TV SMITH's Dua Sen: One Night
TV Smith's Dua Sen
TV Smith's Dua Sen. The politically incorrect irregular columnist combines his idiosyncratic observations and tangential commentary into a blog...


by TV Smith

20:00: The Indonesian President issues a terse statement on the downing of an Indonesian jetfighter in Malaysian airspace. With this latest incident, the dispute over territorial claims in the Sulawesi Seas simmers to near boiling point.

21:00: Supermarkets and grocery shops do brisk business as nervous citizens stock up in anticipation of war.

00:05: Engineer Ng Yew Fatt of TNB’s National Load Despatch Centre in KL just got off the phone with his counterpart at the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). There were some unusual fluctuations detected in the 110km long 300 KV DC overhead transmission line between Khlong Ngae station in Songkhla and Gurun converter station in Kedah. Calls to Gurun went unanswered.

00:12: Strong earthquake tremours are felt throughout the northern states of Malaysia. The exact epicenter and magnitude of the earthquake is not immediately known.

00:15: Dazed residents scrambled from swaying buildings and panicking motorists abandoned vehicles as roads cracked in front of their eyes.

00:20: Injured Sarjan Rosli Hussein of the Gurun police station attempts to contact Bukit Aman on his mobile phone. The station's desktop radio transceiver and antenna are buried under rubble. His mobile phone keeps indicating a busy network. Unbeknown to him, all nearby mobile network repeaters are also damaged.

00:21: Ng is suddenly alerted by flashing lights on the control panel. Collapsed high-voltage transmission towers in northern Perak triggered a domino effect, tripping the entire National Grid within minutes.

00:22: The entire nation plunges into total darkness.

00:30: Indonesian warships are spotted off Batam and Langkawi.

00:45: All three mobile communication networks are paralysed when the remaining cells became overloaded with millions of concurrent calls.

00:50: S Gunasekaran is awaken by sweat and heat in his apartment in Bangsar. He steps out into the balcony of his 34 storey high apartment for some fresh air. Expecting a local outrage, he was shocked to see the entire city and surroundings pitch-dark.

00:55: A squadron of MiG-29s prepares for takeoff at the RMAF air base in Kuantan.

01:00: Cut off from the Internet and television at home, Jeff Ooi tunes his car radio in Subang Jaya. There are no broadcasts as the microwave links from the stations to the transmitters at Gunung Ulu Kali and KL Tower are disrupted.

01:30: RMAF jets screamed through the moonless KL sky. Fueled by rumours and conflicting reports, many thought the nation is already at war.

01:45: Residents living near military installations in Jalan Semarak, Sg Besi and Old Klang Road flee for fear of enemy air strikes.

01:47: The PM, DPM, cabinet ministers and top defense officials gather inside a fortified bunker at a secret underground location outside Putrajaya.

02:30: Troops deployed to impose curfew and quell looting at several areas.

All it takes is one night, to bring an unprepared nation down to its knees...

---------- End of fictional account ----------
( this disclaimer added for the benefit of MPs )

During (and immediately after) a disaster, information becomes just as vital to the disaster victims as food, water and shelter. Confusion and disinformation occur when there is no reliable dissemination system. While we are making efforts in the right direction, our disjointed Disaster Preparedness Plan is still based on the notion that television and the Internet are invulnerable and widely accessible.

That's OK, if we work on a best case scenario or when there are no mass casualties. These communication channels are not very useful when people are afraid to go back indoors, are stranded or homeless. Even mobile networks will become hopelessly overloaded and land lines will be cut in many places as in the 1995 Kobe earthquake.

Along with first aid kits, every home should have a grab bag that includes a torchlight and a transistor radio with fresh batteries. Grundig makes a handy Hand Crank Emergency Radio but it too will be rendered useless if the transmission network is not protected.

Perhaps a better solution might be a dedicated emergency radio channel broadcasting on both FM and AM, independent of RTM stations and Telekom towers. Through this official advisory channel, the public can receive up-to-the-minute reports, timely alerts and evacuation instructions when needed, from anywhere. It beats staring at a blank screen anytime.

© 2005 TV SMITH
Link to this article:



Link to TV Smith's Dua Sen:

Contact / Feedback / Subscribe / Unsubscribe:    

Meet more Malaysian bloggers at MyCen Blog Directory