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.

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Prepping in Malaysia Part 2


Read Part 1 here

Before we proceed further, here’s an interesting revelation on the Mayan calendar that I recently read in the internet:-

Many, many people have tried to work out why the ancient Mayan Long Count calendar ends in 2012. Relatively few people have investigated why it began in 3114 BC. This date is long before the existence of the Maya, and even the Olmec. So what sorts of things were happening around the date of 3114 BC?

In Egypt the Pharoanic age began with Narmer, (aka Menes – the Scorpion King), who became ruler at roughly 3100 BC. He unified Egypt. The current age of the Hindu religion, Kali Yuga, began in 3102 BC. 3100 BC is when the first stage of Stonehenge was constructed, as well as the first stage of Newgrange. And the Tarxien Temples of Malta were also built at the same time.

(Source)

Just an interesting thought that the Mayan calendar calculation started at about the same time as the start of Kali Yuga (considering that we are about to enter the last month of the year 2012).

(A must have for doomsday preppers or anyone who often misplaces the batteries – more durable LED lights without any batteries! Image source: Tesco)

My “doomsday” storeroom is going quite well with the number of my canned food increased and not “reducing” so drastically as before.

But it takes a good sum of money and time to properly stock with the necessary items (namely foodstuff) and presently a portion of that money is now channeled to my baby’s diapers and milk powder which we now buy upfront and in a larger package and stock up in the “doomsday” storeroom. But then, there are also other developments for the storeroom – a couple of boxes of charcoals (in smaller boxes that nicely fits the storeroom shelves) are recent new addition. And I also got a large packet of a good quality charcoal from Pasar Borong (for less than RM15) which I know will come in handy when our 2 LPG gas cylinders (1 in use, another is a spare and is in full capacity) goes empty (I already bought a large charcoal stove several months before).

It was time to kick-start the next stage – having a basic bug-out-bag when I am on the move. Most of us spent more time outside and far from the comfort & safety of our homes during the weekdays and we also need to consider the possible readiness that one can do if there is an emergency and it is not possible to drive back home. The roads that we often use may be flooded or severely damaged, the weather may be too severe to venture out, the integrated public transportation may break down and on a worst case scenario, violent riots may break up causing us to hole up at workplace as how many of the New Yorkers found out recently during Hurricane Sandy.

I started with looking for a bag big enough to keep enough items to last couple of hours assuming I have to make my way without driving or taking public transport back to the house. The suggested contents of a bug-out bag may contain the followings:-

  • Enough food and water to last for seventy two hours. This includes (4 litres (1 gallon) of water per person per day, for washing, drinking and cooking, non-perishable food, water purification supplies, cooking supplies & cutlery and cups/dishes).
  • A first aid kit. Fire starting tool (i.e. matches, ferro rod, lighter, etc.)
  • A disaster plan including location of emergency centers, rallying points, possible evacuation routes etc.
  • Professional emergency literature explaining what to do in various types of disaster studied and understood before the actual disaster but kept for reference.
  • Maps and travel information.
  • Standard camping equipment, including sanitation supplies.
  • Weather appropriate clothing (poncho, headwear, gloves, etc.)
  • Bedding items such as sleeping bags & blankets. Enough medicine to last an extended evacuation period.
  • Pet, child and elderly care needs.
  • Battery or crank operated Radio.
  • Lighting (battery or crank operated flashlight, glow sticks).
  • Crowbar (weapon, building and vehicle entry, etc.)
  • Cash and change, as electronic banking transactions may not be available during the initial period following an emergency or evacuation.
  • Fixed-blade or folding knife.

But that list above is for a bug-out-bag when one had to leave the comfort of the house in case of an emergency. I needed a “lighter” version of it and I decided for start, to have these items for the mobile bug-out-bag (wrap with plastic bag to keep the bag dry)

  • A change of dry, clean clothes
  • A crank operated flash light
  • A couple of cans of tuna (one with easy ring pull tab)
  • A multi-purpose Swiss knife
  • 2 bottles of water
  • A spare dry shoes and a pair of socks
  • First aid bag
  • A couple empty plastic bags

It does not take too much space in my car boot too and I know that I usually not that far from my car (which explains why my wife complains when I do not want to go to places where I have to park my car far), so that means I am not that far from my “mobile” bug-out-bag.  I need to stuff the bag with more items as and when I have the time to get them but still within the “light” version borderline.

To be continued…

2012 – Year of Reckoning


(Countdown – 351 days to “doomsday”)

Let’s count this as a New Year resolution, sort of…

(A well documented natural disaster on video – the Japanese tsunami that killed thousands in a modern, well prepared townships in 2011. Image source: The National Geographic)

Forget the local circus (the possible general elections, BN & PR mud-slinging each other for crucial votes, the end of Anwar’s sodomy case & a seemingly predictable outcome and the yet to be impressed with controls of mismanagement of public funds and corruption) for a couple of months in 2012.

Let’s start with the obvious thing when one mentions about the year 2012 on a rather global sense – the end of the world. The end of the world – aka hari kiamat, judgement day, doomsday, when the fat lady had sung – may sound laughable (more so, we have gotten so comfortable in our surroundings and highly predictable world) but it is not impossible. If you think about it, there is no real evidence that the “end of the world” as predicated by the Mayans but then again, we have this:-

The invading Spanish burned thousands of Mayan books, and only four survived. None of those four tell us what the Mayans thought in terms of mythology. After the Spanish conquest those myths were written down in a book known as the Popol Vuh. The creation myth near the start of the book details cycles of creation and destruction.

Who knows what was lost when the Spanish burned the Mayan books by the thousands (in the same way this happened – now no one will know what lied in those documents)?

We already into 2012 but if you look at calamities in 2011 and the kind of revenge that the Mother Nature took on us, something seemed to suggest that things have gotten worse – the flood in Bangkok city and some parts of Australia, the Japanese tsunami that also crippled a nuclear power plant and earthquakes in New Zealand and around the world. No doubt we have screwed the environmental well enough for us to experience a strange change of weather. It not does mean that 2012 will fare any better.

Thus as result of Spanish’s destruction of Mayan texts and lost of other ancient text, no one will know for sure what lies ahead in future unless someone manages to unearth some new collaborative evidence from some where else. In the meantime, we have nothing but well laid arguments for and against the so-called end of the world predictions on 21st December 2012.

(There is plenty that our ancestors can teach us – after all, they built Pyramids and other wonders of the world without any computers and modern machinery. Image source: http://www.armageddononline.org)

So if you ask me, it is still a “50-50” thing – it may happen for real and we may end up paying high price for our lack of readiness or like the much feared Y2K thing, nothing bad really happens and the morning of 22nd December 2012 would be just another ordinary day. And there seems to be an equal and sizable proponent on both sides of the coin arguing on how valid the predictions for 2012 will be

The thing is it does not matter whether the predictions come true or not – we just have to wait and see when the time comes. However, given the fact that we still have about 11 months and about 16 or less days to go before the so-called deadline expires, it does not harm anyone if we make the necessary planning and be prepared should the unthinkable really happens.

And it needs not something expensive and complex like underground, water-proof bunkers in some secret location in the highlands or special high tech boats like in the movie 2012. That is something for the governments of the day (the one who had anticipated and think ahead) to consider – it may not necessarily be for 2012. There is always a chance for a rogue rock from space to come along and smash on the earth in the future (read here for other possibilities).

And when one talks about getting ready for 2012, one just need to “google” in the internet on things that can be done to ensure some form of survivability if the unthinkable should happen. And that will be one’s focus and tasks for this year – nothing major of course but it does not mean that one need to sleeping on their laurels as well, for one should never dismiss the ancient predictions as trivial.

We have been fore-warned! And oh yes, welcome to 2012.

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