#11042017 – Disturbed & Powerless

Note: This entry is a little dark and depressing, please don’t read it at the start of your day. But… It’s thought-worthy.

A couple of things have been bugging me these few days.

  1. United Airlines incident

I first saw the news on Twitter when one local blogger tweeted his response to the incident. Then man, how disturbed I was by the incident. In fact, the clip haunted me for the whole day.

To be honest, one of the reasons was because the victim was an Asian guy. The first thing that came to my mind was, how would I feel if I were treated this way in a foreign land? And also, how awful and aggravated I would be if this were my dad.

I’ve been reading a lot and waiting for the news reports – the guy’s a physician/doctor and had to get back for his patient in the morning, how the airline offered money compensation, how 4 people were chosen randomly, what the CEO said, etc.

I wish there were more communication. I don’t know if the victim can speak English well, but I wished that the airline staff had taken time to learn about why he doesn’t want to get off the plane – for his patient. I mean, if you were to tell me to get off, I wouldn’t but if you told me, here’s a doctor who has to get back for his patient, can anyone with in a less urgent circumstance please give up their seat? I would, because yes I want to go home but when you put “need to be on this plane” in this perspective, I would understand that my case is less urgent than his.

The hypocrisy/powerless generation. Another thing that bugged me was the lady who was exclaiming in horror and the people scurrying to get out their phone to film the victim being dragged off the plane. There’s the classic question of why didn’t anyone step in? Because of selfish reasons? Didn’t want to stand up for what’s right if it means I’d have to lose my seat or be arrested? Or simply, oh they’re bullying him but I want my seat?

In this day and age, kinda thankfully, we have technology and are empowered to take photos, videos and audio recordings to protect our own rights. Then again, it also seems to be making people powerless because all they do is record. In many cases, not to bring the matter to light for justice but rather, hey I was there, I show you this clip I captured. Suddenly we lose our voice, and stop using actions. Instead, all we do is record, and it’s not just this case I’m talking about. What has become of humanity?

The corporation. They were replacing passengers with employees. I think The Points Guy made a very good point – Chicago is the headquarters for United Airlines. Don’t they have any other alternative solution to their staffing problem? Can’t they offer their employees an alternative solution? Also, couldn’t they increase the compensation amount?

The wound is still fresh. And the aftermath left me even more disgusted and disturbed. Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen Degeneres quickly raised the issue on their shows and I really wanted to get their (eventually disappointing) perspectives. It disturbed me that the audience was laughing when they showed the clip of the victim being dragged off the plane. It disturbed me when Ellen made the joke about someone in her audience having to give up their seat, about the in-flight movie and also putting the focus on the yoga pants incident, which was also incorrectly presented.

What happened to the core of the Ellen Show where she always say be kind to one another? Doesn’t she (or her team of writers) see how that incident was unkind and inhumane and all details aside, point that out, instead of laughing about it? The yoga pants incident was because they were not paying customers and there are rules they have to adhere to.

It’s the little bits of insensitivity that disturbed me – I get where you’re going with the satire and sarcasm, but isn’t the wound a little too fresh to be laughed at this way? Would you laugh if this was YOUR mother being dragged off the plane?

One thing I appreciate was Jimmy Kimmel giving the example of Applebee’s, which at the very least, helped people to put things into perspective better.

The judgmental media. The last bit that disturbed me was how some journalists/websites chose to cover and follow up on the incident, and the worst of all was The Courier Journal that reported how the doctor had a disturbing past, totally irrelevant to THIS incident. Did he commit those crimes on the flight? Why should they matter in this case? He is a victim and he has been through enough, and you have to dig up on his past. For? So if you’ve once done something wrong, you deserve to be treated inhumanely? Shame on you.

On the flipside, I appreciate the media outlets who are putting the focus on the law and what loopholes are currently present. They may not be changed now but little by little, someday the situation would change. Also, to highlight the guidelines on carriage, passengers’ rights and the maximum amount the airline could have compensated – it gives you all the boundaries and facts, and let you make the judgement.

One last thing – I kind of don’t understand why the officer who grabbed the guy was put on leave. He was executing orders from the real guilty parties – the airlines, the employees. It seems to me that he was put on leave to appease people, aka, another innocent victim in this case where the corporation is at fault – poor booking system, poor communication, poor service, poor compensation, poor solution and poor attitude.

2. Qingming Festival

There is another powerless incident that bugged me this Qingming Festival.

My parents and I went to a temple to make some food offerings. Many old people were at the temple and visiting the columbarium. As I was feeling nauseous and waited outside the columbarium, I noticed the guard telling people to be careful of the step.

Then, an old man was stepping out and as the step was a little high, his knees were weak and he almost fell. Thankfully, his family quickly helped him up.

I kept thinking about the incident the whole day – there’s close to a month of people coming in and out, and this is a problem a simple ramp can solve. Doesn’t that make more sense than telling everyone coming out to be careful?

I asked one of the staff member, who said I should raise a suggestion to their head, who can then evaluate the situation.

I’m sorry but it made NO sense to me. It just struck me how powerless people are becoming, or at least, feeling. It’s like your light at home has fused and instead of just buying a replacement, you start to “give suggestion” and then make budget planning, while living with the inconvenience. What has happened to our country and our people?

I am going to try and solve that problem, one way or another. Because it makes more sense and I don’t want the media ever writing that someone fell to death at a temple again. Not when the problem can be easily resolved.


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