Monday, March 26, 2018

Short Social Fiction: Adventures of Tupi 40

Tupi walked into the sport arena and saw that there were still some people there. There was quite a bit of mess and there were many people still leaving. There was a stench of dampness in the air. "Everyone needs to go!" A man said. "The flood is over, and power and water is back soon."

"Excuse me sir," Tupi asked the man. "This boy's home is destroyed and his mother is in the hospital."

"We don't take in unaccompanied minors, and this shelter will be closed tomorrow." The man said.

"So what can we do?" Tupi asked.

"Call FEMA, call City Hall..." The man said. "Get your insurance claims."

"But he needs a place to stay." Tupi said.

"We are closing tomorrow, he can stay for the night." The man said. "We are a shelter to keep people safe during the hurricane. Hurricane is over."

"How can we help if the people are leaving?' Tupi was rather disappointed. "Don't worry, we'll get you a safe place to stay tonight."


Tupi approached a family that is still in the shelter. "Hi, I was wondering what you were going to do when you have to leave this place."

"Our home is destroyed." The man said. "Most of us over here live in mobile homes, and the hurricane destroyed the whole area. If we can't stay here, we probably have to find a cheap motel. Currently filing some claims and getting some relief, but my workplace is also damaged and I'm probably not getting paid for the next month as well. Don't even know when the relief and insurance would come."

Tupi's heart sank. He would not even know what to do if his home was destroyed yet this man seemed calm and collected. "I bought some rations and water, hopefully this would help a bit." Tupi said. Tupi did not know what else to do and went over to Justin. "So, what can we do? Those people were leaving as well and they were just going to find a motel or sort."

"The boy can stay at my place for the moment, should not be a problem." Justin said.

"That sounds like a good idea." Tupi said and felt much relief. "Lets also give out the rations to these people here, their mobile homes are destroyed."

The boy walked over and asked. "Can I go to the hospital to see my mom?"

"Sure, lets go..." Justin said and gave out the last few boxes and went up the truck.

"Let me sit out in the back." Tupi said as he looked at the empty truck. "Looks like fun..."


The truck drove for 10 minutes and Tupi smell a strong stench like sewage or an open trench. "Ewww...." Tupi said and looked around and saw an area with the destroyed mobile homes.

"Wow, how did they survive that?" Tupi said pointed at the destruction to Justin who stopped.

As the windows went down, Justin immediately could smell the awful stench. "Oh my god... it stinks..." Justin closed the windows but it did not help much.

Justin drove away to avoid the smell.


Tupi was still in awe. The destruction and the smell can be very overwhelming. Tupi knew he was just a visitor and the residents who had their homes destroyed have to live in the consequences.

"How did the people survive the destruction?" Tupi asked Justin. "Those mobile home seemed so destroyed."

"They probably went into the shelters before the storm." Justin said.

"Duh..." Tupi muttered. "I feel so dumb..."

The boy went into the hospital and Tupi said. "We will wait for you here. Don't worry, you can come stay at our place today."

Tupi was physically and emotionally drained. The situation was overwhelming him but he felt good. There was so much conflict internally and he really felt like leaving this place as it was sad, but internally, he felt glad that he was not affected by the disaster.

"Am I a bad person?" Tupi asked Justin. "I am tired and feel really sad for the people here, but I feel good somehow... even when I'm not sure if I did enough."

"At least you took action and did something." Justin said. "I'm sure you did more than those thoughts and prayers that were sent."

Monday, March 19, 2018

Short Social Fiction: Adventures of Tupi 39

After crossing the bridge, Tupi saw a young teenage boy tossing some debris into the river and told Justin to stop the truck. "What the hell is he doing?" Tupi asked.

"Forget about it..." Justin said. "Lets just go to the shelter."

"No, this kind of behavior should not be tolerated." Tupi said. "Junk should be placed in a pile to be removed later, throwing into the river will require more resources to remove later."

"Lets not start any trouble..." Justin said.

"Just wait here." Tupi said. "I'll handle this."

"Hey there!" Tupi shouted as he walked towards the boy. "What do you think you are doing?"

The boy initially ignored Tupi and continued to carry buckets of debris to discard.

Tupi walked towards the boy and the boy returned with 2 buckets of debris and Tupi stood in his path. The boy towers over Tupi, physically much bigger than Tupi and continued his approach.

"Hey, why are you throwing things into the river?" Tupi asked.

"Because this shit is in my way." The boy said and puts up a tough look and walked past Tupi.

"It will cost more to clean the river." Tupi said. "They will eventually come clear the street."

"When?" The boy asked. "Its more than a week, nothing happening. They should have thought about that before ignoring us."

"You live here, and when the waterway clogs up, you'll be the one suffering." Tupi said. "Stop doing this, you don't really need to clear away the debris right now.."

"You can't tell me what to do." The boy said. "So why don't you just fuck off."

"You don't need to be so selfish." Tupi said. "Where are your parents? Did they tell you to do this? Let me talk to them."

"This is none of your business, so I suggest that you turn around and walk away." The boy said and his lips trembled and his eyes seemed red. "I don't tell you where you put your shit."

"What is your problem? Tupi asked. "You don't need to... " Before Tupi could finish his sentence, the boy shoved him to the ground.

"I don't need to... what?" The boy asked as he stood over Tupi.

Tupi was shocked. He had never got into a fight before and a teenager is now kicking his ass. "I'm going to tell your parents about this."

The teenage boy suddenly went all out and attacked Tupi. Tupi was punched then kicked and losing the fight. The boy also seemed to be crying and Tupi was getting hurt and confused. He was the one getting hit, why was they boy crying?

Tupi managed to grab the boy's hands and stop his from punching and Tupi grabbed him and managed to roll and mounted on top of the boy, grabbing his hands while sitting on him. Both the boy and Tupi himself was surprised he was able to pull off such a move. "Now, tell me what exactly is going on, slowly... I am here to listen and not here to hurt you."

The boy cried out loud. "I don't have a dad."

"Look, this is a serious thing you are saying." Tupi said. "What do you mean exactly?"

"I fucking lost my dad..." The boy said, and stared at Tupi seriously.

"So you dad is missing?" Tupi asked. "Are you living with your mom? Do you see your dad on weekends?"

"The roof was blown away and my dad is gone." The boy said. "My mom is also in the hospital now. Are you happy now?"

Tupi felt very emotional as well. He cried and hugged the boy. The boy hugged Tupi as well and it felt like they bonded instantly. Tupi lost his father at a young age and was brought up by his mother, and often was stubborn and had bad temper as well. He often felt the world was not fair to him and it took him years before he could rationalize what happened and mellowed down.

Justin parked his car and walked over and was not sure what to make of the situation. Tupi was just hugging the boy and both of them are crying. "Erm... are you ok?" Justin asked and Tupi waved Justin away.

The two of them must have cried for 10 minutes, but it felt like ages. "Is that your house?" Tupi asked and pointed at a badly damaged house with no roof. The boy nodded. "Are you living at the shelter?" Tupi asked and the boy shook his head. "Is your mom still at the hospital?" Tupi asked and the boy nodded.

Tupi followed the boy to his house and saw him cleaning up the mud and other damages but much of the house was destroyed. It was a miracle he was still alive.

"Don't worry, cleaning up can wait." Tupi said. "We can help you clean up and bring you to a shelter. Then take you to the hospital to see your mom... Do you have any siblings?"

The boy shook his head. "We are also going to the shelter, there are many people there. You can stay there for the night, and do you want to pack up?"

The boy walked over the rubble and entered his room and pack his clothes. The room was in a mess, but it had a roof and it does not seem badly damaged. The boy packed up and got into Justin's truck and they drove through the town and saw much more destruction before reaching an indoor sports arena which was used as a shelter. "We're here."

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Short Social Fiction: Adventures of Tupi 38

Tupi saw a small convenience store opening and the owner seemed to be clearing some debris off the side of the store. The store was pretty empty, but there was newspaper delivery and Tupi decided to go and support to buy some papers and a bar of chocolate.

"Everything sold out?" Tupi asked.

"Yeah, people bought out many things before the hurricane, and we do have some products which got damaged as the store was closed for a week, and we had no power. So just cleaning up now." The store owner said.

"No restock yet?" Tupi asked.

"Usually, the big boys like supermarkets get their supplies first." The store owner said. "We get ours from a different supplier who still does not have stock. But I'm not in a hurry, the power is still out here." The store owner pointed a several repairman fixing the electrical cables.

"Its been a week!" Tupi said.

"And we are not the worst hit, you should see the Keys... " The store owner said. "easily half the houses there were destroyed of badly damaged. My cousin's house has a boat inside."

"I thought the flooding down the road was bad..." Tupi said.


Tupi quickly hurried to the house and was reading the newspapers on the way. "Justin! Florida Keys is like... destroyed!" Tupi said.

"I heard.. it was on the news.. " Justin said. "Do you want to go? I'm not sure if we can access but I can try."

"I'd like to see the damage and how we can help." Tupi said. "I still have my lifestraws and MRE..."

"Sure, I have some blankets and warm clothes." Justin said. "Lets pack the truck and see how we can get there."


The truck was loaded and ready to go. Tupi brought along a big bottle of water for the trip and brought along some fruits. "Wow, your refrigerator is really stocked up..." Tupi said.

"Well, you can't take the Singaporean out of me... The fear of losing is real." Justin said.

As they were driving there, the roads were still empty. "I can never get used to this... There should be many cars out..." Justin said. The traffic lights are still not working and there were few vehicles on the road. "One week, still like a Ghost town."

As the truck crossed the bridge, Tupi can see widespread destruction on the other side. "There is a boat in that house... That house has no roof..." Tupi was in shock and awe. This is where is destruction by nature starts, and Tupi feels like he is in a movie, and the devastation is still everywhere.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Short Social Fiction: Adventures of Tupi 37

Tupi could not sleep well. He woke up the next morning and walked around again. There was an old man taking out some trash outside a house that was sitting in the flood a week ago.

"Good morning! Hello there, was wondering if you require any form of assistance?" Tupi asked.

"Thank you kind sir, however, we are quite used to it." The old man said. "This is not the first time. So there is not a lot in the basement that we keep now."

"Oh my... " Tupi exclaimed. "This happens often?"

"This is the 6th time in 10 years that we are living here." The old man said.

"I met another lady in the shelter the other day, and she said that her house floods almost every year." Tupi said.

"That is probably down the road." The old man said. "I've lived here for more than 50 years, and that used to be a swamp, which sits on flood plains. And you wonder why people would think to live there. "

"Why did the government allow people to build there? Tupi asked.

"Corruption?" The old man said. "Developer probably paid off the mayor or city official to get the land. And when they were building it, it actually flooded as well."

"Then what about your house?" Tupi asked.

"This street started to flood only in the last 10 years." The old man said. "There used to be more open land around here, that strip mall over there did not exist 5 years ago. The car park over there was a forest. Whole area is much more built up, when it rains bad, like during a hurricane, flash floods will happen. And the really heavy rain happens now, once every 2 years... Those houses over there get flooded every year."

"I think this is what happened in Singapore as well. As we got more built up, more flash floods happen as the land can soak up less water, and the water become run offs and flood the area." Tupi sighed. "Thank you for your time, it was very educational and are you sure you don't need my help again?"

The old man shrugged and thank Tupi again as Tupi continued down the road, determined to help someone.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Short Social Fiction: Adventures of Tupi 36

Tupi arrived in  Florida to meet Justin again. "How are things?" Tupi asked.

"Bad..." Justin said. "Quite disappointed with people. How is Dominican Republic and Haiti doing after the storm?"

Tupi immediately recalled his experience in the hurricane. "Oh that..." Tupi said. "I don't see any thing particularly wrong there."

As Tupi went to the large supermarket to get some toiletries, they ran out of a lot of basic necessities, like baby milk formula, water and fruits. "Its like a war zone down here." Justin said. "We are not that affected. But this is crazy.. People are hoarding."

"This is ridiculous." Tupi said. "Outright disgusting."

Tupi was not affected as he could find soap, tooth brush and toothpaste. As Justin drove by some other stores, Tupi saw some supplies stocked at the gas station. "They have it there..."

As Justin drove by, Tupi saw the price of a carton of bottled water. "Seriously??" Tupi exclaimed. "$50 for a carton of bottled water?"

"Not all the supplies arrive yet, and there is still a gap, and many people are looking to make a quick buck." Justin said. "That is why I have stock stored away in my basement."

"There are also a lot of fraud." Justin said. "There are robo calls calling to tell you they can help claim from FEMA for a fee, there are also calls that tell you your insurance lapsed and need to pay them quickly. I paid a contractor to clear up debris from my yard. He took half the money, started removing some debris, and left. I never saw him again."

"Why are people cheating the victims of the hurricane?" Tupi asked. "Don't they have morals?"

"Some cheats will tell me that they can help me claim for damages, even though my house was not damaged." Justin said. "I've seen reports here to tell people not to donate to fake sites set up to get donations even when they do not do work here."

"What happens when there is so much fraud?" Tupi asked. "Does the government do anything?"

"Well, these fraud cases simply cause the claims to be delayed as the investigators need to look at every claim and the government has taken more time to investigate their legitimacy, and longer to pay benefits. Yup, the victims suffer when this happens."


Justin and Tupi returned to the house. Much of the streets are cleaned up and the flooding was gone. "Are people still in shelters?" Tupi asked.

"Nope, they are home now. Slowing repairing their houses, but most of them are home or with relatives." Justin said. "Sadly, the money and help is slow to come in. Some FEMA inspectors also want some money on the side to come first... Not sure how true it is, but the situation is bad."

As Tupi was on the road, he noticed that some parts of town still had no power and some restaurants were still closed after a week. "Seem like Dominican Republic and Haiti either got less damage or recovered faster." Tupi said.

"Probably recovered faster." Justin said. "They get disasters more than us. And our government is not particularly fast in providing support to regular people. Just good at giving money to the rich. Don't worry, I have food at home, we have dinner at my place."

Tupi was still a little shocked to find out that disaster recovery in Florida is slower than in Haiti and Dominican Republic. When Tupi unpacked, he found the MRE and Lifestraw he bought and said. "I hope I can use them here, or give it to people who can use them."