TECHNOLOGY WILL NOT SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS. ONLY HUMILITY AND TRUTHFULNESS WILL DO THE TRICK.
I issue this statement on my own behalf, and not as a representative of any group or organization. I am resolutely against any attempt to solve our serious environmental problems - of which recurring smog and water shortages (despite worsening floods) are merely symptoms - through heavy-handed bureaucratic schemes and club-footed technological ploys.
Never mind the goddam EIA. These multi-million-ringgit "professional" reports are a wordscreen for a lot of nasty unspeakable projects that I prophesy will soon be totally banned from this precious planet, as more and more of us awaken to the terrible truth.
What an EIA does is to soften the crushing impact of reckless "development" projects. The EIA is very much like an inventory of potential damage caused by warfare: you might lose a few toes, half your brain, most of your vision, your hearing, your sanity, etc - BUT if you follow certain SAFETY PRECAUTIONS, you might escape with only half the above injuries!
The point is: WE DON'T WANT TO GO TO WAR AT ALL! What industrialization has done to the environment is essentially a declaration of war against natural beauty and simple, honest values. That way lies a dead-end future of merciless grey grimness unfit for organic lifeforms, only state-owned androids.
Building yet another colossal dam to feed our insatiable appetite for "growth" is definitely a sign of derangement. We have been forcefed - and a few have greedily swallowed - Mahathir's "vision" of unfettered industrial development and economic expansion. But how many have dared to publicly question the sanity or wisdom of this management policy? And when a few voices in the wilderness cried out in warning, were they heeded or even heard amidst the clamor of the stock exchange and the growing traffic jams?
When water catchment areas have been rudely denuded and despoiled, and hills carved up for high-rise housing, do we expect to live happily after on this earth? Surely Mother Earth will seek ways in which she can rid herself of this terrible infestation called humanity, surely she will find ways to alert us to the grave errors of our perception, so that we can return to a loving, cherishing relationship with her (instead of exploiting her and robbing her of resources meant for all living things, and seeing her beauty as no more than booty for our taking).
|KL flash flood, March 2009 (Ahmad Asmadi/The Star)|
My friends, the inclement weather changes - wet months getting wetter and hot months getting hotter and cold countries getting colder - are part of the phenomenon called Global Warming. It is largely caused by human insensitivity to the miraculous spectrum of life that constitutes our biosphere. "Modern Man" suffers from acute anthropocentrism - a viewpoint focused exclusively on human need and greed - and acute anthropocentrism will eventually destroy the whole earth. Our needs are amply provided for by Mother Nature, as the wise ones say, but not our greed.
So our recent plague of environmental problems is basically an indicator of our excesses. To further abuse and exploit the environment certainly will not help - no matter how clever or inventive or EXPENSIVE the technology may be.
What will help is to reassess our management policies and national aspirations with complete truthfulness. We would immediately recognize that we have reached the point where national ego pride could ruin us and genuine humility just might save us.
Humility means acknowledging how little we know about the universe; and humility comes from realizing that nature's beauty and mystery are worth infinitely more than our perverse obsession with illusory fame and fortune.
Being able to breathe clean, fresh air and admire the distant hills every day may not get us into the Guinness Book of World Records or the Who's Who of the Banana Republics- but it will certainly get us closer to regaining heaven on earth.
|Road to Heaven by Emily Mueller|
Or did we come here to experience the separation of matter from spirit, and to learn how they can be harmoniously fused again? For this lesson would teach us that the outer reflects the inner. Where there is drought in the external reality, it means our souls are parched of feelings, love has dried up. Where there are landslides and flash floods, it means our integrity is decaying and our emotions are murky and raging out of control, bursting the banks of tranquility. And where the air is thick with greasy crud and black with factory soot, it means our thoughts are indecent (i.e., mechanical, pornographic) and our spirit is exhausted.
These are not - as an official propagandist might have you believe - the essential hallmarks of progress, the few broken eggs of omelette-making. Material comfort and spiritual distress are not the sine qua non of success. If truth be told, these are the unmistakable symptoms of acute mismanagement pulling the wool over the eyes of - or, rather, shearing the wool off - a woefully disinformed and misguided citizenry.
Don't be fooled or bullied by businessmen and politicians into believing that ideals and principles are for lily-livered dreamers and bleeding-hearts. Ideals and principles are our navigational beacons through the foggy night of never-knowing-for-sure. Businessmen and politicians prefer to bandy about FACTS and FIGURES. They call it being REALISTIC, being PRACTICAL, being LOGICAL, being RATIONAL. "Hey, don't be so emotional," they're fond of admonishing individuals like me.
Well, my friends, if you think the world is run by walruses and carpenters... oops, I mean, busynessmen and appalliticians... and there isn't much you and I can do to change the situation - you're dead wrong! In the first place, they are not running the world - they're RUINING it! And in the second place, every bit of POWER they appear to wield they STOLE from YOU.
Now, to reclaim your POWER - and your FUTURE - and your SENSE OF MEANING and PURPOSE - all you have to do is stand your ground and say: NO WAY! YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BUILD ANOTHER STUPID BLOODY DAM JUST TO COVER UP YOUR INCOMPETENCE, YOUR INEFFICIENCY AND YOUR INBRED CORRUPTION. YOU ARE GOING TO START LISTENING TO THOSE WHO CAN STILL TALK STRAIGHT - INSTEAD OF THROWING THEM ALL IN JAIL! - AND CARRY OUT THE TRUE WISHES OF WE THE PEOPLE.
We no longer desire to be permanent debt-slaves of an inaccessible power elite ("Boss ada meeting!"). We shall no longer pick up the bill for your deadly sins. We are prepared to give you ONE LAST CHANCE to admit your mistakes (go on, say "Sorry lah!" just once with feeling) and then call for suggestions from the public as to what needs to be done about everything: our air, our water, our legal system, our police force, our news media, our housing policy, our hideous track record of moral duplicity, and our utter contempt for truth, never mind the environment!
I'm absolutely sure the very first suggestion will be: DO AWAY WITH OBSOLETE LAWS FROM THE DARK AGES LIKE THE ISA AND THE OSA. Then we can feel free at last to discuss decent, intelligent, eco-friendly and non-destructive ways to resolve our problems without being harassed by zomboid goons.
In fact, you may find we actually have very few problems in this country. I'd venture that they can all fit into a single courtroom and be tried for conspiracy to befuddle and bamboozle the public! And the most fitting "punishment" would be for the entire cabinet to live for two whole years in an Orang Asli village on RM500 a month. They will each be issued a 20-year-old 80 c.c. motorbike - and no petrol allowance.
The Orang Asli, of course, will be paid ministers' salaries during the exchange period to make up for the inconvenience of having to teach a bunch of back-biting batik-shirted baboons the basics of honest living.*
6 March 1999
*Twelve years have elapsed since I wrote this. Regrettably, I have had to revise my earlier, overly romantic view of the Orang Asli and their role as guardians of "indigenous wisdom." This may have been true of past generations, raised on grandmothers' stories instead of low-grade TV. However, the new generation of Orang Asli - and I refer specifically to the Temuan of Ulu Selangor - are hardly in a position to teach anybody "the basics of honest living." Indeed, I'm inclined to think only a tiny handful these days have any grasp of the notion of honesty. The rot from Putrajaya has spread all the way down to the roots. To rehabilitate BN ministers we will probably have to outsource the contract!