Monday, November 5, 2007


I am wondering how Malaysia will be in 2020. It is just 12 years only from now . Already there are claims and statements that the whole peninsular and the territories in Sabah and Sarawak will be so developed as envisaged by the master plan. With all the corridors of South, North, East and expectantly East Malaysia connected and hundred billions of RM allocated, the agricultural , commercial, educational and technical sectors will see a stupendous growth equalled only by the giant investment that has been promised.

While overjoyed by such concern and forward planning, we are taken aback by the number of foreign and illegal workers in the country. The burning questions that we should be asking are many. Among them: Are Malaysian unable to perform tasks by their own? Why are there millions of Indonesians, Indians, Bangla, Burmese, Thai etc craving for works in the country? Why do our homes need foreign maids? Have we become proud or contented people that we let others do the work for us? What has happened to all the electrical gadgets in the home that are supposed to make works lighter? Only maids can use them now?

I remember back in the late 1950's when I had just returned home after studying in Britain. Families and friends asked: "Who keep the shops running? Who drive the buses and trains? Who clean the roads and collect the garbage? Who manage the schools etc?" Malayans then would not believe that 'Mat Salleh' do all the works themselves. It was unbelievable that Englishmen had to do menial works etc. The belief was that English or Europeans were managers and bosses only. How could they stoop so low? It was impossible to think then that the British had to do all the works themselves just like other people in the world. Only much later the Africans, West Indies, Chinese from British Colonies flocked into Britain and started to be employed and later formed their own businesses.

Probably some people may think of Malaysian being in that position or predicament now. That's why we have foreigners rushing in taking all the jobs in the agricultural, service, manufacturing and domestic sectors. Employers dismiss locals who seek jobs giving all sorts of excuses. Where will our unemployed Malaysian go?

Not to worry. Our saviour is on the way. The 9MP and the various corridors that come with it will alleviate bumiputras and other citizens to world developed status. Come 2020 the whole peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak will take a new image in physical development transforming our cities and kampongs to greater heights. As an example Penang with its inner city development on what is currently a horse racing track will maybe surpassed Dubai's phenomenal growth.

Malaysian will truly be the happiest people on earth Why not? We will have double tracks Kereta Api Tanah Melayu ( if the name stays), Three or four lanes highway and controlled entry into the cities. KL is reported to be discussing the issue now. Many other 'kecanggihan' will come our way. Do you know that the arm forces too are already changing their long used rifles for carbines manufactured in USA. Of course they need them because together with progress comes 'trouble'. 'Up Periscopes" will billow out from the French submarines that guarded our shores. The Russian 'Sukoi' fighters scouting our air space will have a good air view of all things happening.

Bits of news here and there taken with grains of salts enlightened you but surely it is expecting aplenty within 12 short years. Look what we have achieved in the last half century? Miracles? Herculean strength and power much needed for the shorter span? Still we will see.

I GUESS after a despondent or enlightened outlook whatever way you see it, I would prefer to begin November coinciding with the UMNO annual convention by highlighting scenes and treasures discovered in our own backyards right now but frightened at the thought that all that may disappear very soon.

Sadly we miss out or perhaps move around with our eyes shut never realising the beauty and treasures that abound. Probably we have our sights focus on other scenarios or our definition of beauty or things beautiful are clouded by other extremities or guidelines. Perhaps foreign scenes or extraordinaries prioritised our concepts of beauty and grandeur and familiarity breeds contempt.

As I moved around in the countrysides lately I could not help discovering the hidden heritage and simple splendors that exist to marvel and appreciate. Sadly with modernity, extremity of climate change and transient movement of people existing scenarios may change and in the next moment disappear without trace. States or institutions with strong heritage footholds and trusts may hold back disappearances and help preserve our heritage.

Penang a neighboring state to Kedah has rightly started on a massive reclamation of its heritage buildings, investing millions of Ringgit and achieving UNESCO recognition along the way. Kedah went into the "Geo Park" business giving priority to rocks and fossils of Langkawi

Other states and institutions straying behind may lose out and have nothing to be proud of except discovering money and time spent for developments fall short of energy and ending with various 'white elephants'. These are not hard to discover.

Be that as it may these are my discoveries during travelings during the early weeks of November 2007 and recently . I am sure you too have invariably come across hidden beauties but unknowingly dismissed them nonchalantly aside. More traveling will bring to the fore greater treasures.

Picture No 1. A Retreat

This Malay 'palace' ( It would have been one many decades ago to the eyes of the kampong folks of the area) in the district of Baling remained vacant and abandon by the owner who has moved to better surroundings. The open veranda or 'anjung' with an extension to the main house is characteristic of the Malay home. Observe the ornate design at the frontage and sides. The concrete stair-case has five steps leading to the veranda typical of Malay homes. We will never find stair-cases with even numbers. The concrete footings supporting timber pillars would also have characteristic design of their own. The rich wood obviously of good quality being in a district famous of quality timber assured its lasting and endurance. The yellow plastic letter box is a give-a -away clue that it has recently been vacated.

Picture No 2. The Original Rest House

While traveling on the back roads of Perlis from Kangar to Alor Star via Bongor Kudong we passed through some scenic landscapes; roads fringed with banana palms and mango trees. We stopped a while to marvel at this extraordinary beauty. This would be the true and natural rest house. The lucky padi-planter and his family would definitely have their siestas here while having time to offer his noon and evening prayers too. When the padi ripen he could stand sentinel from here guaranteeing peace of mind. The plot of land has been made ready for the planting of rice and imagine the color and hue surrounding when the padi ripen and the golden field stretches to the horizon.

Picture No. 3 Figuratively Strange but Real

We observed this at a distance realizing its unique formation when we were at Cameron Highland recently. When I zoomed in I captured this photograph of a figure replicating a man or a human being at prayer or meditating with arms outstretched and the head looking ahead. The greenery and the thick jungle of the Cameron Highlands can do wonders. While enhancing its natural beauty and promoting domestic tourism, supplementing the country with abundant vegetables, flowers, strawberries and tea leaves , it can be a hazard for trackers who lost their way amongst the foliage. The cool mountain atmosphere of the highlands hopefully remain intact even many years later. The figure as captured then may not be there anymore as creepers and other foliage may have designed it into something else. Many historical artifacts and buildings can be claimed by the ravages of nature and disappeared out of sight.Their very discovery later become proud moments for archaeologists, museum and antiquity personnel.

Picture No. 4 Almost gone and Pure Coincident if You Come Across One

We came across this dead tree trunk with several holes punctured into its side at a FRIM ( Forest Research Institute Malaysia) teak plantation KM 28 Jalan Padang Besar Perlis. Who or what would have made symmetrical holes like that? The lone tree trunk stood out amongst the teak trees at this large FRIM centre. As if an answer to the visitation of several colorful birds to my backyard several months ago, I came to find out their ingenuity and perseverance. Yes I was overjoyed when the chirping of several birds turned out to be a four some woodpeckers playing on the coconut trunk at the back of the house and near the riverside.

It must be many years ago when I last saw a woodpecker. No doubt 'Woody the Woodpecker' in the cartoon strips and film once introduced us to its playful nature. But to see their craftsmanship and realise their resourcefulness in getting their food, caring for their young ones and protecting them among the tree trunk is a discovery indeed. Woodpeckers are almost extinct and my seeing them and discovering their artwork is indeed fortunate.

Many aspects of our nature, beauty and treasures will slowly disappear unless we take measures to preserve and care. So let's do what is possible to guarantee that 2020 will continue to enjoy and share current heritage alongside its eventual growth and development less what we have enjoyed and admired will not be a source of joy and fulfilment to the new generation.

Picture No. 5 One of the four woodpeckers that one fine day came visiting and landed on the coconut trunk at the back of the house. Do you know some of the characteristics of this bird? Click and see


Azizi Ahmad Termizi: said...

Pak Non

Thank you for sharing all travel tales and photos. The woodpecker is indeed getting out of sight. In my kampong there used to be lots of them pecking away. Now, I can't even spot one to show to my children.

farizulanuarmurad said...

beautiful projection make my heart stop for a second,,,,

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