Coming to the crux of things, we are missing our true and natural homes. Fifty years ago almost all of us live in wooden houses. Pillars, walls, floors, doors and windows were all wood. The roofs with wooden rafters support attap as cover. The houses stood alone and not hemmed by neighbors unless yards away. Earth warming and timber restrictions came as excuses. Timber is expansive and hard to get. Are these true?
Two days ago we were in Langkawi, a pearl of the east and now being promoted as a 'Geo Park' recognized by UNESCO. We often crossed the short sea route from Kuala Kedah to Kuah by ferry and more often than not returning the same day though we have a place to stay on the island. We are aware that foreigners have their homes in Langkawi. The international yachting fraternity with their yachts and boats anchored at marina bays on the island justify its reality. We know some became owners of apartments on the island. This time we found that some have invested on property and built their dream homes in the most indomitable way. A husband and wife from Holland dropped anchor one and half year ago and were mesmerised by the island's charm and friendly people. They became landlubbers and built their homes near Makam Mahsuri. Yes I meant 'homes' because they built not one but four TRADITIONAL homes.
We were aghast that here a Dutch couple have managed to create a Malay kampong in its pristine beauty with 'petai', 'mempelam'. and coconut palms gracing their open spaces. Their frontage gives them the panorama of vast padi fields reaching as far as the Mat Cincang range in the west, while their backyard neighbors a rubber estate. Pride because Andre and Ria have found our traditions and culture; built and adopted upon them. Beholding its beauty nevertheless harbors sadness and anger. We lose out. Why can't we continue to build our traditional homes as our forefathers have done before? Why must we give away precious scenery and landed property?Why must we move into concrete building? We choose instead to live in barracks or 'terrace' or 'affordable' homes.
As we celebrate Merdeka the 50th time, I cannot help wondering how much more will we lose while others appreciate and treasure all our worth. Not only have the early British pioneers written about our legends, history, beliefs etc and taken away treasures from the land and yet in modern times we continue to suffer the same fate. Our friendly gesture inviting wealthy visitors to our country to make Malaysia their second home is applaudable. To whom? Now our traditional homes have become treasures, assets to them. They invite visitors from all over the world to stay in Malay 'palaces' to feel the invigorating lifestyle of bygone days. Click through your search for home stays etc in your web page , you will discover the trends.
Truly the homes they helped to build again would have been lost, discarded and left to suffer the ravages of our tropical climate. They bought old homes and with love and affection, no doubt with the grace of their bank account. reuse the timber with all ingenuity to construct the homes as you see in the attached photographs. The chanced visit nonetheless helped to register a determination to participate in the same direction too.
Really, we have come across an Australian family who built up Malay traditional homes as a hotel and a Swiss who occupies a hillock overlooking the vast stretch of Langkawi's southern shores a sight so precious that it is priceless.
Wake up my fellow Malaysian. Move away from the concrete jungles Get back to basics. Come. inhibit and retire in our own traditional homes. Look at these pictures. Would you not be mesmerised too? When are you making the move?