I read with such remorse in the papers regarding the death of a teacher and his four students in the dragon boat incident in Penang two days ago. To me, sudden death is the worst death of all. It surprises you when you least expect it. Quick and swift. Death due to old age, terminal illness and the likes are more bearable. You are mentally prepared for it and you make whatever necessary preparations for it. So when the time comes, you at least know that the torment is over and you move on.
But what really ticks me is that, the death of these unfortunate souls could have been well avoided if all of them had worn life jackets. It's as easy as that! You know you're going out into the rough open sea and yet you don't wear life jackets. How crazy is that? It's like you're gambling your life away. You might just as well, put yourself in the same cage as a hungry lion or lie down on the tracks right in front of a moving train.
What shocked me more was when I read that more than half of the team did not know how to swim. Lagi tak mau pakai life jacket! I totally blame the teacher in charge for such ignorance on the lack of safety measures. He's the most adult of them all. He's in charge of everyone. Why didn't he put them in life jackets? Why? Why? Why?
I can swim but when I go snorkeling in the open sea, I opt to wear a life jacket. I know better than to fight against the mighty undercurrents with my minute energy. It's easier to just float and swim with the currents than to battle it. So can you imagine what a frightening situation those students who can't swim were in? It scared the living daylights out of them and the worst enemy would be panic itself. Once you panic, then you're as good as dead.
So my question is, why did the teacher took safety issues ever so lightly? Had he made sure all of them wore life jackets, then their chances of survival would be very high. He very well cannot answer that question now, can he?
May the souls rest in peace.