Wednesday October 31, 2012
Malaysians in US face Sandy
Reports by JOSEPH KAOS Jr, REGINA LEE, P. ARUNA, RUBEN SARIO and TASHNY SUKUMARAN
PETALING JAYA: Malaysian students in several areas in New York experienced the full brunt of superstorm Sandy.
Not only did they have to deal with cancelled classes and power outages, supermarket shelves were also empty, forcing some to stay with friends elsewhere.
Power outages left several neighbourhoods in complete darkness, said Noor E Jahan Ali Akhbar, 24.
Jahan, a final-year student at the State University of New York in Buffalo, was forced to stay at home on Monday even though it was her birthday.
“The winds are getting stronger and there was heavy rain earlier today,” she said during a phone interview yesterday.
Postgraduate student Azlina Abd Aziz, 39, who lives in Manhattan, said she made sure to stock up on drinking water and canned food.
“However, my neighbourhood, which is close to Columbia University, is situated on higher ground and not badly affected,” she said.
Amy Tan, a 22-year-old student of City University, said she had gone to the local supermarket on the weekend to get supplies but they had run out of essentials, forcing her to stay with friends.
“I had gone to the local supermarket to get supplies but they had run out of batteries and bread. So I decided to stay at my friend's place.
“The subway, which is the main mode of transportation there, has been closed since Sunday,” she added.
Indrani Kopal, a Fulbright scholar in Hofstra University, Hempstead, said classes were cancelled for two days.
“It was a good thing that the university cafeteria remained open so I could still run to the dining hall to get some hot food,” she said.
“The power keeps getting cut off so I have not been able to work on my assignments.”
Lynn Goh, a Malaysian studying at Columbia University, said she heard of dormitory windows shattering and debris flying through open windows.
“New Yorkers are known to celebrate rare natural disasters with parties. I think this flippancy is part of the coping mechanism that you have to develop in order to survive in this city.”
Student Cher Lyn said it was “so windy, it is raining sideways”.
“I didn't stock up much because many of us thought it wouldn't be so bad. Once the power went out and it started flooding near the river and piers, it was obvious that this was serious,” she said.
Some students escaped the wrath of the storm completely.
Xiao Yu Lim, who stays in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan, said her neighbourhood was completely unaffected, apart from light rain.