Another photo by tunglang of a hill-slope project, this time in the Jalan Tun Sardon area of Penang Island.
Botak hill land of the richies. No trees for nice unobstructed view? Or is it for kenduri or morning Tai Chi? When was it botak-ed? Who approved it? How high is this richie hill land which is off & way above the main hill road Jalan Tun Sardon? Private land probably, but don’t you think the manner of development can greatly affected the downhill natural water retention, subterranean soil & rock stability, and river flow volume (esp on rainy days) some of which may possibly flow into Relau area? Q: Why is it that Jalan Tun Sardon is frequently prone to rock falls?…
As a concerned Penangite, I decided to furnish this evidence to prove within a reasonable yet non-disputable fact that some hill development such as this one above Jalan Tun Sardon may have adverse environment effect on downhill areas such as Relau….
There may be many more of such hill development in Penang which are not privy to the public unless you take a hike or risk mad-dog chasing….
I trekked thro’ these (4-5) hills countless times as a child. It was a total difference comparing now to the 60s/70s when it was thick rainforest with intermittent fruit trees, rubber trees, farms & century old Hakka homesteads, some of whom later residents I knew back then.
They were some of the most ecologically conscious early settlers who managed their ancestral hill lands with care knowing what to take & what to give back in order to survive well & prosper thro’ generations.
The natural water drainage & catchment of the entire Relau back hills was & still is no experimental plaything, not even for civil engineers to mess up. To draw water from inter-networked rivers, these homesteaders used 2-inch wide open-bamboo siphons for that purpose, one bamboo siphon for one homestead and no more. Other minimalist bamboo water siphoning were for farm use & rubber sheets processing. And that left the natural rivers in healthy state for Nature to thrive on, enough water for downhill homesteads to utilize. Any muddying of these rivers uphill, they knew instantly & would caution – that I learnt after thrashing playfully in one particular river full of ‘Lian’ fish. It was standard natural water utility practice for more than a century – an ecologically sound neighborly understanding & cooperation.
Even human & poultry waste… (was) recycled as natural manure, not buried, not left to dirty the homesteads, rivers or rainforest. Natural composting was natural habit after a durian & fruit season.
Even before this ‘botak-ing’, Jalan Tun Sardon (built in the early 70s) especially just below this hill development was always prone to unpredictable rock falls & landslides in the 70s, 80s, 90s & recent 2000s, some fallen boulders as huge as a bus! Until now, it is still a dangerous, slippery stretch during heavy rainy days. (Watch out above your heads during Hungry Ghost Month). What now with this hill botak-ing adding … to the obvious environmental instability & long term safety of increasing traffic along Jalan Tun Sardon. You are not safe, not even driving a one-ton Caterpillar or Humvee….
The hills behind Relau still live & can react accordingly.