Sunday, January 08, 2017

Compassionate Buddhists are true Malaysians

MM Online - As floodwaters recede, volunteers stand by for aftermath (extracts):


KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — Even as generous Malaysians stepped up to provide ongoing aid to flood victims in the east coast, many volunteers are already on standby to help with the clean-up work as soon as the water levels in Kelantan and Terengganu go down.

Unlike the massive 2014-2015 floods t 
[sic] displaced over 230,000 people and caught many unprepared for its disastrous scale, many civil society groups feel this year’s less intense floods and improved weather mean that conditions may be ripe for them to begin the post-flood relief work soon.

This is barely days after the number of people forced to leave their homes peaked at just over 23,000.


Tzu Chi’s volunteers handing out bottled drinking water and biscuits to evacuees at a relief centre in Rantau Panjang, Kelantan. January 5, 2017 — Picture courtesy of Buddhist Tzu Chi Merits Society Malaysia (via MM Online)

Meanwhile, Buddhist Tzu Chi Merits Society Malaysia commissioner Khoo Boo Leong said the group sent 21 volunteers on a three-day mission in Kelantan — its first since this year’s floods started — and distributed aid to a total of 670 families or 1,928 people at SK Gual Tinggi and Kg Gual Sitok in Rantau Panjang.

“It’s ongoing and we will do our best to reach out and provide relief aid, care, support, whatever required by the flood victims regardless of race or religion.

“We will review the situation and will provide relief aid based on need basis for future missions,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

I hope JAKIM won't object as I am sure Tzu Chi has not applied for any halal certification like McDonald, KFC or Auntie Annie.

But this is an emergency where I am again sure Tzu Chi won't be so malicious (hey, they are Buddhists lah) as to include non-halal stuff in the aid package for the mainly Muslim victims.

I also recall that 12 years ago during the aftermath of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in north-west Penang Island, which happenings I penned on 26 Dec 2005 in a post titled Boxing Day Tsunami - One Year Later in which I wrote:

official figures only 

On Boxing Day 2004, at around 9 am Malaysian time, an earthquake measuring 9.15 on the Richter Scale occurred. It gave birth to a terrifying tsunami that hit the littoral states of the Indian Ocean and even up to the eastern coast of the African continent.

Officially the worst affected nation was Indonesia. Its province of Aceh in nothern Sumatra suffered approxinately 450,000 although the official figures could never be correctly estimated for the reason that many countless thousands were swept into the seas. A rough extent of its death toll could be seen in its collection of around 500 corpses per day even as late as February 2005. That macabre figure was then expected to be maintained until at least the middle of the year, or even longer.

Unofficially I reckoned India suffered the worst in terms of death toll. As many as 1 million of its people were thought to have perished. Its tsunami victims, like Indonesia's, included hundreds of thousands of unregistered and thus nameless inhabitants on its east coast, where complete villages disappeared from the face of the earth. Many were vagrants and the homeless.

In its Andaman Islands, which suffered the earliest casualties, an entire air force base and its residents were totalled. Again India refused to come out officially with the true estimates but experts suspected that the figures had been very high. There was virtually no warning available to the Andaman Islanders.

There was a TV documentary recently that indicated the Andaman aborigines had escaped the worst of the tsunami by moving on to higher grounds just prior to the devastation because of a primordial instinct for nature's calamity.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, India chose to grandstand by sending a flotilla of warships to lend aid to other affected countries when it could ill afford to do that. Initially it had proudly refused international aid but had to eat crow subsequently and accepted same. Such was the foolish pride that a status-conscious India had indulged in.

One year later in Sumatra, Aceh still requires much re-development. A mixture of mindless bureaucracy, inter-ethnic and xenophobic suspicions, and an insurgency problem has held back the physical re-habilitation of its residents. A major portion of the aid remains yet to be fruitfully utilised. Some significant portion of Australia's 1 billion dollar aid to the tsunami affected area are now slated for development work in other parts of Indonesia.

[Chinese film star Jackie Chan donated his own money to re-build an entire village in Sumatra for the locals]

Indonesia-China Friendship Village (“Jackie Chan Village”) gate. [photo by Lawrence Vale]

From Support Places Journal:

An imposing gateway spans the only road into the resettlement community known officially as the Indonesia-China Friendship Village, dedicated in 2007. More commonly it is known as “Jackie Chan Village,” after the Hong Kong movie star who made a donation and paid a brief visit. Located 300 meters above sea level and 1.5 kilometers inland, with expansive views of the ocean, the village elevates residents above the reach of any future wave. The BRR gave free houses to former homeowners displaced by the tsunami, as well as some former renters. A Chinese contractor built 606 houses, mostly single family homes with yellow concrete walls and maroon metal roofs. Residents pay a modest charge for water and a share of electricity for the pump, equivalent to about $2.50 per month. Shared amenities include a kindergarten building, a village clinic, and a large covered concrete slab to accommodate an open market that, unfortunately, has never functioned properly.

When it opened, the resettlement village rehoused some 2,400 people, an unusually diverse community that included about 100 Chinese households, as well as Acehnese, mixed Acehnese-Javanese, and other ethnicities. Village Chief Wahid (who also oversees six other villages) views Jackie Chan as a “unique place” that brings together people of different faiths to create a “peaceful little community.” Since the BRR selected residents from different areas and backgrounds, no one group dominates the community government. “If only two or three different villages had been represented, they might compete over heads of neighborhoods,” Wahid said. “It is better to have no dominant village. … This is why Jackie Chan Village works.”

In Sri Lanka the exact same problems of bureaucracy, inter-ethnic and xenophobic suspicions, and an insurgency problem exists. India of course remains silent about the rehabilitation of its victims.

While Malaysia was affected in Penang and parts of Kedah, our losses, though monumental to the families of the victims were relatively, I stress 'relatively', light.

The significantly affected nation that did best in recovering has been Thailand. It has almost re-developed its affected areas in stark contrast to places like Aceh or Sri Lanka, and it didn't require foreign aid. It is a tribute to the dynamism of its government as well as the resilence of its people. I had hoped it would use the opportunity to include the Muslim segment of its southern population in the rehabilitation of the area. Now, it has an additional challenge, of rehabilitating the current flood-affected areas.

One of the most disturbing mindset that came to notice out of this human tragedy has been the religious factor.

Indonesian Muslims feared and still fear overseas Christians exploiting the circumstances to proselytise their Muslim citizens in Aceh, Fundamentalist Muslim groups have threatened western aid workers, wanting them expelled from an Aceh that is still significantly un-re-developed. They are more concerned about their control of their parish than its welfare.

Meanwhile on the other side of the coin, I know of one minor Christian group in Australia who was concerned that its donations were not going to Christians in the affected nations. It then held back half of the collected donations, with a plan to build a church with that in the victim's locality.

While spiritual congregation would be well and good, the urgent need then was for medicine, shelter, clean drinking water and food. Holding back donations that could have help relieve the dire needs of the victims just to build a house of God in reality did God no honour nor show of compassion. The souls of the victims might have been superficially saved but their earthly lives were threatened by those religiously motivated holdbacks.

The same attitude prevailed among some Muslims in a couple of countries. Donations collected was meant only for Muslim victims. Some Arabs even condemned the victims as deserving of Allah's wrath for their sins, and in similar fashion as the Christian case, did Allah no honour. In fact those sanctimous charlatans daringly usurped Allah's almighty prerogative of divine judgement.

Mind you, other ethnic groups, some in Australia, collecting materials and monies for the tsunami victims behaved in likewise fashion - they collected only for their ethnic kinfolks.

The tsunami brought out the best of human traits in mankind, while religion in a few cases brought out the worst.

In Penang, Chinese-Buddhist groups collected and distributed aid to families of Malay fishermen affected by the tsunami. Those Malays who received such aid were moved to sarcastically remarked of government officials, "Those Chinese didn't check whether we were UMNO or PKR supporters before they provided the aid."

Apart from those generous private contributions, KTemoc, speaking as a non-Christian, must praise the Christian nations most for their incredible response. The Europeans and Aussies have been magnificent. The Japanese, Chinese, Russians and others including American citizens were equally generous. The worst were the rich Gulf Arab nations even though they did cough up eventually (and grudgingly), principally because their own press harassed them.

I am glad that Tzu Chi maintains the tradition of Penang Chinese-Buddhist groups of helping everyone in need, regardless of the victims' ethnicity and/or religion.

Amin and Hallelujah.


  1. Hello my dearest Matey KT..

    As you are one of the greatest proponent of conspiracy theory, perhaps you should also read the link below and thus consider why the Arabs only donated USD10.0 million of over USD6.5 billion collected?

    But then again where has all the money gone? Can anyone account for it? Wakakaka..

    America, Israel, India Caused Tsunami, Conspiracy Theory?

    1. instead of helping like Australian government had done by donating AUS$1 Billion, those arabs prefered to blame Israel and America, and to use the occasion of the human tragedy to "export Islam"

      say what you like about the West, their people have been far far more generous than Arabs, except for the one occasion when the USA (New Orleans) suffered from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when then Kuwait donated US$500 million to their white godfather but only to ensure continued US military protection from the Iraqis and Iranians

      We have to ask the Indons where that collected donatiosn have gone.

      BTW, it's been published by an American newspaper that for every $100 the US donated to a victim country, $99 of that would have been spent on the travelling expenses of US officials 'oversighting relief work' in that country

    2. By the bye.. the US Naval Base of Diego Garcia on the Indian Ocean atoll had escaped unscathed! Not even one soul dead. Have they received advance warning of the tsunami?

      They Americans donated USD4.0 billion immediately for this 'divine retribution' incidence. Eminent evangelists and perhaps much much better than the compassionate buddhists. Wakakaka..

      Could the eco-weapons nuclear tests which destabilized the tectonic plates had triggered and caused the impactful disaster?

      Mind you the center of the earthquake that took place more than forty kilometers away under the ocean floor could not have caused such destruction unless nuclear testing had caused these plates to shift and collide?

      Have we missed something mate?


    Here is a Physics-based explanation on why Diego Garcia received minimum impact from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

    The latent power locked in the earth's crust , released in an earthquake, is far far more powerful than any human force. There is no need to consider nuclear explosions.

    As for that claim that 99% of the US Government donations for the 2004 tsunami was spent on US official's travelling expenses, that report has been discredited, and I would categorise it as Fake News.

    For the record the US Government provided $ 935 Million in 2004 tsunami aid, not including the military disaster assistance and Hundreds of Millions privately donated by US Citizens and Corporations. Sure, there were criticisms on how it was spent, just as there was criticism of how Australian and EU disaster relief was spent.

    In the chaos surrounding the 2004 tsunami, there was wasted effort, wasted expenditure, I would say it was not intentional.

    In the critical first 2 weeks after the December 26th tsunami, with roads, communications ,power, water supply, all infrastructure in the Aceh area destroyed, one of the most important roles was played by the US military, brought by the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and its support ships.
    The carrier's heavy helicopters delivered aid where roads and bridges had all been washed out or blocked by debris. Marine Amphibious tracked vehicles delivered food and water where no ordinary vehicles could enter.
    The aircraft carrier's nuclear-powered desalination plant provided hundreds of tons of safe drinking water daily for people who would otherwise would have face either thirst or contaminated water.
    C-5 Galaxy planes flew in 3 mobile hospitals in an area where All hospitals had been destroyed.

    A lot of people around the world Hate the United States, and refuse to acknowledge anything when they do good work.

    Amazingly, Tzu Chi was the first non-US military mobile hospital on the scene in Aceh, within days. They have a fully equipped mobile hospital which can be put on a cargo plane and sent anywhere in the world, together with medical staff, something almost nobody else in the world has outside of the Western militaries.