Thursday, November 03, 2011

2011 Bangkok Flood - So Numb

Staring up your half submerged Prius will results in explosion of sparks, you will probably become part of the car's circuit and die in the process. Ok, maybe that won't happen, I am sure Toyota thought of it but lately, there are many victims of electrocution as the water sets in. Touch this get shorted, touch that get shorted. Stand around in water minding own business also get shorted, which is why the authorities are cutting the power to some selected estates.

If you don't die of electrocution just standing still doing safely nothing, you could be bitten by the recent escape of a bunch of poisonous Green Mamba snakes. Imported pets by some too-much-money-nothing-to-do owners, they are now floating around freely somewhere in our very big Bangkok. There is no vaccine in the whole of Thailand and this is so very consoling.

I was standing still composing a shot, people at a distance from me shouted "Don't stand still!!! Leeches in the water!!". Darn. I wish I had more leg hair, they offer at least some confusion to the leeches before it gets the meat.

Taxi drives, apparently they are a happy bunch now. The uncle said: "So good, I wish everyday Bangkok's traffic is like this. I can estimate my time from one place to another so accurately. Bangkok should remain this way."

Uncle was right, getting from one place to another had never been done in such record time before in my entire life here, as many people had escape the metro and moved to surrounding Rayong, Pattaya and Huahin. People who still needed to work had parked their cars permanently in offices, taking the public transport to and from work. Most of us, our homes are flooded. Getting in and out of the moo-barns means hopping on to military trucks on their rounds which are in place of the public buses. These huge green beasts they call GMCs will drop you off some convenient dry place where you can then continue your journey by other means.

Public bus services, they did not suspend. It's just that hopping on to one every time, the route is different for the very same bus number. As this place and that floods, they change their course according to situation without advance notice. But we are all fine with that. Many areas along the river floods as the sea tide rises opposing the deluge flowing downstream. Twice a day, they get wet, drains and then dries. Markets and tourist destination in Sanam Luang have orgasms twice a day. It's a nice place to experience the climax if one wants to experience the subtle flood just so to be part of it.

Flood danger indication level how to tell? Locals say:
"Level 1 alert which indicates possible flooding is when you begin to notice peddlers selling boots, life vest and plastic boats on dry streets."
"Level 2 danger will be indicated by the arrival of news crew. Water only at ankle level and meaning possible time to evacuate, so start packing."
"Level 3 means all too late - die. Military trucks arriving on site with platoons of sweaty soldiers. By this stage, water is at waist level."

So far the above mentioned had been much more reliable then the so many false alarms and warnings issued by the government. Increasing number of nasty comments from streets and offices. Flood situation seems deliberately extended because of stupidity. You sand bagged an area till it is flooded full as you slowly pumped water out a thousand times slower than it is being filled. As the water overflows the first barrier onto the second sand bagged region, the cycle repeats. Then onto the third, fourth and so on sections of defense, all so very slowly. We are not afraid of the flood, it's not the water that will kill you, it's the smell.

Imagine you have a toilet bowl at home with your discharge that does not drain. Hold it there for two good weeks and I rather break the toilet and let it drain. Well this is what has been happening with increasing frequency lately. Unhappy residents are getting good at destroying flood barriers. The government patching them back up again every now and then.

The Bangkok government has successfully turned the city into the biggest ammonia factory in the solar system. This is what happens when you place a puppet and a bunch of farm animals to manage the country. They put relatives and friend-friend into positions of power within the government and other important agencies, all without the proper background expertise and practical knowledge and thus the result today. "There is a big difference between understanding what to do in a flood and knowing what to do", one industrial estate owner commented on TV. I like him.

Previously, I had blogged that the highways had become a treasure trove for criminals. Now it has become an obstacle course for drivers. As reported on news, motorcycles, cars and trucks have been smashing into these stationary vehicles parked all over precariously along elevated roads. We have many pieces of cars to clean up nowadays. Going into that shopping mall and looking for a lot usually means staying in orbit for a good long while before finally locating one. Cars left by owners in malls had become a permanent feature of the building structure.

Some things did turn for the better. Instant noodles and water have been arriving back on the shelves. But they do not stay there for long. Bottled mineral water of strange brands we never seen are being sold. Eating out we were served "no brand no label" bottled water, very dubious indeed. People staying in western Bangkok bathed in strange smelling yellow water from the tap, but the situation have improved now that the issue at the waterworks had been rectified.

Water creeping slowly, 3 kilometers a day. Encroaching deeper and deeper into Bangkok, the death grip of a python. Extended the doom, the effects of all the rather questionable efforts. We are numb now, we are so very. The news so foul, we are so weary.

Full photo sets here under The Flood 2011.

No comments: