With all the heehawing about development and modernization, urbanization and technological advancement, do Malaysians especially the Bumiputras often ask themselves what happened to the villages and the rural abode they hailed from? Even if they visited the "kampungs" once in a while during weekends, have they really noticed what's happening to the land and the village folks? Do they often think of those who have gone and those who remained behind to form the elderly population of the village? Have they realized that the young friends they left behind before had become white-haired and haggard looking old geeks, grandfathers and grandmas?the eyesore
It's most sobering to hang around in a popular coffee-shop in the morning or evening, and meet these old friends coming around for a cuppa. Those who come on foot, on a bicycle or an old Honda Cub with many modern names and variations, will certainly look older than you are, even though they could be younger than you by a few years. Some might look very frail and pathetic for they did not enjoy the benefit of modern medicine as you did or could not afford the price of special attention by private doctors. At the government hospitals and clinics they could only get the usual few-minutes attention and medication.The popular belief that the village elders are healthier and stronger than their city counterparts because of the healthier food they imbibed cannot be further away from the truth. Except in a few case they look much healthier and younger than you because you have neglected to take good care of yourself.another eyesore
In spite of the many rural development projects we hear of, we seldom hear funds being allocated for village beautification and landscaping. Those terms seem to be the prerogative of only the urban folks.Walk through the villages (not just drive through although even that might be enough to give an idea) and note the lush greeneries of wild elephant grass and thorny weeds overgrowing almost everywhere. Note the acres and acres of unutilized lands which were once productive paid fields. Observe the uncared for housing compounds with beautiful but dilapidating houses probably not occupied because entire families have moved to the towns and cities. The kampung scene is more often one of neglect and haphazard construction rather than the scenic gardens and sculptured landscape that one can see in the neighborhood of towns and cities in the west, in Japan and in China.With few exceptions, the villages in Malaysia had been left to become eyesores. Even children playgrounds constructed in some new housing areas often look more like a secondary rubbish dump and a haven for wild weeds. When even personally owned housing compound are often lifted uncared for what else could be expected of company or publicly owned properties, when the authority concerned could not be bothered to maintain them?the desired
The river banks and their surrounding areas in many cases had become a no man's land. Who is responsible for clearing and landscaping them? Is there any funds at all allocated for their maintenance and development? With flash floods becoming a regular phenomenon nowadays, the flood plains of many rivers had become a repositories for river pollutants.
It appears to me that village beautification and maintenance has never become an item in the local authorities development and management budget. I wonder if the State and Federal Budget has any allocation in this matter. When such matters are hidden in the budget for rural and village development in general, one can rest assured that actual beautification and landscaping program had never been specifically identified. While many villages had been made a tourist center throughout the home-stay program, only a very few villages had been really beautified and groomed for the discerning eyes. Most of the rest remained a testimony to underdevelopment and neglect, although the nation is on the brink of becoming a so-called developed country.