28 February 2007

Sir, You Want To Upsize Your Capsize?

Just when we have the tragedies of the ill-fated Adam Air crash cum ferry sinking , killing almost 1000 people over the new year, we have another ferry disaster and a near fatal Adam Air (again!) "hard landing", barely 60 days later.

What the heck is the Indonesian Gahmen doing? Were the deaths of almost 1000 people not big enough a wake up calls do something about the appalling state of transportation safety?

Have they no regards for the lives of the people?

It saddens me to see tragedies happening almost daily all over the world. However, it angers me more to see tragedies happening so often at one particular place.

Do these people not learn anything at all? 

Surely you think that after one disaster, people (especially in the affected region) would take notice of their shortfall and quickly start to rectify the problems in the hope that such mistakes do not get repeated again. Well, apparently not so for the Indonesians as one disasters follows another, like it was a clockwork routine.

 Natural disasters like the Tsunami a couple of years ago, was most unfortunate and unavoidable. It is after all what is known an "act of god". However, things like airplanes crashes and ferry sinkings are mostly a result of human causes. Time and again we hear of news of ferry sinkings as a result of overloading, compromised safety standards and enforcement and/or shortcut maintenance. Same goes for the airplanes sans the overloading part.

How much more anguish must the people suffer before feeling the pain?
It seems to me that these disasters happen so often that they now no longer feel anything. They are numbed already. Sad, really sad.
It seems almost like a fast food restaurant dishing out disasters one after another in quick succession, 24/7. No Hello Kitty plush toy here. Sorry.

"Er... I would like to order the Air Crash Value Meal and a side order of a medium Ferry Sinking."

"Sir, you want to upsize your capsize?"

So, to our Indonesia neighbours. I bid thee good luck. I hope you wake up your bladdy ideas before one day there isn't enough of you to go around.

* Photograph courtesy of Reuters
 - Voxeros

1. spinnee left...
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 3:05 pm
hahaah you are really darn corny... hahahaha murder king....HAHAHAHAH

2. akk left...
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 3:43 pm
it can also be 'Sir, you want lives with that?'

3. Pam left...
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 4:54 pm
hiya... I don't think it's a case of not being able to do anything. I would hope that they would do something about it - more the case of the size of the problem being so huge that it's difficult for the bystander (or indeed the government agencies involved) to see the small changes being made to rectify the situation. It does take time for any change to have a reasonable impact. I think, fortunately, because we live (ed) in a small city state like Singapore, we've become accustomed to how 'fast' some things can take place. Like, changing Ic/passports - it can take a day. Over here, it can take a week (although they inform you to allow for 4 weeks!). Let's hope that there are changes being made to how the transport system's safety issues are being tackled, and hopefully there will be less of such tragedies, soon.

4. JayWalk left...
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 5:33 pm ::
Spinnee: Ahhh.. Thank you.

Akk: Make that a packet of Fried Lives with extra chilli.

Pam: I agree with you that it is not a case of not being able to do anything. It is a case of not doing anything. Granted for a big place, it takes time to implement anything but seriously, do you think the Indonesian gahmen has done anything since the last tragedy? I highly doubt so.

Unfair to compare them with a small country? Fine. Let's take USA for example. As far as I know, their FAA is one of the most impressive agencies in the world as far as air safety is concerned.

Too first-world you say? Fine. Even Ch1na's air safety standards, granted not perfect, is still miles ahead of Indonesia. Sure, we still have crashes all around Ch1na from time to time. At least it is a case of trying and the unfortunate case of coming up short. At least they tried.

Did the Indonesians even try?

5. Pam left...
Thursday, 1 March 2007 1:01 am
well, we don't really know whether the Indonesian govt's done anything. I don't think it's really for us to comment since we're not Indonesians, and since we don't live there, and because we're not the Indonesian govt.

USA's FAA is impressive in terms of air safety...but they also have other sorts of safety disasters, down to human error. How do you know that China's trying and Indonesia isn't?

6. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 1 March 2007 10:20 am ::
Pam: Good point and you really got me cornered there for I have nothing to back me up.
Honestly, these are opinion based on what I see and personally observe during my travels. Sure we have crashes in Ch1na and the US but take these numbers and divide by the total number of flights in each country and you will see a very impressive percentage figure.

No one can guarantee absolute safety, we all try our best. Even SQ crashed in Taipei among many other little mishaps that went unreported. My dad was in an SQ plane whose wings slashed the tail of another plane during taxiing. You don't hear that in the papers do you?

Coming back to the Indons. Granted that I am baseless to say that they aren't doing anything but I have even higher doubts if you tell me that they are.

7. Jaslyn left...
Thursday, 1 March 2007 11:08 am ::
Hahhaa.. I like the murder king thingy. U're darn creative!

8. JayWalk left...: Jaslyn: Thanks. Thanks. I will come up with more when I get new inspiration.

9. Pam left...
Thursday, 1 March 2007 4:40 pm
well,I'm not going to tell you that they are doing something - but neither can I tell you that they aren't. I think we should just leave it as that, and hope that there are some conscientious bureaucrats within their system who will do something about it...soon. Perhaps our expectations are different from theirs. I was watching Morgan Spulnik's series on 30 days (the guy who did the expose on McDonald's - eating Mc's for 30 days). He did something on an American computer programmer whose job got outsourced to India - so he went to India for 30 days to see what life's like, to see if he could get a job in India with his qualifications. It was interesting to find out that although there was a side of India that was very rich (big flashy buildings), there were so many slums (people begging, living in slums, tin huts etc) it was quite a contrast. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that, our expectations tend to stem from our experiences (so when he first went to India, he was kinda upset that 'India had stolen his job'), but only when you are in the actual situation/context, can you actually see how things work, or don't work - in the Indonesian case.

10. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 1 March 2007 9:02 pm ::
Pam: Here's my beef on the whole issue. They just had a plane crash and a ferry sinking. Then barely 60 days later, they have a near-crash (same airline some more!) and another ferry sinking.
More lives were lost.

Complaints against airlines both private and commercial have been around for years, if not decades, which led me to the opinion that they have fallen on deaf ears.

Even if, giving them the benefit of doubt that they had begun doing something about it. It sure is a crappy job at the rate that they are doing and I wonder how many more lives are going to continue to be at such extravagant risk?

I saw the "Supersize Me" docu-movie but not this new one. You have the title? I would like to go check this one out.

11. Pam left...
Thursday, 1 March 2007 9:24 pm
it's a whole series called '30 days'. Don't know if you can combine google that and see if you can come up with a weblink. They also showcase issues like atheists moving into homes of church-vicars; pro-choice people hanging out with pro-life; muslims and christians. it's interesting.

I don't think it's statistically significant that these events have all happened in the Indonesian waters/area. Like you said, there are lots of things happening around the world, and we don't even know that they have happened. I didn't know about these events unless I read them here - Conversely, did you know that a train derailed a couple of days ago on its way to Glasgow and an old lady died? Many people have said that the error is similar to the Potters Bar accident a few years ago (nearer London). There was also near-miss plane crash in Ireland a few months back because the pilot was trying to save time and do less of a u-turn. Let alone what happens in the rest of Europe, Americas, Australia, Africa.

What I'm trying to say is, it's very easy to make comments and pass judgements on events that we know very little about and have very little knowledge about the situation and context. So, unless you know an Indonesian goverment official who's directly involved with the transport safety, I wouldn't want to make any more judgement on this. Besides, it's easy to talk and condemn; much more difficult to put things into effective action. Some of things they'd have to deal with include corruption, miscommunication, education levels, lack of infrastructure, lack of funds etc. When these things aren't as prevalent as they are in such countries, things generally get moving quicker.

12. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 1 March 2007 9:42 pm :
Pam: Ah yes. The keyword here is "corruption". I was holding back from saying it out loud to see if I could solicit out from you.

Indonesian have the money to make things right but only if it goes to the right places. It is kind of an open secret that the various agencies are paid off to look the other way while the airlines, in the interest of maximising profits, take short cuts wherever they can to the extend of compromising safety.

Things as simple as one life-vest under every seat in the ferry would be a rare find.

I used to travel to Indonesia quite a bit back in the day and I can tell you more horror stories. Some of them not even printable here.

13. Pam left...
Thursday, 1 March 2007 10:01 pm
There are many more countries out there that face what Indonesia face on a daily basis. I had relatives and friends in Indonesia too - I think the key word here is, 'had'. They've all left for better pastures...!

14. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 1 March 2007 10:36 pm :: 
Pam: Indeed they are and we haven't even cover the African continent yet. As bad as Indonesia may sound, it can still be a place to prosper as along as you are on top of their game. Problem is that there will be that one day where a careless slip would send you spiraling towards the ground. You'd be lucky if you hit zero and not further beyond.

I think your friends and relatives have made a wise decision to get out while still ahead.

15. Rick left...
Wednesday, 7 March 2007 1:21 pm
There's another flight accident involving Garuda airlines at Java Island, Indonesa today...

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