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article imageOp-Ed: In times of natural disaster, why do politicians lie?

By D Scott Rosenberg     Oct 10, 2011 in World
Bangkok - In times of natural disasters why can't our politicians be straightforward and tell us the truth? Why do they tell us one thing and end up doing another?
The latest government "spin" on the deluge of water heading toward Bangkok from its northern provinces is that Bangkok is "prepared for any possible flooding in the city". I suppose they are saying this now as the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration held a ceremony to beg the Brahman River Goddess "Kang Ka", to quickly lower the flood waters in Bangkok.
And despite floods wreaking havoc in almost 30 provinces, head of the Metropolitan Administration, Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra is insisting the capital will escape the worst of the deluge. Why not - It was his office that directed Bangkok government officials to "prey" to Kang Ka.
Oh, and by-the-by, as Governor Paribatra says everything will be alright out of one side of his mouth, media are carrying stories of a statement he made saying authorities were preparing an evacuation plan to move people from affected areas if floods hit the capital.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has not been much help either. In a televised talk on October 7th she said, "Bangkok is a river basin. When there are heavy downpours, the city is a swamp." But then she flip-flopped and said, "But I believe Bangkok will be able to drain the flow of water in time."
In time for what? To prevent more from dying than the 260+ people that have already been swept away by the floods?
Politician double-talk of course is not endemic to Southeast Asia. My gosh, look at the USA and Europe.
But in times of natural disaster can't politicians be more truthful with their people? Here in Southeast Asia several countries have suffered serious flooding in recent weeks because of heavy monsoon rains combined with tropical storms. The Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia.
Could lives have been saved if our elected leaders were better prepared and thinking about solutions to problems instead of ways to stay in power and get more votes?
Surely we all know the answer.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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