Croc on the roof

October 16th, 2010 § 0

Depletion of mangroves seems to have driven saltwater crocodiles in Bandung, West Java, to intrude into people’s homes with their usual preys such as birds and frogs virtually gone from estuaries along the coasts of South Java.

Or actually, a naughty male croc pet named “Koing” went loose from his cage and took a climb up to a nearby roof to enjoy his little moment of sunbathing. Koing’s owner is a longtime West Java councilman, Yoga Santosa, who had a little problem recently when his opponents alleged that his high school diploma was faked. The allegation was proven to be false, apparently.

Jakarta does not have floods, idiot!

October 9th, 2010 § 0

Flood in Muara Baru, Jakarta

Governor of Jakarta Mr. Fauzi Bowo has been very kind to point out to us that Jakarta does not have a flood problem. The excessive dampness you are seeing in the streets is a bit of water puddles here and there. Let’s not mix things up here folks. You know you’d be foolish to say the city is flooding when all that’s been happening is just some water that doesn’t drain quickly enough.

I guess when you ran on the platform of ‘Leave it to the experts’ for election, you have to constantly convince everyone that you are an expert. You really shouldn’t let the people judge you by what you’ve been doing. They are not smart enough to be able to differentiate between incremental improvements you have been making and a total mess of a city anyway.

Fokeexpert So here are some ideas. The people say you have failed them? Tell them there is difference between failing and not delivering. They are just not the same. Or they say you are not following through on your campaign promises? Tell them they are not looking hard enough!

Granted this may not make you look emphatic, especially when you’re quoted in the media. But so what? The media do not make people smarter anyway. They’re only good for sound bites right? They are no place for enlightened teachings on city planning jargons that you have to offer.

And of course saying these things may invite your opponents to say some foul things about you. But, pay no mind. If haters are not dissing you, who else will?

So please keep those inspiring words coming, Mr. Governor. Who knows, some of us idiots may end up learning enough from your wisdom that we can also be a governor like you!

Where does violence come from?

October 7th, 2010 § 0

ahmadiyahbogor

The genius Isaac Asimov noted through his cunning character Salvor Hardin that “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent,” and maybe this is an accurate explanation for what is happening around the country lately.

Witness the rage of two ethnic communities in Tarakan, East Kalimantan, as they battle each other to seek what they seem to think to be justice. Or look at how some unverified hearsay provoked a community in Bogor, West Java, to attack their own neighbors and turn their houses and place of worship into rubble. Another example is the unfathomable scene of members of two ethnic gangs dueling in the street in front of the building where justice is supposed to be upheld, despite the presence of a significant number of policemen nearby.

Some scientists say that evolution has given us humans with a survival mechanism that tells us how to respond to a threatening situation. They say that our so-called limbic system dictates three modes of response of freeze, flight and fight when we are faced with danger. The first response, to freeze, is easily seen in animals who will suspend their motion, or even play dead when they see a predator. The flight response, on the other hand, comes into play when we sense that the freeze response does not eliminate the danger and tells us to flee for safety. When freezing and fleeing cannot save us from danger, then, the only alternative left is to turn our fear into rage as we switch to attack mode.

The evolutionary perspective seems to indicate that violence is really the product of desperation. We don’t usually resort to violence when less risky options are available, and really shouldn’t in the interest of our own survival.

But of course it would be wrong to say that violence is only a type of reaction to a perceived threat. After all there seems to be people who take pleasure in seeing others (and probably themselves) suffer. However, this is a type of pathology and doesn’t seem to fit the communal type of violence as we see here. The only way that this has anything to do with the recent string of violent clashes is if somehow there’s somebody behind the screen that is orchestrating the whole thing. Which is a really scary thought.

Naturally the question is then if what we’re seeing is a wave of desperation all over the country, or is it the work of some really sick individuals pulling all the strings in the shadows?

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