It’s A Swamp!

Photos should be up later because the internet connection’s here not too good, but I assure you you’re not missing much.

(Edit: Photos can be found here and here.)

It rained non-stop from the 30th of October until the 1st of November, and the day after that, places in Jitra and Southern Thailand were flooded. I was supposed to go to a camp in Kuala Nerang the next day, but the roads were found flooded and blocked, so the programme was cancelled.

I guess you can say we were pretty much prepared for what was in store for us, since we went through a flood in 2005 too, in December. The water supply was cut off on 2nd Nov, and later I found out the whole Alor Setar (if not the whole Kedah) has run out of water supply too and people are buying mineral water left, right and center. We, for one, didn’t even think to make those preparations. We were pretty confident. 2005 wasn’t that bad, why would it be bad now?

Yesterday was the 3rd of November. We borrowed Uncle Guan’s pickup to round the neighbourhood, and there were some pretty terrible places that were completely swamped, like Taman Asas and Taman Malaysia. But what was really puzzling was that the area around the Raja’s Mini Store (which would usually be flooded along with the other low lying areas compared to my area at Taman Lumba Kuda and Taman Golf) was surprisingly dry when water was edging towards us already at my place. But we didn’t think too much, I mean, the electricity was still on, wasn’t it? Plus, my mum decided to stay in the house this time to watch over our properties instead of moving out like 5 years ago.

I admit, the first day was pretty fun. I mean, a flood! That means no school, and something interesting to gossip about. The electricity stayed on until around midnight last night, and we slept in darkness save for the emergency fan.

I was woken up by my parents this morning at 6am. My dad said the situation was getting too critical, and if we don’t move now, we won’t have the chance to anymore. So we were pretty much just groping around in the dark packing stuff and moving furniture while our eyes almost tried to close in sleepiness and it was huge bloody mess. We were sweating by the time we got everything and everyone out, then together with Aunty Ai Loon, Uncle Hoe and Aunty Amelia, we rode in Uncle Guan’s pickup to get the hell out of the neighbourhood -now a swamp. The water was so deep we barely made it out. As it is, my father proved to one hell of a driver and got us out safely.

After that, we went to Uncle Guan’s house, where we cleaned up and had a short nap. We thought the situation would get better, instead it took a turn for the worst. So we had to borrow a huge truck to get back to the house to rescue Golden, because the water was rising too rapidly and it would soon be too late. The roads at the T-junction to the Pumpong area was mostly closed and pretty empty save for a few evacuees and pickups and boats and trucks like ours. Remember what I said about some parts in the neighbourhood still completely dry? Now the whole place was completely wet. Absolutely everywhere. The area around Taman Jubli Perak was still pretty dry when we came out this morning but the water already reached Wisma Darulaman when we went in that afternoon at about 2pm.

Right then, all I could worry about was Golden, because Aunty Ai Chin said she saw 6 dead dog bodies floating that morning and I couldn’t help thinking about bad things my paranoia made me think. And when we went into the neighbourhood, it was like looking out to the sea. Everything was water, house, water, building, street lamp, water, and nothing else. And then I saw a dog’s body floating in one of the houses and everyone exclaimed in disgust and I couldn’t help it.

I cried.

I was sick with worry, paranoid of what I might find at my house.

So I was one of the first to climb down the truck, splashed through the water and to my house. And there I found Golden sitting on a bench, the ground completely flooded with water. I don’t know what’s wrong but I thought he looked pretty surprised and happy to see me. And then I don’t know, the tears started flowing. I was so glad he was safe, even though he never stopped barking at us, as if scolding us. Why did you leave me? Why did you leave me?

I’m sorry I’m not usually this emotional.

So we moved more things to higher ground, even though the water’s already flooded into the living room and the back kitchen. We grabbed some more important things, moved the cars to higher ground, grabbed Golden, acted as a rescue truck for many of our stranded neighbours and got out safely once more.

Once I was outside, I realised how frightening it was to be inside the taman. How trapped I actually felt all the time I was in there. Does this count as being traumatized? Because I’m pretty sure I’ve just seen something that could possibly change my perspective, if not forever then for now.

And if you’re just going to be horrible and say “Well, you’ve been through this 5 years ago? What are you worried about?”

Firstly, this time was definitely many times worse than in 2005. Secondly, I just saw dead bodies, even if they are animal bodies, floating around, and you’re asking me why I’m worried..you are in need of a doctor. Thirdly, this isn’t even the worst yet. The worst is about to come in these two days, because they’re saying they plan to release some more water from the dam, and the tides are getting higher. Fourthly, we are totally cut off from water supply. There are probably many more reasons but I’m too tired to remember them.

We saw many other residents planning to stay in their houses despite the flood, and I don’t know how they manage it waterless and powerless and feeling like a bug trapped in a cage. I don’t know how they do it, but God bless them.

I’m just so tired, today has been such chaos, moving stuff, wading in water and worrying. Just…pray Lord things don’t get worse.

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Author: Michelle Teoh

23-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

4 thoughts on “It’s A Swamp!”

  1. Well, we made it!!! I too am dead tired. Have not really slept for 5 days! Adrenaline kept me going and right now, everything feels like it was a bad dream!

  2. OMLG! I was in Penang that time.I never thought it would be that serious. And wait, you said 5 years ago we suffered the same thing? Why couldn’t I remember anything about it?

    How are you right now? Are all the mess being cleared?

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