Beware the normalization of floods by Anies Baswedan

Normal is when something happens often, becomes predictable and loses the power to shock, anger and spur people into action.

The biggest danger that Jakartans face is the normalization of the widespread floods which is happening so often lately, I think about seven this year so far.

Each time time it floods the same things happen. From early on Netizens start posting photos of floods in their areas.

Residents, frustrated by the floods, taking the law into their own hands at Aeon Mall, Jakarta Garden City…the new normal during times of floods?

There is the photo of cars leaving waves of muddy water in their wake . Old women trying to cross a torrent. Valiant acts by random Samaritans.

Then the funnies: Tik Toks of people on beds, on tables above flood waters. Some dancing, some fishing.

Inevitably there will be video posts of snakes or fish, especially koi, swimming in the floodwaters.

All they will curse and rant at Anies. How he is incompetent. How his pseudo-religious claims were all empty, how is kadrun supporters, who helped oust the effective Ahok from governorship were now reaping the whirlwind of their distardly acts.

Anies would, in turn, mutter something inane, and the groundswell will once again froth vitriol at him, with Jokowi buzzers leading the charge.

Then nothing will happen. The flood waters will reside and with it the hue and cry that accompanied the floodwaters will die down – until the next major flood.

This normalization of floods causes frustration all around as it exposes the powerlessness of the city’s residents. This is dangerous as such feelings, pent up, would need an outlet.

And so it has happened. The poor residents near at Jakarta Garden City has resorted to rioting against Aeon Mall, blaming the developer there for causing the floods in their area.

Someone has to do something before this too becomes the new normal.

Actions not Tweets, Tik Toks, Instastories and FB posts and rants is what is needed. Actions singularly focused on forcing Anies to act or to leave office need to be carried out.

Who can take these actions instead of being brave keyboard warriors, before the cycle of flood-netizen outrage-violence becomes the new normal?

Car for the times

Mercedes is such a prime brand that half of Jakarta being underwater has not deterred them from announcing the launch of their new models in the Jakarta Post today.

But remember that even President SBY had difficulty getting to laces on his sedan? He got stuck in the floods and had to be transferred to a different car.

Well, the guys at Mercedes may think that their models are hot but here’s Unspun‘s unsolicited tip to them on what the elite will be looking for if the rains keep pouring down.

Water, water everywhere and not a drop of care

Rains come about the same time every year. Last year when the rains came, Jakarta experienced its worst flood for the previous five years. Huge swaths of the nation’s capital, including even upmarket areas like Kelapa Gading, was under water.You would think that the country’s leaders, from the President down, would have said then: “OK, that’s it, we got to do something about these floods of more people would suffer next year and we would have nowhere to hide our faces for failing the people.”If only that was the case. What is wrong with Indonesia’s leaders? Even when they themselves experience something like the floods, they do nothing.

Look at, for instance, the clip below. The President’s motorcade was stuck in the floods and he had to abandon his sedan for a SUV. So what does his spokesman Andi Mallarangeng tell the nation’s media? “…the President is just like other people who tried to avoid the floods.”

Just like other people? For heaven’s sake the President is not like other people! He is the President. Presidents of any worth make things happen.

He should not be avoiding the floods like other people, he should have been ensuring that the floods never returned this year instead.

This post is dedicated to my friend who spent 14 hours on the road trying to get to the airport yesterday. He didn’t make it and sms’d me an angry missive today saying that like others he was suffering and “the government just did nothing.”

clipped from
SBY trapped in flood
Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Even the country’s President could not escape the impact of floodwaters that swept across Jakarta on Friday, although he was able to make his cabinet meeting at the State Palace.

“We were afraid something worse might happen to the sedan if we insisted to continue,” said presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng. “That’s why the President moved. After all, the President is just like other people who tried to avoid the floods.”

Yudhoyono continued his journey to the palace using the busway lane, while his sedan was left on the side of the road.

  blog it

Update on Jakarta floods

As of 9:30pm reports that the toll road to the airport is still flooded by up to one meter, while the public works department blames the flood on the drainage system that isn’t working properly. Duh.

Kompas Cyber Media reports that hundreds of Garuda passengers are stranded in Changi Airport in Singapore because they  cannot fly back to Jakarta. It also said, at 10.46pm that thousands of passengers are still stranded at Sukarno-Hatta Airport as they cannot return home because of the floods.

In the meantime here’s a short release from HOPE international at about 10pm tonight:

February 1 continues as Flood Day for Jakarta, Indonesia

Experts estimated El Nino effect the penta-flooding (once every five years)
in 2007, but history turned it around. February 1, 2008 Jakarta is
underwater in only a few hours of rain. One year ago, exactly on the same
day, the big flood took place just Like February 1, 2001. When residents
wake up this morning, some areas had water was as high as 2 meters. Most of
12 millions residents in the metropolitan were trapped while travelling to
work; the city traffic was a mess all day long, even until 22:45 pm.

Charles Ham, HOPE worldwide’s country director for Indonesia, reported that
his house was knee-high as of 10am February 2008 and needed to evacuate his
family. The situation has not changed but worsen at 22:45pm as many
volunteers and staffs are also experiencing the same condition.

Called for action, HOPE worldwide Indonesia has secured 5 rubber boats and
some small amount of supplies to prepare for disaster relief actions
starting tomorrow. The DARTs (Disaster Awareness & Relief Teams) trained
are prepared to bring hope and change lives as the need arise.

Please keep Jakarta in your prayers as climate change is impacting the
capital of Indonesia!

For additional information or supporting the Flood Relief, please contact :

Charles M. Ham, country director, HOPE worldwide – Indonesia
Gedung Putera Lt 7, Jl. Gunung Sahari 39, Jakarta 10720 – Indonesia
Telp: 62-21-600-9091, Fax: 62-21-601-0570, Website: Http://
Cellphone: 62-816-183-4574