I WAS deeply impressed watching the live telecasts on how the Dutch received the remains of those killed in the MH17 crash.
The simplicity and sincerity of the ceremony at Eindhoven Airport were all too evident.
The highlight was not the VIPs who were present to witness the arrival of the coffins, as there only a few of them at the airport, but the dignity and respect shown to the dead.
The dignified handling of the coffins by the soldiers brought out the civilised character of the Dutch. It was in stark contrast to the irresponsible behaviour of the separatists in eastern Ukraine at the crash site, who should be safeguarding the wreckage before the international investigation teams arrive and carry out their duties.
The other commendable aspect of the ceremony was that there was no attempt to play up race or religion, despite the fact that most Dutch are Christians and that most of the victims were their citizens.
By being strictly neutral, the ceremony was able to reach out to all in the world, without offending or touching on any sensitivity. It was an excellent example of how a multicultural society should conduct a ceremony involving a tragedy which affects the whole nation. It is an occasion that can make all our people feel they are united by the sense of loss and sadness.
We should encourage interfaith ceremonies to honour the dead when their remains arrive in Kuala Lumpur later to emphasise 1Malaysia.
Finally, by keeping the ceremony simple, no Dutch can complain that their government was overspending to score political mileage and since their citizens are vocal about how their tax money is spent, the authorities have been careful about lavish spending.
We, too, should take home the message to be frugal in organising public functions.
Very often, the government tends to spend lavishly, in which the beneficiaries of the spending are the contractors supplying the buntings, VIP tents, food, invitation cards, rented limousines, uniforms for the ushers, etc. All this waste leaves a bad taste in the minds of the people.
We should apply the same standard of simplicity and dignity as the Dutch.
My deepest condolences to all who lost their loved ones on MH17.