This story is by blog visitor tunglang:
November, 1997 – There was excitement circulating in the air about a wonder of Nature in Bukit Kukus, Paya Terubong: a newborn natural waterfall @ Sun Moon City (low and medium-cost apartments). I couldn’t believe my ears; so I went to investigate one fine afternoon.
Seeing was believing. On a slippery cliff of dark granites, a multitude of small waterfall streams danced down from the heavens. Envy filled my mind:“How lucky you folks are at Sun Moon City. Nature has surely blessed this place with a natural waterfall”.
Then, a ‘Believe it or not!’ incident happened the very next day: a massive landslide of heavy soil, mud and rockfall of huge boulders, some bigger than a bus. Vehicles parked along the roadsides were destroyed. A factory bus was crushed into ‘pulped salt fish’ by a monstrous boulder.
This Nature’s beauty-turned-deadly beast of terror shocked many especially those staying in Sunmoon City. Was it the Naga wagging its tail in our face?
We don’t need a geophysicist brain to rationalise that Botak Hill is not an option to play with. Nature’s laws are common sense guides since time immemorial – from the time of Adam’s and Eve’s foot prints in the Garden of Eden.
No need for a natural science PhD to complicate matters relating to safety, co-existence, sustainability and life and death in the natural world. Even the Orang Asli for generations know by heart the fundamental rules of treating the forests and hills with utmost respect. They know not to tempt fate with the Nagas, whom they believe to be ancient spiritual keepers of our rainforest hills and mountain ranges.
Penang’s hills are no exception as they once belonged to the lofty mountain ranges of prehistoric times. So are their living Nagas, ordained as the residing keepers of these ancient hills, which we take for granted today.
Since the early days of the frenzied development in Paya Terubong in the 1990s, we have witnessed increasing incidences of floods, landslides, mudslides, rockfalls, soil erosion and rapid rainwater run-off that turns roads into muddy rivers whenever it rains cats and dogs. And now, we have dustier air and hotter climate to bear with.
Back to the November, 1997 deadly landslide on Bukit Kukus: massive hill cutting of the steep gradients was the norm there and this was extensively carried out despite recurring environmental signs that the worst was yet to come. Until our arrogance paid the price. Did we not provoke the Naga of the Paya Terubong hills?
Take a Google Earth North-South view of the hill range of Bukit Kukus and Bukit Relau and evaluate the extent of botak hills and the dire environmental consequences should we persist further down the Naga’s unpredictable tail.
In the relentless botak hill pursuit of Cosmopolitan Penang, be aware that arrogance always gets another Naga’s tail wagging in the face. It is only a matter of when.
Note: The Nagas – imaginary, symbolic or spiritual – serve a universal eco-warning to humankind, that we are not to ‘play-play’ with Nature.