I was in the midst of writing my last entry when I received a call from a stranger. The man introduced himself as an Ustaz Riduan from Sungai Buluh, requesting wtv8's immediate presence! My number was given to him by Wak Kasiran, my wtv8 partner-cameraman, as I was holding one of wtv8's cameras for our visit to Kampung Berembang and the 2 other villages nearby.
While driving there, I called Dr. L to inform her of the situation and requesting her permission to distribute some of the date fruits I still have in the car. Dr. L responded positively and later called several more of the senior club members to be present on the scene.
As soon I parked the car, Ustaz Riduan and several villagers came to greet and update on the situation. Kampung Melayu Sentosa, had just become the latest victim to Selangor State Government's directive of zero squatter-colony population! Unfortunately, the directive does not take into consideration of the fact that many of the villages that had been destroyed or will be, have been in existent, some for more that several decades, and many were the product of UMNO's behest itself since 1970's. UMNO leaders wanted to increase the Malay population in the city and squatter colonies provided an alternative to low cost housing which was in dire need!
As I begin shooting the scene, Ustaz Riduan filled in more details:
Of the 176 houses within the cramped area, some 10 houses remained defiant against the eviction order by Majlis Perbandaran Subang, the local authority there. The brave villagers who stood their ground were suspicious of the eviction notice as there were 2 different accompanying letters from 2 different developers! Within the short time span of 30 days, the villagers were given a compensation of RM7,000 and forced to find alternative housing. For at least one of the villagers who received the cheque of RM7,000, the bank denied payment due to some technicalities; still the eviction and demolition of the houses were carried out precisely 2 days before Merdeka Day celebrations!
I asked myself: what was the celebration again? Who's Merdeka was it when the nation's citizen are ferreted out of the homes they built with their bare hands? Who's blood, tears and sweat helped shaped our country? Not the people? I'm sorry, I'm missing something here.
I climbed a steep road to interview a lady villager who had been staying there for some 14years. Along the way, all around me were debris of houses, some that had stood decades long, protecting the inhabitants from the natural elements, but now unable to defend themselves against the greed of mankind.
My climb down from the small hill was via a different route. I wanted to catch a different angle that was whispered to me by one of the villagers. True enough as he mentioned, erected just off the road shoulder is signboard that clearly states: Tapak Sekolah oleh Kerajaan. Now, what was it about the developer again?
On the way to my car, I met another villager and her daughter. They had moved out earlier and are now squatting in a relatives place until they could find their own. But with the husband's sole income for the family at RM600, how can they afford a rental of RM700 which is the common rate there? And there is a scarcity of low rental units within the area!
While waiting for the senior members of Kami Prihatin to arrive, an elderly lady lamented how cruel the government was and she liken them to the Pharaoh of old Egypt. Politely I pointed to - as I learned from a pious man - that when the Prophet Moses a.s. requested Allah to destroy the Pharaoh, his request was turned down simply because the Pharaoh - despite his cruelty to other races, and priding himself as a god - distribute alms and charity to the poor of his people himself! For that alone, Allah s.w.t. denied Prophet Moses plea.
Here, we have a scenario where the citizens are being betrayed by the very people they put into office! I left soon after, not knowing how vent my anger and frustration. As soon as I got home, I began rewriting Worlds Apart! When done, I continued staring at the screen before deciding to change the template. It would, at least, keep my mind occupied.