Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bangkok Flood 2011? Bangkok still Dry

Where have all the farangs (caucasians) in my block gone? I asked the building management office below. She said they have all gone down south to the beach to escape the floods. There is only one farang left (not me, I am already more Thai than a foreigner). Farang's office, factory flood, so farangs now holiday. Farangs all afraid of flood, so they escape with Thai girlfriends to holiday.

The flood in the surrounding provinces had driven the farangs away, but it has also in turn brought in a massive flood of countrymen into the condominium I stay. Many residential apartments here in Bangkok had turned into a temporary refuge for someone's mother, father, son, grandmother, grandfather, uncle, aunty, cousin and whatever being that can be traced to their family tree, very large tree. With this, came also an influx of cars, very big bunch of cars. So parking has been difficult these days if one were to come home after six. Kiasunisim (scared loose, scared die which is a Singapore slang) has been brought to a new level in Thailand, witnessed by the inconsiderate and un-orderly parking on all upper decks. Everyone wants to park on the upper floors, no one wants to park on the ground level. Why? Unnecessary panic.

During this period of chaos, political figures each took their turns to steal the limelight on TV. One said here will flood, the other say don't listen to him. One say water will come and order evacuation or urgent preparation, the other said its bull shit and only listen to the other. Flood brings water, water brings flood of confusion as we don't know which authority to listen to. People are frantically parking all over the toll ways in Bangkok without consideration to the traffic. Bangkok is dry, massive jams on toll ways for no reasons.

The sun sets early now as winter is setting in. The atmosphere in Bangkok this week had been gloomy. The gloominess can really be felt. It's a combination of the fear back in everyone's mind, plus the unnatural darker then norm of the sky. Strom clouds and darkness in the far horizon every day we see accompanied by the occasional thunderstorms in Bangkok from time to time. And when it rains it floods, but it floods because of the rain, not the torrents from the north. Bangkok is now encapsulated in a wall of old and newly constructed embankments. And within this large blob of a city, household dwellers many have surrounded their landed property in sandbags. I heard of one whose house was flooded even though he had put up a fool proof defense. That's because when it rained heavily, it kept the water in. Bangkok was dry, but his home was a pool.

The temper of many have grown shorter as the flood period grows longer. There are conflict in many of the affected communities. Some members of a village went ahead to destroy the dam build by another because it kept water in the former. Ugliness of people started to surfaced like flotsam. Boat taxis operators in masses moved their long tail boats across the levee from one waterlogged community to the other. That, just so to make the THB1,000 per trip to transport stranded victims out of their home. But by doing so, by sliding their so many boats across the mud levee, it gave way and water rushed in. All caught on public CCTV these culprits were. There have also been a rise in abandoned property being broken into this period. You moved your LED TV to the second floor, when the waters came you leave. When you return another day on a boat to check on your home, the grill had been compromised, the window broken. You lost more than just your TV. These criminals deserved to drown for abusing the situation, they ought to be shot on sight.

Well I bet the fishes are happy, they got the whole Bangkok to swim in soon. But they do need to be weary, fisherman are now casting their nets where the roads once were. Crocodiles had escaped from the overflowing farms. Rewards are given if we catch some. Leeches a plenty in some areas, wear that long pants if you go into the water. Mosquitoes has been the irritant of so many, the repellent depleted at Seven Eleven. The department store I was in yesterday, not a sight of a bottle of mineral water. The flood had reached some of the water treatment plants, my tap flow lately it smelled of soil so boil and drink I not rather.

Attempts to reason with nature is futile. Attempts to reason with nature will end in chaos. The rivers are where the waters will flow. And we are putting up so many makeshift dykes that prevented the natural flow into them. We want the water to flow here and not there, protect this estate and not that. We do not want the water to go into the river because we don't want the river to break her banks in central Bangkok. But that's what rivers are suppose to do from time to time, turning the surrounding into a flood plain so that water high up could drain. Although Bangkok is dry, I don't think we are making things better for the surrounding majority, I think we are just extending the flood.

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