Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rape of the Sarawak Forests

I made a return visit to the IME Toastmasters Club last evening and also helped them by arranging three fellow Toastmasters from three different clubs, i.e. Ernst & Young, Shaklee Dynamic Family and MIMKL to be there to lend support to this young club. I took up the role of speech evaluator and I was eventually voted the Best Evaluator – no surprise here, if I was really honest about my evaluation. It was good to be back because this club had members who are really energized and they take Toastmasterinjg seriously.

And in The Malay Mail (p 4) last Wednesday, market research firm TNS who surveyed 50,000 people worldwide concluded Malaysians had the most number of online friends at an average of 233 friends per person. (As for me, at the time of typing this posting, I already have 440 friends). So we are super friendly! But that’s not all. We came out tops as spending the most time on Facebook at about nine hours per week. I am not sure if this is a good thing because many Facebookers are hitched on flippant stuff like Mafia Wars, FarmVille, Tycoons, Friends for Sale! and so on. Okay, i know some of you will hit out at me for saying this, but seriously, cannot you make better use of your time?

It has been claimed that the desecration of Sarawak’s Rejang river by wasted logs and driftwood has raised the alarm, throughout Malaysia, about the environmental degradation that has been taking place throughout the state during chief minister Taib Mahmud’s three decades in power.

The sight of thousands upon thousands of logs mingled with debris and mud clogging up Sungai Rajang for as far as the eye could see was reminiscent of scenes from the 2004 tsunami in Aceh. Even without the floating corpses and cars that accompanied the earlier event, it was not hard to comprehend that what happened in Sarawak last week was a disaster whose scale, though yet to be fully measured, was immense. See the video clip of this disaster:

A combination of heavy rains upriver, denuded ground and a massive landslide resulted in this – a 250 km logjam starting from Ulu Baleh to Sibu – nearly half the length of the mighty Rajang, Malaysia's longest river. The logjam cut off Kanowit, Song and Kapit from Sibu because express boat services could not traverse the river safely.

Disturbing photos of this calamity posted on blogpage drew more than 10,000 views, and many angry comments too.

The sheer flood and mud flow killed fish and polluted the river, and may possibly affect the peat-swamp-rich area of the delta. If not recovered, the logs will wash out to sea and continue their destruction there. A fully grown tree can suck up five tonnes of water. It is for this reason that trees are described as nature's great flood mitigator. Without them, every time it rained heavily, water would hurtle downstream and flood the area there.

Who dares to stop Taib? Only Sarawakians can save Sarawak from this tyrant.

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