15 April 2012

titanic | not only in the movies.

15 April 2012

i saw this on twitter the other day (via). i can only shake my head in disbelief.
i'm aghast and disappointed that there are people out there who are ignorant of the real events behind the deadliest peaceful maritime disasters of all time. 

today marks the 100th year since the ill-fated sinking of the rms titanic in the frigid waters of the atlantic ocean. to commemorate, an aritfacts show is ongoing at the singapore art and science museum (29/10/2012 − 29/4/2012). i would have passed up the chance to view the exhibit were it not for my good friend, who came over for a brief visit. thanks che che. now i consider myself lucky to have dured during my lifetime. 

surreal and eerie. these feelings were instantly evoked the moment i stepped into the gallery. extensive recreations of the ship's grand staircase, the hull, the boiler room, the first and third class cabins, the promenade brought back visions of jack, rose and their clandestine affair from the movie adaptation. survivor accounts plus the authentic items recovered from the ship's wreckage - stamps, belts, articles of clothing, letters, perfumes, trunks, jewellery, scarves, bank notes, a toothpaste jar, among others - were haunting reminders that real people perished in the catastrophic sinking. 

a life-sized ice wall in the iceberg gallery simulated the subzero temperatures that hastened the death of those who were left afloat. as a filipino, it was interesting for me to note that four-inch thick manila ropes were used to tie the ship's bollards (steel posts) to the pier. who knew that manila ropes existed over a century ago? 

to me,  the artifacts presented was one thing, putting a name and face behind those personal items was another. none of the passengers and crew were left nameless. we were each given boarding passes with real passenger names when we first came in. in the memorial gallery were listed the names of the 705 who lived to tell their stories and the 1,523 who perished. among the survivors was my passenger. elin matilda dolck from the the 3rd class cabin. elin was 24 year old from helsinki, travelling to pennsylvania with her husband, pekka, to flee the economic and political oppression of the russian occupation of finland. i wonder if pekka had survived too. i truly wished he did for that fateful day also marked their 3rd month of marriage. 

there were more stories told, all equally poignant and sobering. but much is left for speculation.
a century and numerous expeditions thereafter, the mystery behind the titanic tragedy has been solved. 
giant ship vs. iceberg. human vs. nature. a tragic reminder that mindlessness sinks us.
we know now how arrogant complacency, blind faith in technology,  and a series of preventable errors claimed the lives of thousands. 
may this kind of tragedy never befall human kind again.