Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Venice of the East Part 3: The calm before the storm

As much as I am reluctant to write this, it feels appropriate to write the 3rd instalment of my series of flood-related posts. As we speak, 3/4 of Thailand is affected by its worst flood in 50 years, with the ancient city of Ayuthaya just been rendered completely handicapped (flood waters up to 5m high in some parts). The stories we see on the news are devastating and interesting at the same time.

"... the government is are our wits' end...." not very convincing from the Chiobu PM. I am happy that you are going to decrease the corporate tax in the next 2 years (if you really do it), but come on, can you say something more inspiring? You don't have to lie, but could u just say some things to inject more hope into your people who voted for you?

In Uthai Thani, 100 crocodiles escaped from a crocodile farm, and the owners dubbed them "not fierce" as they had been raised in captivity. Now that sounds more inspiring than what you have to offer, Chiobu PM.

Commodities such as rice, instant noodles and canned food are running dry on the racks of major supermarkets, but these sales are closely followed by pet food! Kudos Thai people, you love your pets. They can always eat our food, but we can't eat theirs, so that's really thoughtful!

Flood preparation begins

Back in my company, flood preparation has officially begun. I grew up in Singapore, a country in which one single flash flood can cause the government to withstand major bombardment by the masses, so I am really not experienced in this kind of crisis management. But having visited my customer in Hat-Yai last month and witnessed remnant water marks (from last year's flood) at eye level (I am a good 6ft tall), I figure it's better to be safe than sorry, especially when our warehouse is in Bangkok's purple zone (medium danger level).

There are always opportunities in the face of disaster. This could be the first time in 50 years where sandbag-sellers could increase their prices by 20% every few hours. The price of every sandbag has increased from 30baht to 45 baht in the space of 24 hours. We were lucky we got ours at 35. We should really have purchased more, if we did, we would be rich by now selling them to our neighbours.

Little wall of sandbags

We have abandoned all business activities to work OT stacking goods as high as we can
We try to keep the lower levels as clear as possible, but there's only so much we can do, you can't fight nature, you always lose.

We can only pray and hope that when the flood waters finally wash through Bangkok, it will pass by our warehouse, bringing only the millions of rats hiding in the dungeons underground along, and cause minimal damage to what we have worked so hard to create in the last 2 years.

The tangible and intangible losses incurred by the floods are already too great to even think of, and it will leave possibly millions in this country needing to build their homes and livelihoods from scratch again. But hopefully, like we have seen again and again in other countries, disaster will bring along a newfound spirit of unity and togetherness amongst the Thai people, and the country will emerge stronger than before.

As we are doing our best to counter the forces of nature, it did not rain last night. It was the first time for as long as I can remember that there was no hint of rain for the entire evening. It is also scorchingly sunny today so far, my laundry is finally going to dry.

The calm before the storm perhaps? I certainly hope not.


  1. Oh man, this sounds so terrible. Honestly, the effects are unimaginable when I watch news of natural disasters on TV. Your account gave me a very real idea of how bad it is in Thailand. And 100 crocodiles escaping? I will keep your family and you and your company and Thailand in my prayers.

    Fang Ting
    P.S. Thanx for the really hilarious comment on my blog.

  2. Hey FT

    yeah... i think living in a country like Thailand makes us more prepared for crisis, which in a way is good, though we still hope that nature will spare us when they teach us a lesson. We're doin all we can to prepare, there's nothing much else we can do.

    crocodiles escaped due to the flood, but Uthai Thani is a province v v v far away from Bangkok so i doubt they will find their way here.

    Haha.... i just felt cheeky and made that comment about your blog. To be honest, i think that many of the pple who comment in your blog are those who want you to follow them, so I shall give u a cheeky comment from my heart without wanting anything in return.

    U are doing great in your new blog, keep it up, and pls continue using yourself as the model, it's tough to find someone more pleasant looking.


  3. Glad to hear that crocs won't be swimming their way into Bangkok.

    Yeah, guess u will be seeing more of me in my blog because I can't find anyone to experiment my makeup on. lol. You are certainly right about people who just want us to follow them in return and it's getting frustrating. It will be more encouraging for us if people follow us because they really love what we are doing. I really appreciate your sincere comment! My friend and I decided to just keep doing what we are doing and put ourselves out of this collecting-most-followers race. Hopefully we'll attract the right crowd and have 'real' followers. =D



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