This country seemingly lurches from one 'disaster' to another. The latest man-made event has seen the death of some 21 women, many elderly or widowed, who were rushing to receive Rp.30,000 being handed out by a local businessman, Saykhon Fikri, in Pasuaran, East Java. He was performing his religious duty of donating 2.5% of his wealth during the fasting month of Ramadan.
About 2,000 people turned up, from far and wide, because the expected donation, c.US$3.3, could be twice as much as their daily earnings. Elsewhere
, the question is raised as to why no police were on hand to control the crowd, many of whom were trampled and crushed to death.
I'm more worried though that there is an almost insurmountable breakdown in respect for local legislatures, government agencies and bureaucracies.Nur Syam, rector of the Sunan Ampel Islamic Teaching Institute (IAIN) in Surabaya, East Java, said Saykhon did not allow the local government-run charity to distribute his family's tithe out of fear the funds would not reach the intended recipients. (Source: Jakarta Post)
Also on Monday, in Makassar, South Sulawesi, in a parallel incident but luckily without any fatalities because police were on hand to control the queues, thousands of "impoverished residents" stormed 12 post offices to get their Rp.400,000 (c.US$43) direct cash aid. This is the second phase of government aid for registered poor people following the removal of oil subsidies earlier this year. The government has authorised the PT Pos Indonesia to disburse the funds.
Small money, big worries.