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Vol II: The Mis-Adventure Continues
Funny stories, witty encounters and serious reflections from Malaysia as experienced by a vegetarian struggling to understand the world.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Learning from disasters

I wonder...

If the city councillors actually drive around the city? Never have I seen a much worse road than those in PJ and KL. Potholes, sinking roads, uneven patches. It is NO wonder that my car needs a major service every 3 months! Can I claim from MBPJ the damage done to my car while driving on their roads? H3ck, can anyone even tell me a road in PJ and KL
(even if its just a small housing road) that is smooth, even and has no potholes, humps or sinkholes? Yes, that's how bad the roads are these days...

The floods at several states recently is not the first disaster to strike our country. We have had other disasters (man-made or otherwise) as well in recent times but flood seems to be a frequent problem for Malaysia, with the last one in 2005 affecting about 30 000 people. There was also the 2004 Tsunami. We also had man-made disasters, with the most memorable one for me being the national blackout back in 1996. The whole country was in darkness...

During these disasters, as usual, reaction from the authorities were slow. OFFICIAL news was difficult to obtain. And at the end of it all, there were the usual promises - the promise to investigate, the promise to take action, the promise to punish those responsible, etc...

Did we learn from all these?

Today's headline reads "TNB will take months to restore supply to flood-hit areas". I guess we have not.

There were reports that people died while waiting for emergency services. Some were left stranded for hours waiting for rescuers.

Why is it that till today, we have yet to learn from the past? Why are we still not prepared for all these? They may be natural disasters, but I am sure a bit of common sense would have better prepared us. When it rains heavily for hours, won't anyone start to worry?

Every time AFTER a disaster strikes, we spend millions rebuilding. When there is no crisis, we do not seem to take the time and prepare ourselves for such an event. We pay taxes, assessments, maintenance fees, rental fees, etc... But how come I don't see any backup plans? Why is there still power outages or even the small scale floods such as the one on NKVE near TTDI Jaya, Shah Alam?

The point is... Why are we always fire-fighting when we should have been more prepared and organised when it comes to facing disasters? We have aspiration to be a fully developed country. We want to have the best of everything. We want to build super cities and mega IT hubs. It would be a waste to see it all washed away in a blink of an eye or because we are still, as Tenaga Nasional Berhad puts it - "ill-prepared".

Back to today's headline... Can we still afford to have states with NO power supply for a few months (or even for a week)? Johor was one of the states affected by the flood. I wonder if (potential) investors would still want to invest in the South Johor Economic Region after such a disaster? Yes, our reputation is at stake when we do not handle things properly.

To be fair, there were also government bodies and private organisations that were quick to react and provided assistance. Many Malaysians also offered to help by donating money, clothes and even volunteering to help out at the affected areas. I also saw in the papers about a man saving two pet dogs who had been left behind by their owners.

But there were also the few Malaysians who showed the ugly side by looting and plundering from the abandoned shops, cars and houses. I used to tell myself that the looting will not happen in Malaysia, only in other countries. I guess I was wrong again.


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