Life is a heavy load, they say. But so is death, literally, for six men who took the brunt of a 42-ton steel scaffolding that plummeted down their heads at the forward dry-docks of Keppel shipyard in Subic. After that ramp crushed their tired, scarred bodies, one has to ask if those damaged lives were less heavy or more impaired than the 22,650-ton container ship they tried to repair. I wonder what their last thoughts were at 10:20 AM on that fateful seventh day of October. Do you think they have thought of a hug or a kiss from an expectant wife or a sweet embrace from an excited child? Nah, it was a cruel death; no room for romance. But life ought not to get snapped out in a split second. True, life is scaled to find its worth at some point. By what measure? We can’t say. An utter despair! Here’s what was left from that industrial carnage—just mere body count and scattered limbs. A message to the Philippine government and Singapore’s Keppel Shipyard Limited: get sucked up on your excuses, but reserve silence for the bereaved.
This piece was originally written two years ago in the wake of Keppel Shipyard tragedy in Subic, Philippines.