I was watching a local Mandarin news programme on Astro when I saw the preview of a special segment on a victim of the 1988’s Penang ferry terminal tragedy. No idea what I am talking about?
Well on the 31st July, 1988, the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal (Penang Ferry Jetty) in Butterworth, suddenly collapsed due to severe overcrowding and weak steel bars structure of the jetty. The collapse caused 32 deaths and at least 1674 people were injured, most of the devotees rushing to the Penang Island for the Kuan Yin Festival (Goddess of Mercy) on that fateful day.
The special segment of the news programme were about the TV show’s effort to locate a victim, that were photographed among the debris, trapped together with the body of her dead mother. 21 years later, they managed to locate her, and interviewed the now 20-ish woman.
That spurred me to google the incident on the net but to my surprise, I found next to nothing. For a major tragedy, I find it hard to believe so little about it has been recorded/posted/archived in the cyberspace. I remember all the cover pages of the major newspapers on the day after the incident were all about it, and people were talking about it for weeks.
Recently there were numerous incidents of collapsed stadium, collapsed roads, cracked flyovers, collapsed ceilings, leaking pipeworks and other avoidable debacles in this country. Thank God so far no lives are lost. I hate to see changes only after lives have been “sacrificed” unneccesary. May the people/government that have been given authorities/responsibilities to be accountable, honest, incorruptible and efficient in what they do.
This posting is dedicated to the 32 lost lives and thousand others who are affected by the jetty tragedy. Lest we forget…