Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To Apply for Flood Aid

When politicians talk about aid in the face of any disaster, they make it sound like assistance is just a call away. In reality, it's difficult to get it.

Collection of data is just not well organized. For example, if a housing estate is flooded, counters should be set up in that particular housing estate for a day or two for everyone to register. It makes vetting easier too. But nah! We've been given the run around chasing this illusive flood aid that the gahmen says the qualified flood victims will be given. It feels like they are hoping that not everyone applies for it.

In the early days after the water receded, we were told that we had to make a police report about flood affecting our premises. As my own experience has shown, police efficiency ranks really low. When you make a police report, you are actually traumatized twice! One by the reason to make the report and the other by the act of making the report itself!

Then a day later, word was that we had to register ourselves with our JKKK (Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung). Now how in the world are we to know who our Penghulu is? So, in our traumatized conditions, we had to trudge to wherever we were told the Penghulu would be waiting. And so, we gave our names so that they can pass us the necessary forms to fill in. I shall wait to see whether they contact me to fill in the forms. I'm more inclined to think that it was an exercise of futility.

And finally, a colleague of mine was kind enough to pass me the actual form. There is a closing date on the form to be submitted in - 28th Nov, 2010. So, we're going to fill in the forms and pass it to the Minister for Housing and Local Government. Hopefully something moves since his own house was flooded. I've been seeing repair works being carried out to his house the last few days.

As usual, the non Government organizations are quicker in disbursing aid. Immediately after the water receded, one of the most prominent presence was by the Buddhist Tzu chi Merits Society Malaysia. At the height of the flood, their members could be seen bringing in food and water bottles for flood victims who stayed back in their houses. They worked tirelessly and helped regardless of race.

Even some of my Malay friends speak very well of them; of how they would go from house to house everywhere distributing food parcels, water and even blankets. Right after the water receded, they started coming around my area with food parcel and some cash aid. Most if not all my neighbours turned down their offer of aid.

And this act was also reciprocated by the PAS' Unit Banjir as I saw them making an effort to go to Taman Lum Sum to help with the clearing up. Perhaps this is the first step towards a better race relationship... I hope so.

As for the BN politicians... I guess they should learn to help without using that as an opportunity for publicity. Instead of hanging big pictures and flying big flags, a small identification mark would have suffice. People will know who you are and what you stand after all ends. The BN politicians still don't seem to quite understand that. For them everything is an opportunity for publicity.

As for the rest of the government agencies??? I've more bad experiences with them than good ones, more unpleasant stories than pleasant ones.... I am not saying they didn't do any good. There are still many good civil servants. But... rescue services, the police... they are supposed to answer to their oaths of duties.

Anyway, this experience have taught me that the authorities are not very organized. My police experience during non-bencana (disaster) times also shows them to be sluggish. Better perks have not translated into better service. And during disaster times, it's just as sluggish if not more.

So, another tale and thoughts to share...

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