Wednesday, November 11, 2009


As we all probably know, Kelantan and Terengganu's flood woes are about to get a lot worse due to the melting of the Siberian ice caps up north, a process that global warming is surely accountable for.

In many ways, this scenario represents all that is terrible about the human cost of environmental degradation. Those responsible for global warming and every other scourge of the Earth are caused by the rich, and the effects borne out by the poor. As the rich clamor for exotic fish on their table, and to hell with overfishing, native populations are torn apart as fishermen migrate to towns to find work, resulting in unemployment, crime and juvenile delinquency.

But, it's not the rich's problem, is it? No, because that delicious, buttery bluefin tuna matters a hell of a lot more than a child's life. And who cares if an entire mountain buries slums due to deforestation? Not the rich.

Which brings us back to the problem. Kelantan and Terengganu are, arguably, Peninsular Malaysia's poorest states. All the rich states- Selangor, Penang, Johor, maybe Perak- lie along the West Coast. And it is the fast growing class of rich people in these states who drive gas-guzzling SUVs, throw out waste by the ton, build factories that flout environmental laws, and attempt to use up as much resources as they can. Penang and KL are the worst example of crass, sickening, don't-give-a-damn-about-others mentality, where the rich can buy a 2nd penthouse metres away from filthy slums.

And now K&T are paying the price for the Malaysian rich's sickening individualism. Have a heart people. You won't die without an SUV, or sharks' fin soup, or even without that over-packaged tech toy and mountains of plastic bags. The Earth crisis is already lapping at our shores- literally. Do you rich Penangites and KL-ites want to wait for the floods to sweep you away personally? No amount of SUVs will help.

Let's pray for our brothers and sisters in K&T. More importantly, let's pray for our cold hearts of stone, that we may finally start moving to save the Earth. Amen.

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