Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Burma

Imagine this.

You are living in a third-world country where the military runs the government with an iron-fist but you don't have the luxury of caring who runs the government because you spend much of your daily life trying to help your father put food on the table for the whole family.

One day, a cyclone hits your country and is estimated to have instantly killed 100,000 people. Your home is destroyed and the only family you have, 2 other brothers and 1 sister along with your father fell victim to the cyclone.The only ones that are left in your family is yourself and your mother who was seriously injured by a flying piece of wood carried by the winds right straight into her thigh. You look around for help in a state of chaos with people looking for their family who are missing and the cries of people who have found their dead family members.

You sit and wait because you know your government must be doing something. Help is on the way... you wait for a day... two days.. three days.. four days... and nothing happens.By then you are hungry and thirsty with not much left and by then your mother doesn't look like she's going to make it. Not with the amount of blood she has lost. But still.. no help arrived and you wonder why.

Then by the 5th day, the military has come and your people cheer their arrival... thinking that help has finally arrived but to your disbelief they come to tell you that you need to go vote in an upcoming polls that would approve a new constitution that guarantees 25% of the seats to go to the military that currently runs the government.

What would you do in that circumstance?

Chances are.. YOU WOULDN'T GIVE A FLYING FUK ABOUT THE DAMN POLLS... you just lost your home, your family, your friends and you haven't eaten for days and YET instead of bringing food, medicine and other supplies, your government asks you to go to the ballot box to approve a constitution that would ensure they forever have some control of the government?Although maybe not with pin-point accuracy since I've never been to Burma after cyclone hit, this is what I would imagine what's happening to people in Burma right now and it disgusts me very very much.

When I first heard of Cyclone Nargis hitting the country, I thought it was sad and tragic but hey history showed that in light of natural disasters hitting even the poorest countries in the world, almost every other country world-wide and the UN will be rounding up planes to fly in aid and aid workers.
That's true.. it did happen but here's what I didn't see coming.

The military-run government of Burma complicated and delayed all the aid and foreign workers from going in and at one point even CONFISCATED the food and medicine brought in by the UN.

Today, more than a week after the disaster and after a lot of pleas and pressure from other governments, what does the Burmese regime do?

They finally let in the aid but they block ALL foreign workers from entering. All aid is to be distributed only by their own military.

And here's the best part of it all.
Before all the UN aid is sent in, each box had the names of their generals' scribbled on it so that when the people finally get the food and medicine that arrived too late to save many lives, they will think that they are all gifts from their dear generals, the very same generals that blocked the aid from coming in earlier.

What the hell is all that propaganda for?

The Burmese regime takes the cake when it comes proven to be one of the worst governments in the world. Not only do they rob the country and its people of its riches but when the people are in need, they do little to help and when other countries want to help, they impede them from doing so.Bloody hell.. it's not like any of them are asked to take out any money from their own pockets to help their people... besides they have much much of those.

I've heard of a Burmese general who has a family in Singapore that buys S$100,000 Cartier watches for himself and his kids almost on a weekly basis.

One of those watches alone can buy A HELL LOT of food and medicine for his people.

On the way to the airport in Bangkok earlier, the Thai taxi driver talked to me briefly about the crisis in Burma. He said
"Poor people.. bad government"

I feel so sad for the people who have an incompetent and selfish government to decide their fates. The clock is ticking... and there isn't much time left.

If not much more is done by the Burmese military regime, the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in Burma could lead to wide-spread disease to take the lives of many more.

Many charity organizations estimate that up to 2 million people could die from this natural disaster.

Read more about the disaster here, here and here.

PS: I know it's not my style to write these kind of things but I just needed an outlet for all my anger... ahhh.. blogs are the best.

12 comments:

Jacky said...

Malaysia isnt any better except the fact that we are YET to be hit my a huge natural disaster. Only when damage is done baru the gov wanna take action. Sad man. Like the recent food crisis, only now baru start to plant paddy.

Jacky said...

hit *by

Jyushiang Tay said...

Well, the place they live in is like this. Government is so manipulative that they control their everyday lives. I once read a case study that a food store was once shut down because;
1) Owner was a female.
2) Government regime says that the workforce can only work for government related corporations.

At least they are A BIT better off now..right? Well considering that they had a lot of problems from the past, civil war in the Indochinese regions many of them still felt the aftermath of it. Recurrence I say, like cabbie guy said "poor people, bad government." made whole loads of sense.

angeliCassie said...

they make Malaysia government sound not that bad after all =/ and oh well Jacky..Malaysia's mentality mah.."do nothing until tragedy happens"...

kn said...

i never post any comment on your blog even i am a regular reader. but this post is sumthing that hit the reality. how do we make sure what money that we donate going to arrive at victim? but no matter what we still need to help what ever we can. anyway a silly thought, can we send John Rambo there to kill all those army :P

Elsie said...

Bull's eye, Tim. I have the same sentiment.

Boss Stewie said...

jacky: no ler.. i think our government will respond a whole lot better to a crisis like this than how the Burma government did.

Take for example the Tsunami. I was in Penang when the Tsunami hit which eventually claimed about 100 Penangites. There were roads there were all blocked because fishing boats were swept on to the main roads and ambulances running up and down the whole day.

Many Penangites even made it to the beaches to help all the injured. The next day, everything was back to normal. All the boats were cleared from the roads (which probably took quite a bit of work), and the ambulances stopped driving up and down the beaches... all the people who needed medical help were already at the hospitals.

So don't look down so much on our own dear country ok? Sure the Tsunami might not have hit Penang too bad but still if I had to grade how well the authorities managed the situation, I would give it an A.

jyushiang: yeah at least they're better but they still have a long way to go. What I can't understand is that what they have to do is so no brainer but they're all still just thinking of themselves in a crisis like this

angeli: you mean.. don't fix it if its not broken? haha

kn: Yeah.. RAMBO THE MAN.. send him in.. or Jack Bauer.. either one will do

elsie: yay!

CBB said...

maybe we should just do protests at their embassy...nahhh la joking =P

but seriously, just for their election they wanna do these kinda shit? come on they're not gonna have the dead people voting for them. gah its stupid lerr

luxen said...

If you contrast the Burmese government's reaction to Cyclone Nargis to the Chinese government's reaction to the earthquake in Sichuan, you can tell which one is a better government.

Since Dynastic times, chinese emperors have known that the government has to response fast to disasters as slow response could mean they have a peasant revolt on their hands.

The Chinese have a good track record in responding to natural disasters. Every year, they are hit by earthquakes and floods but their economy still grows (probably because of their large size).

Meanwhile, the Burmese are rich in natural resources but their people are poor.

Their rice crop is gone; the farmers who grew the rice is gone. They have a huge disaster on their hand.

If you are interested in helping, contact the Malaysian Red Cresent at redcrescent.org.my. They are now collecting donations.

JuLJuL said...

It's so sad lah. Makes me appreciate my life and what I have right now even more.

Samantha said...

looking at those pictures remind me of nth i've really given to make things better. o well if there's any ad to support them from nuffy i'm willing to have it on my page basically for free. anything tim. i can't stand seeing that pictures of suffering.

Belinda said...

Corruption is the root cause of all these problems. The Burmese Government is just too stuck up and has thick egos. For everything that they export, a large percentage goes into the generals' pockets and the remaining for the country's economy. This disaster proved to the world on their efficiency. Let's see what happens when the next Cyclone hits Burmah.

China is very much better prepared for natural disaster. Even the President flew into Sichuan on the day of the disaster.