Thursday, March 17, 2005

Kuala Muda three months later


A house, naked at Kuala Muda (C) Lrong Lim

Just returned from spending a few days in Malaysia.

Before returning, I was yearning for the warmth of Malaysia in wintry Japan, but the heat upon walking out of the arrival hall instantly brought upon me that Malaysia is more than 'warm'.

Ooh... Malaysia... why are you so hot?

After a few hours, I found myself longing to dash out of Malaysia just to escape from the scorching heat.

Anyway, it was really a pleasure to be back home again.

While showering last night, I felt the spare tires in my expanded midriff and that's not very good news.

No, no...

Come to think of it, I didn't quite give myself a chance to feel hungry before I began sinking my teeth into some goodies again.

No, this couldn't be a punishment for being such a glutton, could it?

What a pig.

Drove up to take a look at Kuala Muda.

Even for a Kedahan like me, it was my first time to be there.

It was a real hot afternoon when we drove to Kuala Muda.

The 'houses' still stood there, apparently as devastated as they were three months ago.

I could not see any sustained reconstruction efforts except for a renovation here and an extension there.

My impression was that, the devastated houses seemed to be poorly built in the first place.

The broken walls were thin and the foundations did not look strong.

Some kilometers from the devastated area stood the temporary housing for the victims.

They are simple wooden long houses, built in rows.

I imagine it must be quite an oven inside.

I heard from the 'wind' that the government intends to leave the devastated area as it is, at least for a while, just to 'show people'.

Could this be untrue?

As with the kampong folks near my kampong, the Kuala Muda folks do not appear to be 'well-off'.

Which brings me to ask: How sincere are the 'leaders' in their pledge to assist these humble folks... to live in their own modest homes again?

After all, it's been three months since that fateful day.

Meanwhile we hear of lavish swimming-pooled 'exco villages' being built somewhere for some fat cats to laze around in the sun.

Obscene, may I say?

I longed to see something nice, just to get away from this obscenity.

So I headed to nearby Pantai Merdeka.

While a schoolboy at Sultan Abdul Hamid College, I used to go green at those people who could go to this pantai for swimming.

Never mind if the water is blue or black; I had expected the beach to be, 'nice'.

Oh well, at least it feels good to know that I did not miss much during my schooldays.

Only that, I wasted my energies feeling green at nothing.