Kakipulau tells us what we have lost – and are still losing – in Tanjung Tokong and elsewhere:
Tanjung Tokong was a beautiful fishing village area and before the land reclamation was done, you could see a natural sand spit going out to sea, formed by the tides. A mangrove forest grew just by the promenade that ran along the road opposite Tanjung Tokong village proper. The fisherman used to anchor their boats in the lagoon formed by the curve in the sand spit.
I’ve lived near there since I was 10 and will never forget that beautiful sight or the feel of the wind from the sea. I used to sit there for hours wanting to put that beautiful scene in a painting. It was beyond words and the peace that one feels gazing into the vast expanse of sea and the fishing boats with their gossamer nets is now only a memory.
Society has become such that it has no time for beauty or to listen to the sound of the sea as if it was sighing. Perhaps it knew its days were numbered. Now all we can talk about (in sharp angry voices) is of the corruption that has been committed, the denial of rights of villagers, the money that has changed hands, the conglomerates, the value of compensation and wheeling and dealing that oppresses.
While we talk, more towers appear, the sea is pushed further and further out, so we can’t see it. The fisher folk have been scattered and housed in boxes called apartments, a far cry from the gracious dwelling of the traditional kampung house that suited their needs and did no harm to our environment.
We have lost the beauty of this land and no matter how much we quarrel, it will not be returned. Whether the blame lies with Federal or State authorities, we will never get back what has been destroyed forever.
This may be a lost cause just like Kg. Buah Pala; the responsibility for the mess does not only lie with the state government but more so on the federal government. No matter who the villagers chose to champion their cause, the result was the same; the developers won out and have gone to the banks laughing. So, what do we do? Who can we hope in?