Mudcat Café message #1382024 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #77363   Message #1382024
Posted By: NH Dave
19-Jan-05 - 02:03 AM
Thread Name: BS: Irony of Tsunami Relief
Subject: RE: BS: Irony of Tsunami Relief
During the first few days after the disaster, when we still thought only 25,000 may have been killed, there was a lot of commenting on the BBC Worldwide Service about the callous indifference for live exhibited by thescientists who detected and reported the original earthquake, for not getting in touch with the governments of the areas worst hurt by the tsunami, of it this wasn't possible, broadcasting a warning on CNN.

    What many of these people didn't realize was that at the time of the earthquake, there was "no one home" at the various government office that might have disseminated this warning, assuming that they had a vehicle to achieve this, and that most British people have more electronic communications in their own homes than exist in the whole of many of the villages in the most affected areas. To this day, problems with distributing the world's largesse are one of the main bars to actually getting the aid and supplies to the affected people. I recall when I was in Thailand some forty years ago, the Thai Air Base at which I was assigned had an open area in that part of the base where the senior non commissioned officers lived. Each night at dusk the usual pick-up game of soccer or the Thai version of Hackey Sack, using woven wicker balls, would give way to an open air market cum carnival, whose main attraction was the television set that was brought our from its storage bin and mounted on a tall pole so all could watch the few hours that Thai TV broadcast to that region. Various food sellers would set up their portable carts featuring wontons, roasted, dried, squid, and other local food, and the kids would run around and have their usual good time. Somehow I suspect that things have not changed that much in the rest of the country over the ensuing forty years.

    Others expressed their disapproval of some of the royal family seemingly ignoring the suffering of their people while attending to their own problems in the area or elsewheres in the country. It was our experience that by and large the Thai, being Buddhists were a bit more laissez fiare about the plight of people caught up in local accidents and disasters, on the grounds that the affected people must have done something in their lives that upset their amount of "merit" with their supreme being, and since this was their problem, there was little use of others becoming involved in helping them out.

    We saw this attitude when a local bus collided head-on with a timber carrier, consisting of the tractor with a yoke, a 10 - 15' teak log or logs about 50 - 100' long chained to this yoke, and a small wheeled dolly supporting the back end of the log(s) with possibly a license plate and stop lights. The accident spread injured locals about a goodly area, and when we got word, we sent a medical team and a couple trucks to help as we could. I believe we collectged 10 - 15 people so badly injured that they had been left to die, moved them back to our hospital, and actually saved about 70% of these cases. While we earned lots of merit from this act, many admitted that they would not have helped these injured people, even if they had possessed the means and the hospital space. Thus royals seeming to ignore their seriously injured subjects is more along this general "mai pen rai", no big thing, and the theory that Buddha must have willed it, and who are they to thwart Buddha's will. While this does not fall into place with out achieving much merit bu our actions, it does seem to explain theirs and their attitudes to disaster.