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?

Najib 1.75 (satu titik tiga suku)

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is gearing up to succeed Badawi after being given the Finance Minister’s post by his boss. As part of this attempt at ascension Najib has taken to setting up a website called 1Malaysia.

Go there and you will see a videocast of Najib explaining why he’s on the web. But while the technology is pretty savvy, the techniques are rather primitive. The result is more a turnoff rather than a persuasive piece of communication.

Here’s why:

  1. The video is too long at about 13 minutes. People on the Net do not have that kind of patience unless it is riveting stuff and watching Najib is anything but riveting.
  2. The delivery lacks authenticity. The phrasing, the eye contact and the body language speaks of nervousness and something contrived. Najib needs a very good coach if he is to get anywhere near to credibility
  3. Najib failed to realize that the medium is the message. The Web 2.0 is about conversations, not about making speeches that patronize the audience. Conversations mean you engage the audience with an engaging point of view. You take Ali G’s advice of being “real” rather than be a stuffed suit isguised in an open shirt and expect people to believe you.
  4. On the Web, grit is good; polish is bad. Obviously some overpaid producer, speechwriter and director have been scripting and choreographing Najib’s appearance from the Putra Jaya backdrop to the change in camera angles as he changes tack in his televised speech. They even went to the trouble of trying to make it look a bit homemade with flaring from the backdrop (or is it just incompetence?). Well, that don’t work because the polish squeaks of contrivance. Najib could have saved a lot of money by getting just a cheap video camera and asking a friend to shoot him, but he would still need some authenticity, which he doesn’t have.

The thing the Internet is that it makes everything so transparent so people like najib shoudl think twice before choosing to venture online. In a medium of complete transparency what becomes obvious very quickly is whether the person has the “right stuff” or they don’t. Do they have a personality? Are they likeable? Do they have something to say that they are passionate in, or are they just uttering what they think are the right words? In this case the Pretender to the Throne is stark naked and not looking pretty.

Makes you wonder who advises guys like Najib and why Najib, a close to but not complete imbecile, chooses to believe them. If not for the fact that he had a father who was Prime Minister and for the incestous Umno system that inbreeds its leadership, he would not be where he is., not even close.

For an entertaining and another reviw of Najib’s performance go here.