.


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