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Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Squatters

(Picture courtesy by Miss Pek Bee Hong)

A substantial amount of my time at work has been spent on the squatters issue. It is a main and frequent issue in Penang, due to the limited land that we have.

Yesterday and today morning were spent visiting the squatters area. I managed to contact one of the residents to be our guide. What welcome us next was, to my surprise, a quiet path with tree growing messily besides it. As we walk down the road, i met vegetation farms and orchards. We visitted every houses, they are simple, but most of them includes a big compound in front of the door. A river flow across the land, which, according to one of the residents, was their childhood natural playground before some families start raising pigs and pollute the water.

One step away from the entrance, is another world that is full of high rise buildings, hotels, and 'classy' neighbourhood.

A few months later, this place would see yet another building emerging, and perhaps, a new landmark that will goes down the history.

It was the story of the last generation, how they settled down on land that they didn't own, and how their children multiply from a registered house to many unregistered houses. As the places are to be demolished, what would the story of the next generation be like? Who, would remember this place anymore? Once the bulldozers are in, it will be gone forever.

Yet all these sentiments would not save the place from the demand of development. Undeniably, building new apartments boost the economic growth of the state and country, providing job opportunities, allowing companies to have higher spending power which will eventually contribute to the society. Failing these, we'll lose out and will be of under advantage compare to others countries.

It is similar in the cases of people choosing cellular phones despite reports on the danger of radiation to human's health.

Perhaps, this is the path the we the human races has chosen. And as we chose it, we soon realize that we can't stop choosing it anymore.

We chose to evolve, but do we know how?

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