It was such a beautiful night....our turqoise pool illuminated in the darkness of night. My friends couldn't help but dip their feet in. A relaxing treat after a full week of pole dance training, performing and workshops in Singapore.
The air was calm & cool, like most nights up here in the hills of Bukit Antarabangsa. We could hear vaguely from a distance, rave music and a voice working the crowd in some sort of party at the bottom of the hill. We bitched a little. Aside from that, it was an amazing night. No signs of what was to become the country's biggest landslide looming just 300m from our very house.
We heard nothing though.... just my dogs barking, going berserk in the middle of the night which never happened before. So I was woken. Then shortly after, my handphone rang. Surprised and dazed from sleep I answered a call from Sofia Jane, my girlfriend. It was 4.30am.
She sounded really concerned, rather panicky really, "Are you ok Maple?" I said hey and told her I was fine, I was sleeping, but what's wrong? Sofie then said there has been a massive landslide in Bukit Antarabangsa where her mother-in-law lives and that she was in shock. I later learnt the landslide stopped right infront of her apartment block.
I then told hubby about the landslide and started to look outside the window. No sounds, nothing. Only around 5ish we heard helicopters. The rescue teams were beaming light into the valley. Then soon I got a call from Mama Min (Patrick Teoh's wife) who lives right across us, that the police has ordered everyone from her apartment to come outside. I looked out at the front of my house and saw loads of people just hanging out, not knowing why exactly nor what to do.
We took Mulan for a walk down Wangsa 9 and saw trees had fallen over the road - apparently there's where the landslide orginated from. Those abandon houses on the edge of the hill next to these broken trees, were left half-built for the longest time. We cant help but wonder if this entire row of 10 if not more, will be next.... and how many more houses adjacent to them plus those at the bottom will be avalanched.
Not really knowing what to do (which seems to have been the case in these 6 days), we walked back home and i took a shower. At least one thing I know I must do, is to get to the studio. It was the first day of The Asian Pole Summit in KL. Hubby was standing by the pool, looking out into the valley, checking intensely if something was happening down the road. That was when the 2nd slide took place. I too, from my bathroom door upstairs, saw trees coming down and heard people screaming from a distance.
"Cookie, get all our luggage out. We're packing some things and getting outta here!"
That night, we moved into our neighbourhood hotel, The Flamingo. Still not really understanding why but we needed a good night's sleep. In the next few days, we still didn't know the status of our house! We've officially been asked to evacuate, but for how long? When will we know if our house is safe to live in again? Or never? All the residents living around here share the same predicament. It didn't take long before everyone is infuriated by the lack of information from the authorities, angry because we have to leave our homes and left in the lurch, scared because of all the uncertainties and impatient and frustrated because no one can answer all our questions! What's worse, no work has been done to the site, to strengthen or prevent futher slides till this day.
I went to a meeting last night near the tragedy site with some residents, to talk to the state assemblyman YB Azmin Ali. Clearly a waiting game, we were told that the results of the land situation, soil movements and safety status of us living above the landslide, will only be out 10 days from Monday.
Today is also the anniversary of the tragic Highland Towers collapse. It has been 15 years yet what has come out of victims' fight? And just a week ago, the landslide in Ulu Yam which claimed lives and soon after, in Damansara.
Hillside developments have apparently been frozen since the landslide but that's not true as some have witnessed continuous works. In fact, alot of housing projects on Bukit Antarabangsa and the neighbouring Ukay Heights have had the green light to proceed even without approval....no CFs. How's that?
Are we to blame for trusting the goverment in the first place that a property
is unsafe to buy? Even if we wanna check, where do we go?
This is our lives, our families and our investments.We hope our new ruling party PKR will now stand up for us and proof their worthiness of our votes and resolve this on-going crisis that has been left unattended for over 20 years.
Lnadslides caused by heavy downpour therefore not a man-made disaster? Heh... which moron would think that.
Btw, we decided to move back into our home today. It must be bizarre and silly in some's opinion to see us moving our things back into what's been referred to as a 'deathtrap' when others are frantically moving out. Well, I feel good being in my own home at the moment. I find more peace being around our things, surrounded by all our doggies and sleep in our own bed than getting pushed around and left to wonder. Besides, our engineers said there hasnt been any soil movement at all on our road since the catastrophe... and apparently, our house sits on rock and not soil. So that's good to know;)