Sun, 27 Feb 2000

Sharing the same fate

If we talk about globalization, it covers all segments of life and it happens in all parts of the world. Let us take for example corruption, collusion and nepotism (KKN). KKN is certainly not the monopoly of Indonesia. Newspapers reported the scandal in Germany in which former chancellor Helmut Kohl was involved in corruption. In China, where the penalty for corruption can be severe, graft is still rampant.

Poverty: Although refugee camps in East Timor, Maluku and Aceh are still full of displaced persons, CNN on Feb. 10, 2000, reported that Japan, the most affluent country in Asia, harbors 6,000 homeless people in Tokyo alone and there are 20,000 in the entire country. CNN showed the homeless people shivering from the cold; the temperature in winter can drop below freezing. Apparently the government provides them with hot meals and communal barracks, where they find shelter from the potentially fatal cold.

Ruthlessness: Many expatriates in Indonesia undoubtedly could not help shuddering from fear when, some time ago, a local TV station showed a Taiwan woman screaming in anguish when her left arm was cut off by a hoodlum after she resisted his attempt to steal her gold ring. BBC TV and the Newsweek edition of Feb. 14 showed Dr. Shipman in London who coldbloodedly murdered 15 elderly women; it is estimated that another 120 women must have been murdered during his 20 years in practice. That a man whose task is to save people's lives could do such things is beyond my understanding.

Newsweek reported that on the pretext of taking a blood sample, Dr. Shipman would inject a lethal dose of heroin, then watched as the drug took effect. What is astonishing about the whole drama is that the motive of the killings is unclear.

Disaster: Local TV reports showed flooded areas in Jakarta. I have the greatest compassion for people who experience such a natural disaster. The children on TV were laughing because they got a swimming pool for free, but they did not realize that the septic tanks of the houses had overflowed and floods bring various diseases, such as cholera, dysentery, etc.

On Feb. 11, TV reports showed that many parts of Johannesburg in South Africa were inundated under two meters of water and 50 people were killed. So if per chance we are the victims of such a disaster, we can console ourselves with the thought that people in other parts of the world share the same fate.