Natural selection at work.
From Straits Times, September 15, 2007:
“Tsunami alert draws crowds to beach
IN HARM’S WAY: Curious hordes of onlookers waiting along Gurney Drive in Penang, apparently to see if a tsunami would hit the coastal area. — PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
KUALA LUMPUR – SCORES of curious Malaysians rushed to the beach to see a possible tsunami, despite a warning to stay away after a massive earthquake hit neighbouring Indonesia.
A photo in The Star, a local newspaper, on Thursday showed a large number of people standing along a promenade in the northern resort island of Penang, apparently waiting to witness a tsunami.
The report prompted a minister yesterday to urge people to stay away from the beach.
‘Don’t gather at the beach when the tsunami alert is issued,’ said Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Kong Cho Ha.
‘When we tell people to move away from the shore, some people purposely go to the shore to have a look. This is something that the people should not do,’ he said.
The promenade was one of the areas struck by the December 2004 tsunami when 3m-high waves pounded the wall. A total of 68 people were killed in Malaysia, most of them on the island of Penang.
Police criticised the onlookers for staying on after the tsunami alert was issued to the coastal states of Penang, Kedah and Perak soon after the 8.4-magnitude quake struck off the west coast of Sumatra island on Wednesday.
A tsunami never materialised, but local police chief Azam Abdul Hamid was quoted by The Star as saying: ‘Heed our warning. It is for your own good.
‘If a tsunami had really hit that night, those who lingered on could have been seriously injured or even lost their lives.’
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BERNAMA”