Sunday, November 27, 2011

2011 Bangkok Flood - Aftermath

Well it's a good questing to if this should be called an aftermath at all. News has been reporting the sunny side of things. Bangkok is dry and it is true. All major shopping malls are now open and businesses are as usual. Heavy traffic is back on the streets, the signature of a normal working Bangkok. Water and food are back on the shelves. We live every day, drive pass once flooded streets as if nothing had happened. The only reminder, is the watermark left behind on walls by the dark water. The flood is over. But is it?

Truth is, it is not. My mates, some of them still could not go home, flood waters have not receded. In their minds, constant worry building up to stress, as one thinks about the resources needed to restore their flooded first floor to its former glory.

The water stayed in their village, but the news always reported only the good side, that here and there have been receding by 1 or 2 cm per day. 1 or 2 cm? I give credit to evaporation rather than irrigation. Irrigation all blocked, what is there to flow? I visited some folks in factories up north. I asked if they have experienced a flood like what Bangkok do now. They said oh yes they did. But water came fast, water came deep. And water also gone very fast and they are used to it. But in Bangkok - water came fast, water came deep. And water stayed because they don't want water to touch central business district.

Driving around, I assume that everywhere is dry now, but it is not. I had to drive against traffic because I drove on to an impassible section of flooded roads only passable by trucks. I did see a suspicious sign of some sort, but it was in Thai. I wonder, how many expats have experienced inconveniences like I do. This flood situation, all non Thai reading public have been excluded from all warning systems. Comon, at least hand draw a picture of farang driving his car dropping into water, that will at least give us some kind of indication.

A tip I will give is that to get to Saraburi, you can now take the Toll Way all the way till the end pass Future Park. But expect to be stuck on the Toll Way for a while because it exits down to damage road. And if you did take the Outer Ring Road, take note that the road surface have been heavily damaged by the flood. So, expect to experience very slow traffic too. It will take three to four hours to get to Saraburi or vice versa. It normally takes less than two.

I accidentally drove to some areas, witnessing full in the face what "neglected by the authorities" really means. See, as long as all the high profiles areas are kept dry at whatever cost, Bangkok when seen from the outside world successfully managed the flood and it is now over. All these other areas, no authorities were in sight to direct or warn traffic. Debris strewn all over, I was left to negotiate and try my luck across flooded plains, created my own traffic rules and drove in any directions I wanted.

Now people in power are busy with finding a scapegoat for the flooding (as reported in TV). Now some people have moved from poor to rich benefiting from corruption cases. The purchase of donation items are at very obvious inflated prices. Currently we can also see on TV those that did not get a share in the dirty cake bringing these cases to light. So many discomforting cases, you can read them all from the media websites. And we the working force, go through our everyday lives as per normal, ignoring these noises. And they the flooded victims for months, taking on actions by themselves. They organize mobs and activities, breaking down the flood barrier, closing important traffic routes and breaking the windshields on innocent public cars just trying to get through for a very delayed appointment. All these activities and the situation of misery going on now, in the presence of the so many new morale lifting songs about the flood released by famous local artist. "Thais will not neglect Thais" the lyrics of these songs, but the truth is the opposite.

Full photo sets here under The Flood 2011.

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