I was in Bandung isolated from world news when my friends and family sent me text messages asking if I was affected by the earthquake in Sumatra. What earthquake, I asked my wife. And where is Sumatra? My wife told me that Sumatra is nearer to Singapore than Bandung and it was my turn to ask if my friends in Singapore was okay.
Looking forward, I believe that there is a silver-lining to all that happened.
Before the tsunami swept across southern Asia, Indonesia government was at war with the Aceh. The rebels in Aceh was fighting for independence. Indonesia government had 30,000 strong force deployed in Aceh.
Somewhere not too far away, Sri Lanka has issues with the rebel Tamil Tiger.
After the disaster struck, when 80 percent of the capital of Aceh was destroyed and when the Aceh government totally shut down – dead, missing, or busy looking for loved ones – Indonesia government steps in and helps. Call it political propaganda, I doubt if the Aceh conflict will renew itself in the short run.
And in Sri Lanka, both the government and the rebel recognised that something bigger than war has happened and hopefully, this will turn into something better in the future.
Something on the light side, when one of my friend sent me a sms telling me that Sri Lanka was hit the worst, I asked should it not be Sumatra that hit the worst? Apparently the statistics from Indonesia came late but I joked in return that there may be more animals died than human beings (I was not aware if there was any major civilisation in Sumatra).
It turns out the animals may have sixth sense on natural disasters. Reports have confirmed this interesting finding during this recent tsunami.