Chia Ti Lik’s Blog

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Converging Parallels – Burma & Singapore

The killer cyclone has made its mark. The People of Burma are suffering again.

The preparatory actions of the Junta (or lack thereof) and the disaster reaction / recovery ability (or the lack thereof) further make their mark.

As aid agencies and disaster rescue teams attempt to do what they do best – disaster recovery and rescue. We stand in silent support and prayer for the good work being done. However, there is a role left empty in this situation. The biggest hurdle to international aid reaching the affected Burmese fast is the Junta and its idiotic administrative policies. In the light of the suffering and yet urgency to give emphasis to disaster relief and rescue, let not the magnitude of the disaster cloud or hide the damage and danger an incompetent Government can add to a situation of dire need.

News reports have conflicting claims of whether or not the Burmese people had been adequately warned of the cyclone’s impending onslaught. We need not read too much into the reliability of the conflicting reports. One needs only to pay attention to the latest facts uncovered – 100,000 dead. So much for preparation.

We read from the ST report that the Junta had been holding up aid from reaching the Burmese people.

Singapore’s aid package went directly to a Burmese Colonel who incidentally was not very much positioned in a ministry (according to their own designation) meant to tackle disaster recovery and rescue.

While other international Aid agencies attempt to go direct to the people in need, Singapore’s effort does it so diplomatically correct, which the Junta naturally found it so difficult to refuse (they even had a bloody photograph to show the handover) it also makes me wonder if the aid taking this route would reach most affected Burmese first.

I laud the French military officer’s push for direct flights into Burma via helicopters from their ships in the area. “4 Hours is all we need to reach the zones, i am sure the same applies to our British friends.” This is the kind of gutsy and bullshitless approach we need to have when it comes to disaster rescue.

Such independent thinking, resulting in good positioning, preventing thinking from being clouded by diplomatic bullshit with an illegitimate government, originates from a developed country which is a known demorcracy.

I wonder, will the officers in our administration be able to display the same kind of ability given the rigid conformist attitude exhibited by our political leaders.

Bearing in mind the fact that it has now been revealed that the pilot flying the RSAF Bell UH-1H Huey helicopter in the cable car disaster rescue in 1983 was a foreign pilot, a New Zealander or British chopper (someone correct me on this) pilot i recall. And of course the mission having been ordered only after long deliberation for as much as was it 9 hours? The officer in charge of the rescue mission who gave the go ahead only after so many hours has risen to leadership in Singapore. The British / New Zealander Chopper pilot became some admiral now serving in a middle east arena (was it the Iraq theatre?).

If there is an indicator of the ability of the administration recently – we all just need to look at Mas Selamat Kastari or should i say Mas’s disappearance.

In the Burmese military crackdown on the demonstrations, many have argued against supporting the Junta, cavorting with them, investing in Burma, giving the Junta recognition to legitimize them, selling arms to the Junta, refraining from giving real pressure to the Junta to relinquish power. I for once made it clear that whoever did any of the above had the blood of Burmese monks on their hands.

In the wake of the killer cyclone, and the Junta’s complete incompetence, whoever supports the Burmese Military Junta has the splattered blood, and suffering of the Burmese people on their hands.

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May 8, 2008 - Posted by | Life, Politics

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