Dear Editors,

It is an utterly terrible tragedy that a group of TKPS students and teachers lost their lives on Mount Kinabalu. I am close to one of the deceased and words cannot represent the sorrow I feel now.

But as I read some comments on this tragedy, I am forced to write this, hoping to put an end to all the knee-jerk reaction I see. Some Singaporeans have been on a witch hunt, blaming TKPS, blaming the teachers, blaming MOE, blaming Heng Swee Keat and blaming the Govt for this calamity. This is a natural disaster period.

Please stop doing this. If you know the crazy effort our teachers put in for every single Overseas Expedition trip, you wouldn’t be saying the insensitive unhelpful comments you are making.

Teachers are always unappreciated and forced to go on overseas recce and assess the risk before they are allowed to bring their students on such trips. This process undergoes strict risk assessment because it is imperative that the students are SAFE.

Safety is always the school and the teacher’s top priority. In the last 15 years there were only 6 deaths on Mount Kinabalu. Imagine if you were to assess the risk, how would you evaluate? Moreover, so many young school children have scaled Kinabalu before and it is definitely a manageable climb for them. Personally I have went to Kinabalu 3 times and even though it is tough, if you rest enough, you can make it.

An earthquake of this magnitude is unprecedented so it is impossible to plan for such a catastrophe. Even the mountain guides themselves were not spared by mother nature. So please show some respect to the deceased and show respect to the educators who have sacrificed a lot to make such overseas trips possible.

I hope everyone will respect teachers, TKPS and MOE and stop making stupid remarks about this tragedy. Everyone is an expert on hindsight and you are not allowing us to grief. This is nobody’s fault so please stop it. MOE will definitely review the programme but I hope they do not cancel it in honour of the sacrifices these students and teachers have made. If we did, we would be dishonouring their memory and spirit of embarking on their climb.

Rest in peace my dear friends.

Mabel Liew

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