Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Disasterous Indonesia

It just keeps on coming. It seems that a week doesn't go by without a news item on a disaster in Indonesia that had resulted in loss of life. Earthquakes, mud blows, trash slides, floods, ferry mishaps and plane crashes. So many of these events have happened in the last few months.

Sometimes, one has to wonder why these things happen. Some people will look to the heavens and pin it on god's will. Others may attribute it to fate. I prefer the more mundane explanation of a financially corrupt society coupled with a failing government.

Aside from the natural disasters, every other disaster has been man-made, whether as a result of direct action or passive indifference. As for the natural disasters, the effects could have been mitigated with appropriate action. So, essentially, a lot of lives would not have been lost, if the right measures had been taken.

We have always known that Indonesia was corrupt. My professor once told me a joke about the difference between corruption there and in Malaysia. In Malaysia, if a bridge is billed at RM 100 million, at least RM 10 million actually gets used on the bridge while in Indonesia, no bridge will get constructed.

What concerns me is how things have changed in Malaysia. Although our dearest Prime Minister was elected on the platform of transparency and stamping out corruption, not only has the problem continued, it has even become more prevalent and blatant under the current administration. I have yet to see any positive steps from our Right Honourable gentleman to correct the situation.

A wise person once told me that every politician is corrupt. That's the single basis of politics. Politics is about power and power corrupts. The only reason why our dearest Prime Minister was billed as 'Mr Clean' was because he had not much opportunity, while he was sidelined and busy traveling around the world as our foreign minister.

In ancient China, when disasters befall the people, they revolt and overthrow the government. When a government becomes too corrupt, avoidable disasters happen. I just hope that the problem is arrested before things become as bad as our neighbour and people start suffering needlessly.

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