Taken from Malaysiakini.com
Today marks the closure of the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang. Opened in 2006, this no-frills terminal has seen multiple millions of passengers pass through its gates and helped to develop the tourism sector nationally and internationally.
The LCCT became the main transfer point of the 40 million tourists visiting Malaysia, and allowed Malaysians from all walks of life more opportunities to travel. In its organised chaos, citizens from around the world used this facility to see family, go on vacation and importantly, connect with each other. LCCT became Malaysia’s node with the world.
News reports of late have covered the travails of immigration delays – which have been common on a regular basis for most foreign travellers. I have always empathised with the Immigration officials who have had to work in the stressful environment – often with poor-functioning air-conditioning. Daily they process thousands of travellers.
I have witnessed their efforts and along with many of the other staff of this airport have made the terminal work – not perfectly, but functionally and usually with a smile or a laugh. It was real, a genuine reflection of people working hard to make a living and helping others in the process.
I want to share with you a personal story of my last trip out of LCCT. I met a friend for a quick drink at the McDonalds of the terminal one late afternoon. This restaurant is always packed with travellers. We caught up and as is usual with friends, time passed too quickly. I noticed the time and realised I needed to make a dash for the plane. I grabbed my passport and stamped boarding pass and took off to the gate.
Thanks to the relative efficiency of getting on planes at LCCT – with the usual bout of needed exercise of a long walk – I made the flight.
It was only then that I realised that I had left my purse (with my wallet and personal effects) behind. I spoke to the airline stewardess asking her what my options were and was promptly told that if I left the flight I would have to buy another ticket. I asked myself – how would I do that without any money? I had a dinner to host for my students that evening and decided to stay on the flight.
On the hour in the air I made a list of all the things missing, and pondered the wisdom of this decision. I knew my purse either had to be at security or the restaurant.
The minute I landed I pulled out my phone and called the restaurant (thanks to its listing online). A young girl answered and I enquired if a purse had been returned. She asked what colour – I told her red. She replied, “Are you Dr Bridget?” I said yes. She asked for my permission to look into the bag and confirmed that my wallet with money and personal effects were intact. A friend collected the bag later that day.
The honest staff person’s name was Fatimah. I am very grateful to her and to the stranger who turned in my purse to the restaurant. I am also appreciative of Fatimah’s parents, her family and the work environment that encouraged Fatimah’s kindness and responsible actions.
Moments of goodness do happen
We hear so many stories of bags snatched and crimes, we often overlook these moments of goodness that do happen – more often than people acknowledge. With such gloom in news reports, we must never forget the core character of Malaysia, a society where people do help each other, across races, and often for strangers. It may seem like a simple thing returning a purse, but for me it was pure joy. Thank you again, Fatimah.
I believe in many ways Fatimah’s actions embody the spirit of LCCT – ordinary people making something work in an extraordinary way. In the sea of bodies in the terminal, there was a shared humanity and community. Many strangers helped each other go on their journeys in life, without fanfare but with decency and dignity. I will miss LCCT and extend my appreciation to all the staff there and wish the best to the new facilities at KLIA2.