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The Madness of MokcikNab
Motives, movements and melodrama in the life of a thirty something mum.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Bang Yos, the Governor of Jakarta, has requested for the Manggarai floodgates to be released. Pak Didik, the TV3 correspondent in Jakarta said the last time they allowed that to happen, water reached Monas and the Presidential Palace, both further inland from Manggarai than us.

My neighbour though, is confident nothing will ever happen to Menteng. She's lived here for more than 30 years, she said, and the worst flooding was just knee-deep. "And they'll never cut off the electricity", she assured," Megawati lives at the back, and Suharto lives across the street. Nggak mungkin loh!"

I think people in Pompeii said the same thing about Vesuvius.

Still, we can't help but worry when we drove down our street to Cikini and saw that the small bridge near Jalan Surabaya is now a gushing stream. Children were swimming in the streets, yes, in the streets, in the rapid tea-coloured water. We're watching that closely, because Jalan Surabaya is a mere five minute walk from the house.

School called to say its closed tomorrow. My kids rejoiced. They're loving this disaster.

About 40 Malaysian students from Trisakti are putting up at Wisma Malaysia, in Jalan Cokroaminoto, which is about 15 minutes from our house. When we visited them this afternoon, we saw they had the standard Malaysian emergency food : sardines and rice for lunch. Kak Ros and Abang Elias, who run the place, look exhausted and they're quickly running low on supplies. Most supermarkets are out of food and drinking water, and they can't immediately replenish. The weary Kak Ros said for now, there's only eggs and potatoes left in the pantry, and it looks like that's the menu for dinner. So Saiffuddin, the kids and I are making a huge pot of stew and bubur pulut hitam and sending them over. We tried to get other Malaysians to help, but apart from my friend Iza, who has promised gulai telor for tomorrow, others are rather reluctant because they're worried about their own families, too. I'm a little, teeeny weeny bit dissapointed, but I can understand their concern. There's no telling how long this will last. Besides, most of them are in South Jakarta, and there's no guarantee they can safely get through. We live the closest, so we're the ones who should help.

Saiffuddin and I wish we can also do something about the thousands of Jakartans who are stranded without food, water and medicine, and who are sitting ducks because more rain is expected tonight and they can't leave. Some families are now sleeping on railway tracks and toll roads. So far twenty people have died because of the cold, electrocution or rapid currents. There's so much to be done, but because Jakarta is so huge and so densely populated, coordination of relief efforts is no easy task. Saiffuddin and I are planning to check out Palang Merah Indonesia tomorrow to see if they need volunteers. We're already feeling guilty because we sat on our hands, which could have very well been put to better use.


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