I am going to express myself on behalf of all the flood victims.
Parts of how I express myself may seem disrespectful. All the same, I am expressing myself from the gut of pain and suffering, so the language has no specific finesse.
I have seen about 20 videos over WhatsApp, and I hope the prime minister, along with those who are able to ease the people’s concerns, will respond to this devastation.
At about 9.19 am yesterday, the first of many videos started trickling in, followed by a deluge of videos on the floods by 10am. Intuition suggested a horror beyond our imagination was unfolding before us.
We felt a sickening gut feeling of the terrible impact on ordinary human lives. Sirens blared every few minutes, and it affirmed my sinking feeling of disaster. We were close enough to the Duke Highway.
Year in year out, floods inundate us in many parts of the nation, with no reduction in the severity. In fact, the floods seem to be worsening, covering a wider area.
A predictable pattern emerges in the wake of the floods: the usual excuses or finger-pointing:
- It was an act of God (my favourite one!). But then it seems the divine does not allow floods in Putrajaya or any of those expensive neighbourhoods. It is always ordinary people who suffer
- A leader or minister with religious inclinations might attribute the floods as divine punishment for whatever reason. He or she might utter some scriptural verse for the rains to cease or for the earth to swallow the water
- Exceptional rainfall was to blame. The Meteorological Department would be dragged into this and put up all kinds of facts and figures explaining this. Or it might give reasons for not coming out with a forecast earlier
- The El Nino phenomenon or the monsoons are always said to be extraordinary each year
- Remember the global warming and climate change scenario
- People are irresponsible, throwing rubbish and clogging up the drains
- These are just flash floods because of non-stop rain for 24 hours
It is everybody else’s fault except the government’s! If this keeps happening with such regularity, should we not think of:
- The massive structural development and overbuilding without due consideration of excessive surface runoff. There is simply not enough earth, green spaces or landfills to absorb the rainwater
- Poor urban planning: we should label it by its actual name – Greed!
- The uncontrolled and unstoppable deforestation
- Poor or inadequate drainage systems, which may not be a central issue but a small one. Reforest and re-green the land to allow rainfall to soak into aquifers and replenish them
- The full-scale delusional or intentional denial. A Pas environment minister said in April we are not a climate vulnerable country. We may well be the laughing stock of other nations. Sack such individuals!
I repeat: embark on massive re-greening of hills and slopes, in suburban and rural areas and in every city centre. Convert and transform the land through agroforestry. Turn monoculture plantations into mixed plantations.
The chaos and misery that unfolds each year results in massive unquantifiable losses for business and vulnerable ordinary households.
The ministers in Parliament and politicians are meanwhile yapping and yakking away about trivialities.
Ironically, the ones affected are usually the marginalised and little informed who ironically constitute a solid vote bank for the government. They sow their votes for a government and then reap that which is sown through their own unending suffering.
We of course will have the usual VIPs walking, wading and frolicking in the flood waters with their charade of providing care. Or they may be the subject of national embarrassment and shame if they have the audacity to go off and play golf while the country suffers.
I suppose a victory celebration on Sarawak is on the cards, so a celebratory party might be in order instead of taking care of the people.
The revolting insanity is that we still keep voting the same bunch of hopeless individuals into power.
Each of the MPs in my WhatsApp group may have received that alarming book of a poem titled Apocalypse and Armageddon (either a hard copy or an e-book) in June 2021 when Parliament opened. I am not a poet seeking brief fame or glory. That was a real concern that I expressed.
I will express in a harsh, unrepentant and truthful manner what my gut screams: this is a crisis that we can feel, see and hear.
We need the best of humanity in response. This unnecessary disaster has battered the people.
Nature has not done this to us; we brought this upon ourselves by trusting the wrong people.
There are people trapped in their homes crying out for help. Does anyone see? Does anyone feel?
The present leadership has been an abject failure. We have a bunch of cold-hearted, clueless, spineless, entitled, elite individuals who have not fully responded to the suffering of people. We the people must figure out who they are and what they represent.
More importantly, we must ask, why do we need them? What is their purpose? Are you (who are reading this) one of them? If you are, let me express my disappointment on behalf of all the people.
Whatever, the suffering of ordinary people has manifested itself in the cruelest of manners.
So far, we have been getting away lightly. The tsunami of floods or the real big one has not yet caught us. Nature is firing warning shots.
We are fortunate that the inevitable and unthinkable has not yet happened or we may lose lives on an unimaginable scale. Please adopt a truly bipartisan approach and be selfless and gracious in this time of crisis. You are, after all, drawing exorbitant salaries.
The other thing that is traumatising the people is the arrogance of the health minister. He often flexes his powers and intimidates powerless people. It does not seem obvious to him that many are suffering tremendously and do their utmost to comply with all laws while not a few ministers, politicians, their cohorts, friends and family break laws with impunity and receive only a slap on their wrists.
The latest fiasco was his incredibly outrageous proposed penalties that were both disproportionate and discriminatory.
I would like to counter-propose:
- Fine each minister, politician or VIP and their families RM1m if they breach physical distancing protocols and impose a 15-year jail term
- Impose a RM10m fine or jail heads of government departments for breach of physical distancing protocols or for not wearing face masks
If the MPs and those in positions of power can accept the above for themselves and pass the necessary legislation in Parliament, please, by all means, do so. Only then propose something like what was proposed for ordinary people.
Please, when you vote on Act 342, send a clear message that people will not tolerate such an insensitive proposal. Get that person who proposed such oppressive laws out or confine that person to his specific task.
Enough of this nonsensical, cruel behaviour!
- Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
- Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
- Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
- Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
- Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.
Authentically voiced Damien!
As in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”.