Last Friday I hosted a press screening for Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix at GSC Midvalley. While waiting for the movie to start, I had small talks with Kak Faridah from Utusan. She remarked that news desk people may not be able to turn up although they have RSVP’d because a Nuri had disappeared from the radar 10 minutes after take-off from Sungai Besi at 4pm that afternoon.
At 9.30pm I received a phone call from a news editor of one of the local TV stations who apologised profusely for not being able to turn up. I said to him. “I know, it’s the Nuri story, right?”. We exchanged pleasantries and the night ended without further incident.
The next day I flew to Kuching for work. As I was getting dressed in my hotel room at Merdeka Palace, I saw newsflash on the telly that the Royal ATM had mounted its largest search and rescue operations to find the Nuri. It had been three days and they still could not locate it due to poor weather and visibility. My sister Ina remarked that even if they managed to find the Nuri, its passengers may not survive their injuries. I nodded my agreement. Then we went out to have a late breakfast and bought live seafood at the wet market to bring back home.
When I flew back to KL, I came down with fever. Confined to my room and a GBA for company, I was cut off from the rest of the world. When I returned to civilisation, I found out that everyone aboard the Nuri had perished, including the late Capt Nur Intan Asykeen, whom I subsequently found out was my junior in highschool.
I didn’t know Asykeen. But I am grateful for her and people like her who willingly offer their lives to protect the sovereignity of this country. Asykeen may not have died in the battlefied, but her willingness to do so was proof enough.
So, thank you Asykeen, for your bravery. Sleep well under the grace of God. I am sure your loved ones are proud of you though they miss you terribly.