Prepping in Malaysia: Water Rations


water chart level

(More people means higher consumption and coupled with a longer run of the dry season causes a dangerous level at the water catchment areas. Image source: TheStar)

Here are some snippets on the on-going water ration that you may have or may not have read.

At first comes the disbelief and outrage of the whole idea of water rationing (understandably from those who need a constant supply of water for business) – after all, we never had water ration in the past before and it is a fact that Malaysia stacks at the middle of the tropics and is no stranger to heavy rain in the evenings makes water rationing almost an alien concept :-

Malaysians reacted with a mixture of disbelief and outrage over the announcement that even more water cuts would be headed their way beginning this Friday. Having been forced to change their lifestyles to weather the water crisis, residents and business owners alike were demanding that the authorities figure out a way to improve the situation fast.

(Source)

This year, water rationing has become a harsh reality and I am sure in the coming years, water rations would be a yearly event. And despite the disbelief & outrage that one may make on the water rations, this is reality and there is nothing anyone could do if we do not want to deplete the water so quickly. Water ration in the Klang Valley started with Phase 1 back in February 2014, subsequently Phases 2 & 3 was initiated and we have now come to Phase 4 which started last week and already there are talks of Phase 5 water rationing:-

Phase four of water rationing in the Klang Valley begins on Friday but talks on phase five are already taking place as water reserves at dams in Selangor continue to drop below critical levels. Insiders say if the water levels decrease and rain does not fall over the water catchments areas, rationing could continue until the end of the year.

(Source)

And for the record, even the wettest town in the country is facing the same problem and this should indicate the chaos in the climate system in the last few years:-

Water rationing in the country’s wettest town, Taiping, begins today and will last two weeks. Public utilities, infrastructure, energy and water committee chairman Datuk Zainol Fadzi Paharuddin said the water rationing will affect 23,719 households in Taiping as well as several areas in Kamunting.

“Although there was heavy rainfall near the Air Kuning dam area over the weekend, we will still go ahead with rationing to control and maintain a healthy level of water supply in the district,” he said. He said this is the first time water rationing is being carried out in the state.

(Source)

It may get worse in the coming years. Water has always been one of the key priority at home when it comes prepping and readiness for unexpected long term water disruption. Now we are faced with actual water rations with some saying will last until July this year (or worse December), it was interesting to see what worked and what did not and what can be improved.

Rainwater harvesting system

Before I go further, for your information, there is no rainwater harvesting system in place yet. It is not that I have not given it’s due thought on this – no doubt, rainwater harvesting system will cut down the usage of treated water used for car washing, toilet and general cleaning and will save up on the water bills. One big problem is finding enough space for the rain water harvesting system. It is not a small piece that one can just plug and play. Presently there is only limited space on my porch and the only I could expand it is if I renovate the whole place (one day I will) by shifting the pillars to the side and tile up the whole area. For the time being, there is no time or budget for that.

But having said that, I wonder why there has not been a greater call for rain water harvesting system to be part of the standard facility for all new housing areas. House price is already at an insane level – a couple of more thousand does not make any much difference. This rain water harvesting system remains an illusive item to most of us and it is not because of the price or lack of suppliers in the country but rather it is due to a lack of the space.

I did try to set up a very rudimentary rainwater harvesting system – a simple pail set at where the rain water falls from the roof and the water then stored in a water drum that can be sealed and used for toilets. But this cannot be done all the time especially when sometimes there is a serious lack of rain and if it rains, it is not enough to fill up the pail.

Realigning water usage

Obviously with water rations in place with 2 days with water and 2 days without water, we had to change our lifestyle rather drastically.

The first one to be thrown out of the window was my weekly car wash. I also have decided not to visit the road side car wash – it is still good water down the drain (I wonder why road side care wash centers are not banned in time of water crisis). On the days when we don’t get water, we still use the washing machine for washing clothes as normal BUT not for the whole washing process. My wife hand pre-washes the clothes first using less water (assuming) and then put these clothes into the washing machine on SPIN mode which spins the clothes but does not use water. There’s less work for my wife too.

Long showers have been cut short too. These days we take enough to keep ourselves clean. This however does not apply for the kids – they still have to take a proper shower. Same goes for cooking at home (which also means dish washing). On the days when we don’t get water, we don’t cook. We opt to eat outside. However the negative side of this is that we have to spend more money to buy food from outside. Yes, we save water in a way but in the long run, it is not cost effective. Money that could be used for water bills ends up many fold over on outside food and drinks.

And last week, when the kitchen cabinet contractors finally came to start work on my new kitchen cabinet (yes, finally!), we had to schedule their work time with the day when we get the water. Thankfully the workers’ boss understood the situation and rescheduled the work schedule for us.

pailswatershortagelim0103

(Selling like hot cakes – plastic water storage. Image source: theStar)

Extra storage

The other aspect of water ration is water storage. With less water used on days when the water is rationed by realigning the use of treated water, there is an added comfort if you have that extra storage of water lying some where in the house, just in case the water ration is extended for another day or two. Water storage is very high on our priority list.

In addition to the house water tank located on the roof, we had to ensure that we had stored enough water for drinking, cooking, washing, bathing and for use of toilet and this must be enough to last the whole household for at least 2 days or more. From the onset, as part of my prepping readiness, I had ensured that storage for drinking water is addressed first. We can go on without bathing for days but we cannot do the same when it comes to drinking water.

The 2 large 15 liters water containers was more than enough to sustain us for the 2 days (despite the water disruption and the warm weather making us to drink more water). Based on my calculation, it should last us for at least a week. And to be on the safe side, for my daughter’s use, we also bought 2 boxes of 1.5 liter drinking water bottles. Each box has about 1.5 liter 12 bottles – so in total we had about 66 liters of drinking water which is sufficient to meet the daily recommended water intake per person for 1 week. In addition to this, we had filled up 4 pots of raw tap water that can be easily boiled for drinking. That adds another 40 liters of drinking water. So drinking water was not a major problem.

For bath and toilet, we had bought 3 huge water containers (about 80 liters each) at about RM70 each (price jacked due to the water crisis, no doubt) and this is filled to the brim when we had water and kept this stored water unused until the house tank water goes dry.

Moving forward

Then the question that begs to be answered is whether with Phase 1, 2, 3 & 4 water rations in place, does it really saves up water? If you ask me, it does not – it seems like we still use the same amount water on an average basis. Dirty clothes still need to be washed. We still need to take shower and use the toilet. We may not cook at home but since we buy food from the outside, the restaurant still uses water. But this is something for the authorities to consider in the long run. As individual preppers, what is more important is storage and managing usage for greater sustainability.

This makes an interesting case study for prepping in Malaysia in the coming years and may inspire non-believers, those who had thought good things are here forever to be a prepper. Water rations could just be start of things to come. With more changes to the global climate, things will change and some will change drastically. At the end, it will fall on how ready we are to meet these changes.

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The “Tidak Apa” Syndrome


To those who are not familiar with this expression, “tidak apa” may mean many things but for me it is loosely translated as “don’t care attitude”. Instead of saying that it is something unique to this country, I would rather say that it is the sick curse in this country. Some people are simply don’t care on their services, the work they do, the quality of products that they produce and on the impact of their shoddy work and attitude on others.

Let’s focus on the quality of goods – the reason for this post this week.

Quality of goods that we have in this country, generally is acceptable provided we are willing to pay the high price for it. There are several occasions when I had bought certain things, it had turned to be poorly made item. Quality control still lacking – either the manufacturer does not have the right quality control processes in place (are they that ignorant?) or they don’t take the trouble to pay that extra money or effort to produce high quality products. You go to any car workshop and when asked for the quality parts, they will usually quote parts from Japan (and sometimes from the US or Germany) but rarely from Malaysia. Parts from Malaysia is usually for those who want to buy things cheap and willing to compromise on quality, so they say and often there is some truth to it. This is the general state of the impression on Malaysian made goods and its quality although in recent years, quite number of manufacturers (such as Proton with their Preve’ model) and distributors have buck up on the level of quality considerably.

Here’s my case at hand:-

1

(Exhibit No 1 – Nano water filter that is made in or with Korean technology and conforms to international standards and member of a number of water quality associations as displayed on the box. Look at the condition of the sealant at the bottom and it is well made)

2

(Exhibit No 2 – the same nano water filter but distributed by a local company with no information as to where it is made and whether it conforms to any standards and it is not hard to see why. Look at the condition of the filter and you may wonder why this has not been rectified before it is sold to the public – lack of quality is too obvious)

I buy water filters for my portable water filters and I usually buy in a bigger numbers as I usually change the filters on a regular basis. Stocking up water filters is also part of my prepping strategy. The first image at the top is what I expect a good water filter should look like and the second image is a water filter distributed by a local distributor. You can see difference in quality immediately and since lately the hypermarket that I usually go to had stocked up only the locally distributed water filters and stop selling the one I usually buy (I seriously do not know why), for that instance I had no choice but use the local distributor’s filter despite the obvious lack of quality and being sold for the same price as the better quality made ones. At the end, it does not really do the job (and is a health hazard) no thanks to the shoddy quality of the sealant and I replaced it within the same day (and dispose off the water filtered). Money and time wasted – so I made my case with the place where I bought the filters and I was assured that the matter would be brought to the attention of the manufacturer. Whether things will change or not, I am not sure but I would not be buying any items from the same distributor until I see a real improvement of quality. But if this “tidak apa” attitude continues, rest assured that locally made products will be looked with grave suspicion.

And that is not the end of “tidak apa” attitude that I recently encountered.  One good place to see the “tidak apa” attitude at work on a regular basis is on Malaysian roads. It does not take long to see idiots changing lanes without indicating and jumping queues without any care of the rest of the motorists patiently waiting in line for their turn. And there is the mother of “tidak apa” attitude when you see a motorcyclist – not the one riding 250cc and above bikes but rather those 100cc – 150 cc puny bikes. A sudden change of lane, riding without any helmets (or license) and against the traffic by these bikers is nothing new and I have written a number of posts on this.

Just a couple days ago, I saw a black Audi driver (plate number WJJ ****) on the fast lane of the highway just after Seremban and was blocking an ambulance on its path. The weather was bad and despite the ambulance blaring siren and strobe lights (a clear cut sign of emergency), the idiot behind the wheels of the black Audi simply drove on the same lane as if he owed the road. Breaking the law and endangering the patient in the ambulance seemed to be last thing in the Audi driver’s mind. I just hope that one day when his loved ones (or himself) is in the ambulance, he will know how precious time is and the need for the ambulance to have its way without an idiot with a “tidak apa” attitude blocking its way.

Then the next day when we went to one of the fast food restaurant (which should have a better customer service than this), we were rudely reminded that despite that the restaurant is part of a global franchise and carries a well known brand, it is at the end of the day is manned by Malaysians with the usual “tidak apa” attitude. We went on a “working day” and before the normal lunch time so naturally the restaurant was not full but we had to wait for our tables to be cleared (it was only cleared when we came over). We ordered our food and we managed to get most of it but not the forks and spoons. We had to call one of the staff twice to remind on this and only then we got the utensils (whilst our food was getting cold). We did not get all of the food that we ordered so once again we need to remind the staff. Then I guessed that the staff do not understand English – which explains the blur look when I asked for the forks and spoons. And we were not the only one faced this problem. When I went to counter to pay, one of the customer was complaining very loudly and remarked that she had not seen service this bad in such restaurant. Instead of apologizing or assuring the customer that they will look into the quality of service, the lady behind the counter (the manager seems to be missing despite the loud voice of the customer) kept quiet and maintain her “tidak apa” look, making customer (and me) irritated even more.

The same “tidak apa” attitude is probably what causes the blatant waste of public funds as reported in the AG’s report on almost yearly basis. No one seemed to care that the money that they waste does not even belongs to them and the fact that they are expected to be responsible for the expenditures does not move them for the better. To make things even worse, the Government maintains the same “tidak apa” gesture towards the wrongdoers – remember the Home Minister supporting the lost at sea comment? By not whacking the wrongdoers, they actually condones the waste of public funds and corrupt way of doing business.

And speaking about the ‘tidak apa” attitude at Government level, it’s high time we relook into the “dump the dumb politicians” call. The next general election may be years away but it does not mean that we can close one eye (and ears) whenever an idiot takes the center stage and makes a fool of this nation & its people (never mind if he makes a fool of himself outside his official stature). After all, if a politician can come out and say that the recent increase of the price of sugar due to *cough* motherly concern on the people’s health and sex drive and not because failure to control expenses or because some one had screwed up the sugar import deal, something is not right (even for a die hard pejuang bangsa dan agama). But that is fine in a way – we don’t expect politicians to change their skin overnight (maybe except when elections are around the corner when they turn Santa Claus left right and center) and in Malaysia in particular, expecting them to be charged & punished for wrongdoings but we cannot continue with our own “tidak apa” attitude too. For start, for those who have not register yourself to vote (and probably don’t care which clown runs the country), try do something about it – go and register yourself to vote and then exercise the right to vote someone more credible. The country belongs to all and each one of us have a great responsibility one way or another in making sure it does not goes down the drain.

Think about it for a second…

Prepping in Malaysia Part 4


Now that the GE13 has ended and Pakatan had settled the issue of the Menteri Besar in Selangor rather peacefully (thank God!), probably it is a best time to go back to our daily routine and one of it would be on prepping.

Read these first:-

canned food

(The canned food in the storeroom. Having enough food and clean drinking water for the family draws the highest priority on my prepping list but of course looking for storage place without it is left on the open is fast becoming an issue – I blame this on housing developers not having basement as a standard house designs in this country. It’s time to be highly creative with storage)

The world did not end last year but it was not the end of prepping as we moved over to 2013. We still had sporadic water disruptions although it was not that bad at my residential area – the water supply resumes the same day although some of my colleagues still had water disruption for days. We have yet to hit the big one on natural disasters including solar storms and global wide pandemic. On the other side of the coin, the recent general elections went rather peaceful and things soon got into a routine just a few days after it had ended although politicians are keeping the fire up the wrong issues for their own political reasons (appointment of the “once banned, once running fugitive” Hindraf’s Waytha as a Deputy Minister and uninspiring Cabinet Ministers however could be good reason to be concerned). So the panic purchase of essential goods before the elections did not happen although I did see more people with extra rice bags in their shopping carts this time around.

There have not been that many changes to my own level of prepping at home other than rearranging some of the storage and cleaning out some of drawers to keep more things.

We now have at least two 10 kg bags of rice on “standby” – when we use one up and pour the load into a separate rice container (which holds about 15 kg of rice), this bag is quickly replaced with a new bag. We had stocked up more on salt, sugar & cooking oil (even since the local store ran out of sugar one day) – all that we use in our daily cooking and always in demand. Storage of the canned food now includes bottles of sauce for spaghetti (my wife nowadays cook them for dinner). I have also added couple bottles of honey – which will come handy if we run out of sugar and of course does not have any expiry date. Air-tight containers (recycled from long titbits containers) are a good way to store spices and other small items – containers are easily stacked up. Instant noodles remains one of the more essential items in the store-room and have a drawer on its own and we now 00include dry noodle packets – it’s cheaper and flexible enough when it comes to cooking them. We stick to the principle of “storing what we eat and eat what we store” – this is to ensure stored food does not expire and we always the “latest” food stored.

One key thing that has improved greatly compared to last year is the understanding among family members on the need for prepping – so they all help out whenever they can when it comes to prepping. Prepping is no longer “sounds Greek”. No more weird looks when I talk about prepping. Family members do their own sundry shopping and whenever possible, now adds to the number of items in the “prepping” storeroom. This of course puts more strain on the available space so we had to be more creative in storing. Despite the rearranging things in the storeroom, squeezing every little bit of space, it is clear that we are running out of storage fast – the renovation of my kitchen (we hoped to get plenty of storage space once done) had to be kept on hold as we have not finalised the contractor, design & the budget.

And when it comes to storage, we also have non-food items to content with – spare batteries, candles, water filters, toiletries, garbage bags and washing items. My son’s room had the space and with a large cabinet in one corner with some old clothes and non essential items taking up precious space, it was time for another round of house-keeping. We threw away 1-2 bags of old DVDs from my collection and at least 3 large bags of old clothes (this one will go into the neighbourhood recycle bin) – we had cleared enough space to store our bathroom essentials – packages of soap bars, tooth pastes, tooth brushes, shaving blades, etc. At another corner, washing essentials – floor cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, tiles cleaners – all kept in place with proper ventilation and far from reach of children. And just like anyone running a storeroom anywhere in the world, inventory checking is a must and we often do that before month end and before we prepare the next month’s shopping list. It also gives us the chance to check on the expiry dates, condition of the items in the storeroom, rotate or use them accordingly and work out the quantity in the storeroom.

Next on the item is drinking water. There is still no rainwater harvesting system in place but this year (thanks to the water leaking into the bedroom), we managed to fix the leaks up at the roof and the water tanks. We can now be assured that we will always have at least full water tank in place should the water supply disrupted without notice. The two 15 litres containers for drinking water remains unchanged – I thought of adding another container but space in the kitchen is at a premium. So I decided to maintain the large raw water drum in the storeroom with a planned replenish cycle of 6 months. There are no plans to add any new water drums / containers until perhaps after my kitchen have gone through the overdue renovation (I already can imagine one corner to stack up with water containers – actively used for drinking and cooking).

When it comes to prepping, one cannot run away from the concept of bug-out-bag or as some would call – “mobile prepping”. I thought I have a reasonable bug-out-bag which I bring along when I go out to work or on long distant journey. My version of the bug-out-bug is not extensive although I want it to be – most of the items are stored in the house instead of the bag. But the more I think about it and as more prepping is done at home, it is clear that my bug-out-bag still has a long way to go before it is considered a bug-out-bag is sufficient enough to sustain for the next 72 hours. So I decided to re-designate it as more of a “get-home” bag (with key things – food, water, utility knife and clothes) than a proper 72 hours bug-out-bag. Work on a proper bug-out-bag have to take a back seat for the time being although I have the right bag for it (tucked away somewhere).

There is still outstanding work to be done namely on improvement of safety and trying to grow own vegetables in our small garden to minimise costs. We tried it before with chillies and tomatoes but the vegetables that we grew did not do well after attacked by pests. We still have 7 months to go before end of the year, so there’s still time to get things done. Perhaps with a mini greenhouse for the plants. For those who have not think about prepping, there is always time and opportunity to start this. We should have “always be ready” mindset so that when the tough gets going, we should always have Plan B lying around somewhere.

To be continued and happy prepping…

It’s raining in the room!


(This blog post was drafted and edited using the Ms Office Mobile apps on Nokia N8 smartphone – it was an experiment to see if I could jot down my thoughts as and when I am on the move and don’t have access to my computer)

Sorry for missing on a post last week but something more urgent came up and derailed the whole plan for the week. Water was leaking into the master bedroom and things were getting from bad to worse.

leaking_room1

(This was bad, very bad indeed – the water was leaking into the room and we had to keep replacing the cloth on the floor as it was getting very wet within minutes. But that was the lesser of our concern – we were more worried on the damage on areas that we could not see and whether there were other leaks that we could not detect. The last thing we need now is a large crack on the wall)

Having water leakages in the house was nothing new since we moved in many years ago. But it rarely happens and when it does, it is when we have “mother of all storms” and the drainage on the roof unable to cope with the sudden influx of rain water. And even we have that, it will quickly dry up in minutes. This time it seems different. It actually started a week ago when we noted a small patch wet area on the master bedroom ceiling but since it had just rained and it was rather heavy, we thought that it will go away like it did in the past. It did not and that small patch got larger. And one day, when I got back home late and getting ready to take my shower, something large and dark caught my sight. Water was flowing from the ceiling and along the wall and to the floor. And worse thing is, it did not rain for past few days, so it was clear that the leak was not from rain water. But it was too late to do anything about it then.

I came home earlier the next day and decided to climb up the roof where the house water tank was located to check whether there was anything leaking there. It was no easy to climb up to the roof but the good thing was I had the expandable steel ladder which was long enough to reach the place (losing some body weight recently made the climb a lot easier). Asking my wife to hold one end of the ladder (and be ready to call the ambulance in case I fall), I started to climb. The ladder shook a bit but it held my weight well until I reached the place where the water tank is located and what I saw shocked me. There were plenty of water dripping from the base of the water tank and making the floor very wet. I did not see any where this water was leaking into my room but some how I knew that the leak in my room and the water dripping from the water tank was somehow connected. We had to stop the water drips from the water tank first for 2 reasons – one was obvious, to stop the leak in the room and two, to stop the unnecessary high water bill due to the water drips (I must have lost a good number of pails of water due to this leakage).

I usually do and done most of the smaller repairs in the house but repairing the large house water tank was not something that I had the skill or experience. We need to call a professional plumber and we need to set aside some money for the repairs (especially if the damage was bad and we had to change the whole tank). We checked with our neighbour who had a minor repairs to his house recently to recommend his trusted contractors but those guys was not reachable when my neighbour tried to call. It seems they were doing work outstation and it will be some days before they can come over. We could not wait that long – a mini flood had started to form in the room by now. Just when we were deciding to pick up the yellow pages to call a random plumber (and open ourselves to insane quotations – CNY coming mah!), my Dad came home from work and after I showed him the leak in the room, he proposed that we engage an Indonesian man who was working as a security guard a couple place away from my Dad’s workplace. My Dad know him well. This man had formerly worked at a construction site and was a very capable handyman. We immediately called him on the phone but he was working then. He promised to come first thing in the morning.

The next day, my Dad called me and said the man had come over and waiting for me to take him to my house. I drove over to my Dad’s workplace and a small built man in a sarong and quite worn out shirt was waiting for me. We introduced each other and I took him to the house. I showed him the leak in the room and informed him on what I saw on the roof. He then climbed up the roof and confirmed that we needed to fix the tank for the leaks first (the leak in the room would be the next thing in the list). He said one of the tank drain pipes had moved (probably due to the recent rains and the original sealant had become too old & brittle) and caused the leak. That was something not unusual and is easily fixable (for all house owners out there, please remember to service the water tank once in a while, you will never know what is leaking up there). He needed to detach all pipes leading to the water tank, remove the old seals, apply fresh seals, stabilize the water tank position (it was in a way slanting a bit to one side) and reattach all the pipes to avoid any more leakages.

Unfortunately other than himself, he did not bring any tools but it was fine with me – I had most of the tools he wanted in my tool box. He asked for large adjustable spanner to unscrew all the pipes connected to the tank and adjust the tank once he had released all the water in the tank (I knew that this happen, so for good measures, I had closed the main supply to the tank the night before so that the tank would not be so full when the tank need to be emptied). I did not have the spanner that he wanted in my toolbox but I had a large monkey wrench that might do the trick. But I did not have the next thing that he wanted – water tank sealant. I only had those small silicon sealant tubes for smaller leaks. I called the handyman who was still busy on the roof unplugging the pipes and cleaning the interior of the water tank (something that we have never done before, so I’m very sure that the base of the tank is very dirty by now with sludge) and told him that I will go over to the hardware shop get him the water tank sealant (he wanted the bitumen sealant which cost me less than RM8 for a small can). I also got the larger adjustable spanner for him – he still need to use it to reattach the pipes later and it is better that he does it with the proper tools to ensure a proper fit.

By the time he finished, it was almost lunch time. He was all dirty and sweaty by then. He did not mentioned any specific amount for his work (he said he was too shy to ask for a specific amount and he was ok with whatever I feel is right). Frankly speaking I was not sure how much to give and I was not sure if the leak in the room is fixed for sure – he may still have come back to fix that another day. I sheepishly asked if RM50 was enough for the job he did and he was happy with that amount. That and a packet of iced Milo before I dropped him back to his workplace. And quality of work was really good – the water tank was cleaner now and it was no longer leaking. He told me to wait for at least half day for the sealant to dry & harden before I can turn on the main supply to the tank. The water in the room continued to leak though, so I decided to do something while I wait for sealant to dry and the handyman to come another day to fix that. I still had a small bag of cement left from the time I did some work to fill some holes in the bathroom wall a couple months ago. I suspected there was some holes near the wall or floor where the water tank was located and this is how the water was leaking into the room (I had checked and there was no running pipes near where the water was leaking in the room but seemed to be a small hole where the water might be coming in).

leaking_room2

(With a long ladder and me holding my phone from the safety of the ladder to catch this shot, the mystery source of the leak seemed to be have been resolved – it looked like there was a small hole on the wall. There were no running pipes at this point which was a good thing. I did not dare to step on the soft ceiling with my current body weight to take a closer look – just couple months ago, my neighbour accidentally stepped on the ceiling when he was fixing something and broke his legs. We did not want a repeat of that happening to me. Besides, we still needed to tackle the actual source of the leak which we suspected to be from the water tank on the roof)

So I mixed the cement and laid it along the edges as enough to patch any holes there maybe. The mid-day sun was bearing on me as I was doing this. I climbed up the ladder to the roof a couple of times just to make sure that the “patch” to the water tank held up and it did. Then there was nothing to do but to wait for everything including the cement to dry and the incredible pain on my knees (from all that climbing) to be more bearable. The rate of water leaking in the room some how have reduced but it was still leaking (probably from the residue of water in the wall) but I decided to get the handyman the next morning when we saw that the water was still dripping as we were preparing to go to bed. If it is about residue of water in the wall, it should be cleared by now but it was not. We began to suspect that there was another cause of the leak other than the drips from the water tank or rainwater (perhaps from some water pipes running through the walls that was not visible to us) but the consolation was that at least we had fixed the leaks from the water tank that potentially could cause a even more serious damage to the house (like roof structure giving way due to weaken wet base). The fix for leak in the room seemed like need to wait for another day.

leaking_room3

(Just a few months ago, I actually painted this part of the wall with at least 3 coatings. The aftermath after the leak had “ended” – only left was the ugly stain on the wall that need to be cleared with a fresh coat of paint  but we were happy – it finally stopped leaking)

At about 3 in the morning, I still remember, I woke up to use the bathroom. I was not thinking about the leak in the room at that point – my mind already made up that there was nothing we could do until the handyman comes in the morning to check and fix it -I was half asleep too. I used the bathroom and promptly went to bed. When I woke up at about 9 in the morning later, the condition of the leak was the first I did – if the leak had gotten worse, I may need to ask the handyman to come earlier. To my relief, the leak had actually stopped and the walls were actually drying up (the lower part of the walls had dried completely). So now we can confirm the leaks from the water tank that had actually caused the leaks in the room but the residuals of water in the walls surprisingly took a longer time than we anticipated to dry up. It took almost 8 – 9 hours from the time we stopped the leaks from the water tank. So imagine how much water has been collecting over the past few weeks and if we did not have the leak in the room, we would have missed it until it is too late.

To think about it, it was in a way a blessing in disguise – we are now more aware of the water piping system in the house and now know the need to service some of the key components to avoid unnecessary leakages. We could now sleep peacefully compared to the past few days and I am sure that the next water bill will be lower than months before.

Prepping In Malaysia Part 3


Update 1: Some 300,000 residents living in Cheras and Ampang will celebrate the New Year without water supply as it will take Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) up to one week to restore the service to their areas (source). Still think that we need a major disaster to happen before we start prepping? All it needs is a fault in the pump house and you are out of water for a week – that is a real case scenario right here in Malaysia.

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(Remember; when disaster strikes, the time to prepare has passed. — Steven Cyros)

Kuantan Flood

(Streets or rivers in Kuantan? Yes, it is a yearly affair for those who live along the East Coast but the West Coast has its share of flash floods too. We may not have killer hurricanes or earthquakes or volcanoes, unlike our nearest neighbours but we do have our share of natural disasters. And given the frailty of our infrastructure, maintenance and dirty politics, we are also exposed to possible blackouts and water supply disruptions. Are we ready for it? Image source: TheSun)

Welcome back, a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Just one more post on “2012” before the end of 2012 (please read Part 1 here and Part 2 here). The world as we know it did not end last week and we will likely to have a very smooth journey into 2013 but it did not deter me from prepping for unforeseeable disaster in the future. If you have been following up on this blog, I talked about Mayans and 2012 way back in 2007 (almost 5 years before the deadline on 21.12.2012) but I did nothing back then – no storerooms, no bug-out-bags, no canned food, no water storage, nothing. But then, counting down towards 21.12.2012 and as I realised the importance of preparing for emergencies, it has become a good excuse to be a prepper. Moving forward, the challenge would be to maintain the same prepper’s mindset beyond 21.12.2012.

Anyway, it was interesting to read the various comments in the net & mainstream media when the world as we know it did not end last week. Some were positive (especially from fellow preppers – they were determined more than ever) and some were not. Some even ridiculed the Mayans civilizations – an ancient civilization that had fully developed written language and a well developed understanding in art, architecture, mathematics and astronomy. What if we got the Mayan calendar all wrong and we are off the mark by couple of days or years? Wouldn’t that be interesting? Others ridiculed the fact that there are people prepping for doomsday. Was it a sign of people not believing in having Plan B or taking things for granted? – I don’t know but based on what I have read in the papers, there seems to be some misconceptions on prepping.

1. The world did not end on 21.12.2012 and nothing will happen in the near future.

Now if we analyse the hype of 21.12.2012, it merely mentions that the Mayan Long Calendar (by some extension and interpretation, the world) ends on 21.12.2012. The thing is Mayan had never predicated what would cause the end of the world (if one takes the end of the calendar to be the end of the world).

A number of possible disasters (both natural and man made) have been mentioned as the possible cause of the end of the world – major earthquakes, super volcanic eruptions, high possibility of a bull eye’s hit by large asteroids (or dark comets), ark floods, giant tsunamis, an all-out nuclear war (triggered by rouge countries or terrorists) and civil unrest, solar storms, drastic polar shift, ice age, break out of plagues, alien attacks, etc and even though we were lucky enough not to see it happening on 21.12.2012, some of it remains a major threat to mankind

Our rich history of mankind is dotted with incidents of major disasters that had wiped out thousands or millions in the past. We only need to turn to our history books and remind ourselves. Can we say for sure that nothing will ever happen in the future?

2. Prepping is a waste of time, resources and money – we can always get things from the hypermarket even on a bad day.

In the same manner we are grateful that we have a spare tire in our car when we hit a puncture in a dark lonely road or we had brought along the umbrella when it starts to rain, there is no harm coming up with a fall-back plan – a Plan B sort of. No doubt prepping takes time, resources and money but can we call it as waste?

Being in Malaysia where at the worst, our “disasters” are confined to flash floods, blackouts and water interruptions, we need not spend the time and money preparing for the worst. When disaster strikes, we simply wait for the Government to send help (in form of relief centres, financial aid and sundry items). Some may decide to spend time with relatives and friends until the time of disaster simply passes over. But what happens if we are to face a disaster that is not familiar to us – say solar storms and extended blackouts and water interruptions or a major plague (still remember H1N1? It’s almost end of 2012 and it is still here) and when it will some time before the Government can do something about it?

And don’t forget that we are also cursed with the usual mentality of doing things at the last moment. If we know that we need to hold-on on our own for a few days before we can rescued, rushing over to the hypermarket to stock up on food and water at the last minute could be overwhelming experience – not only we have fight our way to little food and water that may be left, buying things at the last moment could be expensive too (it’s a different story if one have been building up the storage over a longer period)

My grandmother was one of the earliest supporters in the family when it comes to prepping and she insists (to this day) that I am doing the right thing. She went through the Japanese occupation of Malaya and May 13 and she knows all too well the importance of storing up food, water and other essentials when disaster strikes and it is not safe to venture out.

3. Buying canned food as part of prepping is dumb as it does not last long and if nothing happens, it goes to the waste.

It’s a fact that canning is still one the best ways to preserve food and has a long shelf life, some with 2-3 years before it can be “unsafe” to eat. Canning has several advantages when it comes to storage too. It does not need refrigeration, easy to stack up, highly portable (great for bug-out-bags), completely sealed and well cooked during the canning process and this kills any bacteria that may be present and still keeps the nutrients intact.

My idea of prepping is to continue to store and keep something that we use and eat on a regular basis. Forget about keeping canned food for disasters – even normal days we still use canned food on a very regular basis and that includes sardines (and mackerel) which is great for curry or sambal and is a good source of protein, tuna spread (my son love it with bread for breakfast), baked beans and green peas. We simply decided to buy extra 5 cans instead of the usual 1-2 cans whenever we go for our shopping and over time, we would have stocked up enough cans that can be used for the future. So we did – we bought 5 cans, use up 2 cans for our usual cooking and keep the balance 3 cans in the storeroom and the cycle went on until we have a sizeable storage of canned food that can used in the event we cannot venture out to buy food.

All the canned food have been properly labelled and arranged based on expiry dates – the one with the longer dates are stacked up at the back whilst the one going to expire soon is stacked up at the front. And we only buy those canned food that we use on a regular basis (nothing exotic) – so this rotation of cans will make sure that we don’t end up having expired canned food and if nothing happens, we can still use it for our regular use (when I started prepping, my canned food was running out faster than I could store them).

4. All house water tanks are enough to last for 3 days (taking into consideration the 72 hours factor), so what is the big deal in storing more water?

We use water for drinking, cooking, the toilet and shower and perhaps to water the garden and wash the car. But when the taps goes dry, we need to conserve whatever water we have, primarily for drinking and cooking – we can only survive an average of three to five days without water.

When I talked about water storage for 3 days, I was talking about drinking water and for a family of 8 (5 adults and 2 children) and excluding whatever left in the house water tank. As recent as 2012, there are places in this country that had experienced water supply disruption lasting up to a week. My friend had water supply to his housing area disrupted for more than a week and after numerous complaints, they finally sent some water tankers for the residents but guess what, it was sent when most of them was away at work and it was not enough to cover all houses! That almost started a riot. And more recently there have been threats of water disruptions as well.

Ask yourself this question – will your house water tank last your family for at least a week? If yes, good for you but if it does not, what is your Plan B if you experience water disruption? Wait out for the Government water tankers who may or may not show up at your residential area or when you are away at work? Or rush over to your local sundry shop and buy crates of expensive mineral water (forget trying to replenish your water storage with the water kiosks in front of the shops – it may have gone dry too)? Or store up water upfront when you still had water in your taps and recycle them often so that the water in your storage remains fresh and safe? Which one is easier to do?

5. Preppers are people who are simply afraid to die (ya this was one of the more interesting one that I read). When it is time to go, nothing stops you from going.

Tell me one person who is not afraid of death? Suicide bombers perhaps. Yes, all of us have to “go” one day but does it mean we will leave it to our fate and go down without a fight? What about the people who have beaten the odds and survived from a near impossible situation? Still remember of those who crashed in the Andes and survived? The fact is no one wants to die and if you have people to take care (family, relatives or friends), you will do whatever it takes to keep breathing and survive. And you don’t have to be a prepper to do that – just ask anyone who have a family to take care of. So, it’s nonsense to link preppers to people who are afraid to die.

We are grateful that 21.12.2012 was not the end of the world but in the same juncture, it should be the start of prepping. The future is uncertain and we should not take things for granted. No one is forcing anyone to be a prepper but think about it, especially if you have small kids and elderly parents to take care of.