To my blogging buddies who have gave their comments in my last Donkey Blog Post, I thank you for your words of encouragement. This blog I pen today is not about saying goodbye to the blogging world. Its also not about being anti development (I hope it won't sound that way).
I am a Western movie fan and thus I would relate this blog to Custer's Last Stand. As Sarawak moves forward in the name of development, some things you may have cherished once will have to go. If you are in the way, you will still be beaten like Custer. Who is Custer you may ask. He was a commanding officer in the United States Calvary who was mowed down by Chief Sitting Bull's men in a typical Western style siege and shootout. Here's a short history lesson for those who do not know:
An artists impression of Custer's Last Stand
On May 17, 1876, Lieutenant Colonel Custer led the 750 men of the 7th United States Cavalry Regiment out of Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territory. Commanded by Brigadier General Alfred H. Terry, Custer's division was part of an expedition intended to locate and rout tribes organized for resistance under Chief Sitting Bull. Hoping to entrap Sitting Bull in the Little Big Horn area, Terry ordered Custer to follow the Rosebud River while he brought the majority of the men down the Yellowstone River. After meeting at the mouth of the Little Big Horn, they planned to force the Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne back to their reservations.
Custer found Sitting Bull encamped on the Little Bighorn River in Montana. Instead of waiting for Terry, the lieutenant colonel chose to wage an immediate attack. He divided his forces into several groups, and headed out. Quickly encircled by their enemy, the five companies under Custer's immediate command were slaughtered in less than an hour. Over the next two days, the remnants of the 7th Cavalry fought for their lives as they waited in vain for Custer to relieve them. On June 27, the Indians retreated as reinforcements arrived. Expecting to meet Custer and prepare for battle, General Terry discovered only the bodies of Custer and his men.
The Last Stand
I drove to the Kuching International Airport this morning. What I saw along the way saddened me. Why? Walk with me through these pictures if you will. I am sure that at some point in time when any of you come to Kuching, be it for the first time, when you approach the Airport from Town or vice versa, you will experience the gentle shades of the giant trees that stretch along the road.
The shades provided by the trees protect gives soothing protection from the hot sun
Well, I hate to tell you all that the scenery has changed - I discovered this in a shocking way too. I have this thing for the environment, though I fall short of being an environmental activist as some of my environmental science coursemates from my undergraduate days have becomed. Nope, my work now is about the development of Sarawak.
The ugly scars of the tree clearing activity
The clearing also involved the BDC roundabout - the once grand Hornbill statue
The clearing at the BDC Roundabout has started
The Hornbill's Last Stand as the tractor approaches its domain slowly but surely
So today we has a brief history lesson - Custer's last stand - this is also happening to the Hornbill statue and the remaining trees that stretch from the Airport to the Jalan Song Traffic Light. I won't know if it will make it through this wekend. Cleared in the name of Development. Development - that's some kind of welcome word for many of us. If those trees that got chopped down could talk, I believe they too would ask 'Is this Development?", as they tumble down to the ground.
And so I bid farewell to my loyal Hornbill Statue and your loyal tree soldiers. You have always been there for me. You have never failed to greet me when I returned from travelling duties, be it from the Airport or when I travelled by road. I always made it a ritual to pass the BDC Roundabout and get that 'Selamat Datang' (Welcome) feeling whenever I see you. To those leaving Kuching, you would bid them Selamat Jalan' or 'Bon Voyage and Safe Journey'. The neon wings that light up the roundabout at night provides a beautiful sight for those passing by. I would have wished that there is an alternative way but I can't thing of any. When you are faced with the might of Ting Pek Khing, its quite impossible. And I guess it is my turn to bid you 'Selamat Tinggal' (Goodbye).