Sunday, 1 January 2012

The calamitous Bangkok Flood in late 2011

Look, I found two baby pigs from the bottom of the river!
US Vietnam War veterans would shudder with fear just looking at this pic. VietCongs treated them this way when they were captured and tortured in the 1960-70s
Please do not drop the food trays. The lunch pack is for the abbot of our temple.
Thai people love their pets unconditionedly. This dog clings to dear life upon its owner.
    Just in for this pet dog could not be ignored
Anyone home? This reptile escaped from one of the crocodile farms during the great flood and was stricken with hunger.

Bangkok City, Thailand's capital was hit with a calamitous flood it last encountered 50 years ago. The months old new government led by PM Yingluck Shinawatra was caught off-footed with little preparation and limited effort they could do to control the magnitude and confront the natural disaster. The sudden onslaught of the catastrophe claimed 800 lives with many more missing or unaccounted for. Naturally the economy of the otherwise prosperous nation suffered, particularly the tourism industry which has been their important foreign exchange earner that contributes to Thailand’s GNP substantially. The nation saw a drastic drop of tourists’ arrival by 5million to 7.5million since early October to late November 2011. For many Thai establishments and workers plying the tourism trade, that was an awful disaster alright, with the loss of earnings running into billions of dollars.

 Let me help you to get away from the water. Will you help me in the future?
Spoken too soon.
Thai people love dogs immensely. They won't leave home without them in desperate times.
                How could you fellow leave without taking me along?
Don't mean to encroach the praying altar for the deity; I am just trying to keep myself above water. You know well: Misery acquaints strange bedfellows.
Stop doing this, people are watching. Two monitor lizards found their way to dry land.

Twenty or more years ago I read a report from English newsprint regarding the gradual sinking of Bangkok city. That was worrisome as I saw skyscrapers and towering hotels all over the enticing and striking city whenever I visited Bangkok. The mother river Chao Phraya to the Thais flows 372 km (231 miles) southwards towards Bangkok and its wide estuarine territories before making its exit to Gulf of Thailand, through the low lying alluvial plain. With no mountainous topography or hilly land along where the river flows, flash floods could occur frequently as I saw it. Then the huge scaled flooding of Oct-Nov 2011 Bangkok and the neighboring provinces caught everyone by rude shock and unpleasant surprise.

Attractive Yingluck Shinawatra; at 44, she became the 28th PM of Thailand in August 2011, the youngest in 60 years of Thai history.
                       What an unique experience for a picnic.
That's why we call them water buffaloes. They work better than horses in waterway.

Great time surfing!
Come dine with me! Happiness was written on his face as he still could have his meal over a floating refrigerator door. The Thais are tough people that they can overcome all obstacles in time of hardship, with smiling faces.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of the Pheu Thai Party took over the helm to run the administration of the nation after a landslide victory during the last election with 265 winning seats. She became the 28th PM of Thailand in August 2011 with the formation of a coalition with other minor parties. Critics and rivals attributed her success to the distant interference, assistance and advice of her fugitive brother, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra. In a way it was quite true and correct to assert that as Thaksin had told radio hosts during tele-interviews that Yingluck could speak or make decision on his behalf etc. The sudden escalation of the deadly flood caught the Yingluck administration unprepared in predicament; it had become a real litmus test for Yingluck’s capability. In the beginning there were conflicting statements from her PM’s department and the Bangkok Mayor’s office, regarding the expected period of the flood receding. So far she fared not too bad in handling major problems amidst harsh criticism aiming at her. For a promising start, she received congratulatory messages from Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar and the Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen right after her swearing in as the PM. She had deferred her intended visits to neighbouring nations for diplomatic protocols due to the emergence of the crisis brought on by the devastating flood.

Business could never be that good. All items on shelves were emptied in matter of hours.
This lady couldn't hide her grateful feeling of relief as she managed to buy some essential items.
                        Don't hurry me as I'm in a haste to deliver too!
No worry, everyone will get a seat - confirmed.
Proving the world is round has never been so easy. Wish Gallileo Galilei could have taken a ride in a helicopter to discover that. Then again neither Aristotle nor Copernicus got a chance to prove that in this way too.
Wow, Ah Mah - Chiah beh liau! The fish is too large for the family.
The floating tut tut........wonder it's workable? need to test it in water first.
Out of this world but it seemed to be running well on dry road.
Very thoughtful of them. Only hope that the waste won't go into the canals or river directly.
At least they could keep their legs dry when running through water.
                                Real funny stuff. He might tumble anytime.
                      Complicated design; wonder how it works?
  What if one of the stilt poles got stuck in one hole? He'd fall, of course.

Apart from lamenting their huge loss on economic earning and over deaths, injuries and properties in ruins, the naturally optimistic Thai people put up a brave front and smiled to face the tough challenge ahead. They ingeniously re-designed or modified their means of transport to proceed with their daily commuting. Some of them were funny and ludicrous but amazingly workable in wet ground and in water ways.

Bad, all my chickens are dead! Should have sold them yesterday!
If I knew earlier, I would not have fattened the pigs to this weight. Now we got problem.
                                                Swimming piglets.
   You sure these plastic water bottles could help me to stay afloat?
Where do I begin?

Not only the humans suffered from the sudden surge of the flood, the pets, poultry, cattle and other animals also had their desolate times in dire straits to seek survival or refuge. Keen Photographers and anxious tourists to this country of wonders, myriad of temples, countless island paradise resorts, tempting and sensual nightlife, low priced merchandises, and friendly people, begin to flock to the country of freedom, i.e. the Kingdom of Thailand once again. I believe that Thailand will see its tourism industry resumes to its former glory pretty soon.

The effect of the flood is tantalizing; hundreds of cars soaked in unwelcome water with their roofs exposed. The Honda assembly plant destroyed 1,055 flood-damaged cars.
A roundabout offered space for temporary car parks
The ancient capital city of Ayutthaya was badly hit by the massive flood, particular with its large industrial sites of factories and motor vehicle assembly plants. They were forced to cease operation as machinery, office blocks, and their factory premises were submerged in water. Apart from that human lives are of paramount importance. Ayutthaya, an United Nation Heritage site was famous for its sprawling 400 golden temples; some of which would have been damaged beyond repair. The city is just about 85km north of Bangkok.
One of the many Ayutthaya temple ruins. The city was a thriving Siamese kingdom from 1350-1767 until the Burmese conquered it.

Alan CY Kok

This is the New Year Day for 2012. I sincerely wish everybody
"Happy New Year!" and thank all readers of my blog for the kind
support, encouragement, comments and advice. May the year 2012
bring you happiness, good wealth and health, and peace too.
Once again,

Thank You Very Much! Happy New Year and God Bless You!

All pictures used for this article are obtained
from mails I received through internet.

Alan CY Kok


  1. Jeremy Lim comments:

    Hi Alan

    Again, with Alan's briskness and some humorous mixed with factual accounts of the calamitous Bangkok flood really intriguing with his vast collection of the flood scenes and flood caricatures, 'funny and ludicrous but workable'. Alan writes that the Thais had ingeniously re-designed or modified to face tough challenges ahead. Indeed necessity is the mother of invention applies aptly as Alan's writing skill has once again proven to be workable too.

    On a lighter side, there is talk that with the first female PM coming to power, she has been tested and apparently survived it, otherwise, there will be a military coup to send her away, just like her brother was being handled in 2006 or thereabout.

    Having said, it's a great delight to read Alan's latest posting as it has something to do with his current profession as a Tourist Guide, 'cos the floods in Thailand could decimate some of his good income in his TG work....


  2. Dr KS Gan of Denver, Colorado comments:

    Great writing (Bro Robert must be turning in his grave) - news of the flood and tennis. The picture and your captions (you have your funny side) tell it all and one has to feel bad for the Thai people afftected by the flood. I heard alot of factories etc were 'hurt' by the flood. I still remember, the Muar flooding in the 60s. KS