My Jakarta Post came wrapped in plastic but late this morning, no doubt due to the incredibly horrendous thunderstorm that awoke us. Presumably the flood waters have risen, as have tempers.
In response to complaints that the government has been slow to respond to the disaster, the Minister of (His Family's) Welfare, Abdurizal Bakrie, has pointed out that TV stations are showing Jakartans laughing."We see that victims are still laughing," the minister said. "Don't make it as if we're facing doomsday, like what we see on your station," he said to a journalist from SCTV.
This is arrogance beyond compare and demonstrates a distinct lack of empathy with anyone not in his social circle. We have seen this before with his denial that his family's company, Lapindo Brantas, was in any way responsible for the mud volcano in Sidoarjo
, East Java. Why doesn't he spend some time, preferably overnight, in the shelters housing the half a million displaced citizens?A resident of Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta tried to explain: "Nobody affected by a disaster can really laugh," said Badar. "We might be laughing because we are trading jokes among us, but believe me, we are not laughing because we are happy with the conditions. How can we really laugh if our houses are underwater?"
The minister "could easily say that because his house was not flooded," Badar added.
Another resident, Nurjanah, said, "There's a time to laugh and there's a time to cry." Despite the portrayal of laughing flood victims, "the minister didn't see that they were crying inside."
The President, she said, "should have fired this kind of state official who cannot share what common people like us feel.
Mind you, as Unspun points out
, it took the Trade Minister four days to even hold a meeting to discuss the logistics of organising relief measures.
But that's central government. What excuses have city government come up with?
Governor Sooty has been quick to say that the floods are a natural phenomenon. Most of us would disagree and say that it's the rain that is natural. Still, I suppose it's also natural that his deputy, Fauzi Bowo, would agree and then offer the excuse that there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it because "Floods happen everywhere in the world."
This genius is standing in the city's first direct election for the governorship. I don't have the vote, but with flippant comments like that you can be sure that he will not be seen for much longer in City Hall. There's a word in English that describes him perfectly; it rhymes with 'banker'.
Help cannot be expected from the insurance industry which has let it be known that 'all-risk' policies are actually 'all-but-flooding' risks.
And with Indonesia yet again in the news for the oft-googled word 'disaster', we bloggers have had a rise in our visitor numbers coinciding with the floodwaters.Jenny is quickly adapting
to the 'every day is different' lifestyle and the delights of presumably pirated DVDs.Treespotter
has also splashed out on sets of TV series to while away those times when he wishes he were elsewhere.Coming up next week, very aptly timed, is Dive Indonesia '07 at the Jakarta Convention Centre. Considering that the city is now very wet, we can hope for some hands on experience on this stuff, how good is that?PS: Dive Indonesia is postponed, due to the flood. Duh!
He also lets us know that Brandon of Java Jive
has been 'evacuated' and is now, apparently, in Bali where there are, paradoxically, near drought conditions. Brandon's blogging has also dried up, but by all accounts, there has been some outright thuggery in Kelapa Gading where he lives. Preying on victims is particularly outrageous, so we hope he recovers from these traumas soon.Marek has loads of photos
. I do too but I can't stay online long enough to upload them! But his are mainly of Kelapa Gading where he lives. He mentions the bad guys and then praises a troop of truck drivers who offered their services because they could. He also writes about the number of schools which will have to be rebuilt.