Indonesia is blessed with leaders who think out of the box. When more conventional ministers would think about sending essential times like food, shelter, clothing, cooking equipment and water to the victims of Merapi, Indonesia’s mustachioed Sports Minister Andi Mallarengeng comes up with something else.

Afraid that the victims would slip down the path to negative thinking and depression, now that their basic needs are met (he obviously does not follow the constant stream of Twitter appeals for donations and other goods from volunteers like @jalinmerapi – who are doing a superb job of informing everyone, by the way) the Minister, in a gesture of enlightenment, generosity and graciousness has decided to send to the Merapi victims – get this – 40 packages of sports equipment and board games.

Each packet, he told detiknews, contains four footballs, four futsall balls and board games such as chess, snakes and ladders and Chinese Checkers, so that they do not get bored.

The whole things is reminiscent of Marie Antoinette telling the French peasants to eat cake if they are out of bread, except that it has a modernist twist to it: let them play Snakes and Ladders instead!

Unspun can just imagine the volcanic eruption victims, homeless, trying to cope with losses and wondering what next really getting into a game of football or futsal among the ashes, or entertaining themselves with intellectual pursuits like chess and Chinese Checkers. Way to go Andi! You’re one of the reasons why Indonesia always emerges as the top in any sports rankings. Maslow obviously didn’t know what he was talking about when he spoke about a Heirachy of Needs.

Below is the detik.com article:

Andi Mallarangeng Kirim Paket Ular Tangga untuk Pengungsi Merapi

Jakarta – Menpora Andi Mallarangeng mengirimkan 40 paket alat olah raga kepada para pengungsi di Yogyakarta. Paket olah raga itu berisi bola, papan catur dan juga alat permainan seperti halma dan ular tangga.

“Menurut saya penting memberikan kegiatan positif bagi pengungsi. Saya lihat mereka itu sudah cukup sebenarnya, makan sudah siapkan dan MCK sudah ada. Mereka ini tinggal menunggu bunyi klenteng-klenteng lalu sarapan, klenteng-klenteng lalu  makan siang dan klenteng-klenteng lalu makan malam,” kata Andi Mallarangeng di Gedung Agung, Jl Malioboro, Yogyakarta, Minggu 7/11/2010.

Andi menyatakan, salah satu kegiatan positif yang bisa dilakukan pengungsi adalah berolah raga. Untuk itulah Andi memberikan 40 paket alat olah raga saat melakukan kunjungan ke GOR Universitas Negeri Yogyarta UNY dan Posko UGM. “Saya berikan 40 paket alat olah raga yang isinya masing-masing 5 bola kaki, 5 bola futsal, papan catur dan alat olah raga lainnya. Ada juga alat permainan seperti ular tangga dan halma. Ini biar mereka tidak jenuh,” katanya.

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