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Mourning Day: How to pay respect to MH17 victims

22 August 2014 has been declared the national mourning day for the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. The July 17 tragedy is still fresh in the nation’s mind and it is only proper that the whole nation sets aside a day to pay respect.
Flight MH17 was carrying 298 passengers and crew when it was shot down while flying over Ukraine. All onboard perished and so far 28 of the remains have been identified as Malaysian nationals.

The first 20 identified bodies will be arriving in Malaysia this Friday, hence it being marked as the nation’s day of mourning in respect to the victims. Malaysia’s government have decided that it is not going to be a public holiday, but there are still some conditions to respectably observe.

Here is the list of what the nation is to observe on the mourning day:

1. Wear black

(Photo Credit: DailyMail)  Queen Maxima of the Netherlands (pictured centre alongside her
 husband King Willem-Alexander) wipes away a tear as the bodies of victims of the MH17 arrive.

In most cultures, the most common mourning colour is black. Therefore, the nation is encouraged to wear the proper attire as a show of respect.

For Muslim men who wear songkok, it is advised that the colour of the songkok worn on the mourning day should be black and without any band. The same goes to Muslim women who wear shawl or headscarves, it is advised that only black religious headgears should be worn on the day.

For non-Muslim practitioners, wearing all-black will be a proper way of showing respect. Avoid wearing bright colours, especially in formal settings on mourning day as this is usually deemed as disrespectful to the dead.

2. Flags at half-mast

(Photo Credit: Malay Mail Online)

A flag flying and waving high in the air means victory and pride, it will also mean disrespect when there is a funeral service happening. Therefore, it is customary for flags to be lowered during mourning.

This month Malaysia will be celebrating its 57th Independence Day on 31 August. The nation’s flag Jalur Gemilang can already be seen being displayed in more numbers than usual. However, on the mourning day it is advised that all flags are flown at half-mast to show respect.

This applies not only to governmental bodies or officials, all Malaysian citizens are advised to abide by this custom.

3. Entertainment in moderation

The nation is advised to take part in less recreational activities on the mourning day.

Several hotels and restaurants that play live music have pledged to play only mellow songs for the day and forgo cheery, boisterous ones. Television and radio broadcasts regarding any entertainment programmes will be postponed and replaced with Quran recitations as well as other religious programmes.

Cinemas nationwide are also advised by the government to interrupt the screening of films for a minute of silence.

Football fans too will have to cheer and support their favourite teams on another day as four Malaysia Cup matches are to be rescheduled to a later date. Other recreational and entertainment events have also been cancelled or postponed as a sign of respect. 

4. Prayer / Moment of silence

(Photo credit: mynewshub)

Upon the arrival of the MH17 bodies at KLIA on 10.45am, a moment of silence will commence up until 11.30am.

According to The Malay Mail Online, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek encourages the nation to  “stand together, be it in schools, or in shopping centres... even cars should stop during the moment of silence.”

Several locations across the country have been set to put the traffic on hold during the moment of silence. Television and radio broadcasts will all stop during the silence as well. 

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