NOVEMBER 5 — I share with you a testament of both anxiety and tension to many in Penang who endured a Great Storm, if not, the Worst Storm... at least for me in all my fifty years as a “Penang kia”.
In all started innocently with heavy early morning showers on Saturday, well received then as we had been experiencing hot weather in Penang without much rain for close to one month.
Then it turned into a cloudy day which transcended as very heavy precipitation occurring throughout the afternoon leading to the eventual filling up of the rivers all around the island.
When you passed by Sg Pinang or Sg Air Itam that late afternoon, you could sense the danger with the swollen river waters. Doing a quick check on the tides, the rising sea waters from 7pm till its peak at 12 midnight coupled with the incessant heavy rain right past 3am, you knew things were not going to be pleasant!!
Stepping outside at that night-time rain, hearing the howling winds at haunting knots only sent chills into your body!!
Sure enough the aftermath was visible to all early Sunday morning. To quote one of our seniors on the way to church too, it was like a war zone — abandoned cars at the side of the road, stranded probably due to prior high flood waters. Valiant drivers attempting a U-turn to escape the impassable road in front landed some stuck on the higher road divider! Not forgetting the many fallen tree branches, trees trunks small, big and the very big.
I took the opportunity to survey the damage on that Sunday afternoon and you can only sympathise with the many who suffered material losses.
Yet to see the silent giants, trees passionately fought for by some NGOs, you can't help but conclude, “Surely you can't blame this on exacerbated land/hillside development?”
For me, it is clear the majesty of these trees was its undoing. Such thick foliage and sheer size receiving the gale-like forces simply turned unbearable for the silent giant.
Nevertheless, we in Penang shall take stock, and crucially the powers-that-be ought to apply good wisdom to learn how to face this Great Storm again if it recurs.
The spirit of recovery shall prevail with honest help from all groups or individuals of interest involved.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.