Singaporeans amid Boston marathon bombings
For the latest on the Boston Marathon explosions and more on the 18 Singaporean runners who participated in the race, check out this news update.
Boston Marathon explosions on 15 April 2013
The heartbreaking tragedy struck hapless runners and supporters of the reputable and prestigious race event at 3pm local time yesterday in Massachusetts’ capital state, Boston. Chaos erupted when the twin explosions went off only 10 seconds and barely 160 metres apart, throwing runners and spectators alike into a rude shock that prologued a painfully frightening series of panic and fear.
A total of 23,000 runners took part in the acclaimed Boston Marathon, of which 18 were Singaporean. While all 18 are reportedly safe from harm, they are thoroughly shaken from the harrowing experience. Jonathan Kang, a 37-year-old Singaporean was relieved to have left the area after he completed the race at a personal best timing, and told reporters, "If we had stayed back, we would have very possibly felt some of the effects of the explosion.”
Two bombs, which detonated near the finish line of the iconic 26 miles (or 42 km), saw the cruel murder of three including an 8-year-old, in addition to over 130 injuries. The sadistic ploy appeared to be well-coordinated as authorities believe that it had been planned for maximum damage, with the majority of recreational runners and their supporters amassing around the finish line at that time.
At the same time, there was a reported fire at the John F Kennedy Library in the precinct and authorities suspect that there might have been a third explosive device planted there as part of the attacks.
Official responses to the ruthless attacks have been overwhelming, with many appalled by the sudden and brutal nature of the blasts. The “cowardly act”, as viewed by Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davies, will not be tolerated nor succeed in breaking the American and global spirit of peace. Similarly, US President Barack Obama asserted that the perpetrators would undoubtedly “feel the full weight of justice” for their heinous crimes.
A time of despair
It is always devastating when vicious attacks such as yesterday’s Boston Marathon explosions remind us of the callousness and coldness that plague the human condition. Runner Mr Kang reflected soberly that “this was supposed to be such a happy day for people who had trained hard to run in the Marathon, to fulfill their dreams of completing this highly-acclaimed marathon, and now it has been reduced to tragedy because of this barbaric act."
While the scale of such hateful cruelty occasionally force us to cry out against the seeming inhumanity, it is essential that society never loses hope in the progress towards a more compassionate and harmonious community.
As Patton Oswalt beautifully puts it, when he thinks that he’s “had it with humanity” in the wake of such hatred, he mulls over the hope that “we would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago.” Mr Oswalt then continues his graceful commentary, advising that when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”
At a time like this, when the world despairs over the loss of humanity, what many need is probably a ray of light such as this. With the malevolent's ironically deliberate attack of the human spirit so radiantly epitomised in a marathon race, it is important that we continue appreciating the silver lining present in the aid and love that people shower each other especially in these desperate times of need.
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If you have loved ones in Boston
Boston Police helpline: Relatives seeking information about individuals injured during the explosions can call (617) 635-4500.
Users can track runners by name or bib number to find out if he or she finished the race and when.
Google’s Person Finder has newly launched a page specially for the Boston Marathon tragedy. This site allows users to find someone or offer information about someone involved in the incident.
Singaporeans in Boston who require urgent consular assistance can contact the Singapore Consulate in New York at 917-293-4540. Also, if you haven't done so, do register with MFA's e-reg too so that Embassies have your contact during an emergency.