Imagine your home in a quiet neighbourhood, the last house along a street which ends near some hilly land.
Then one fine day, you wake up to find a 35-storey tower, in a project of over 500 homes, under construction next door, day by day mushrooming into the sky. The above is the scene that greets you when you step out of your front door into the porch now. You have to look up to the sky to see the top of that building. Too close for comfort. (This is what happens when the Penang Island Local Plan is ‘missing in action’.)
Ground work begins in 2011 and construction starts a year later. In January 2013, the first sign of trouble: a wall at the project site collapses.
Then comes the real nightmare on the night of 4-5 November 2017, when the heavens open and rain pelts down. By 1am, the floods arrive next to your house, held back by a wall. Minutes later, the water level swells to four feet behind the wall, before smashing through it.
Massive waves inundate the premises until 1.47am, swamping the area with two to three feet of water. The front gates are flung open by the sheer force of the current.
Outside, the road turns into a raging river, torrents of water rushing down the street.
Check out the structure (below) being built into the hill-side (part of the same project above).
What is the gradient of those slopes? You tell me.
Another case of building on ‘flat land’, eh? (winks)
So for this household, there is no doubt where the flood waters came from.
Meanwhile, Penang Forum has produced this graphic, which shows you the main river basins in Penang. It would be worth our while to study it to see how, unlike the floods in mainland Penang, in George Town and the rest of the island, it appeared as if someone had poured teh tarik over the city.
Still have any lingering doubts over the origin of the thick layer of mud we witnessed in the recent floods?