I have had this cough for quite a while. The medical advice is if your cough persists for more than a week see a doctor. I thought my antibodies are strong enough but the night before, I could not sleep. So first thing today was to drop into the old Borneo Clinic in Sengkurong, now renamed something else, and see my doctor. I was glad it was the same doctor and I came out $50 poorer. Somenone asked why not see a government doctor after all I could probably get away without queuing. You know, I have never done that. If I wanted a faster service, I would always drop into a private doctor and pay my way. I just hoped that this will at least spur the local businesses.

Anyway, not sleeping means watching telly and it was the Haiti earthquake which really got me. Haiti is not exactly among the richest country in the world and to have such a havoc in their country is like what my minister sometimes says 'sudah tah jatuh ditimpa tangga but dihempap batu and etc' It's really bad. No matter how much preparation you have, sometimes you can never be prepared enough. If there is a fund, go donate, the Haitians really need all the help they can get.

Yesterday on Friday afternoon, a group of us MOD officers went round checking all the drainages around the Brunei district. The rain that hit us on Thursday was much heavier than the rain that hit us last year around the same time (227 vs 209). That rain caused a lot of havoc including the completely swamped tunnel. This year we are more prepared. The tunnel failed last year because the back up power gen did not work when the Gadong gen collapsed. We learnt. Practically all the drainage installation which requires power has its own power gen now. The drains are being cleaned and a lot of the major drainage works are being completed. So, there are less floods compared to last year.

We still have to build about 5 retention ponds at least around the Mulaut area. Each pond would have to be around 5 to 10 times the size of the retention pond at Burong Pingai. All excess rain water will be kept there and released only when the tide is low, otherwise there is no point. The hard bit is actually finding the areas large enough especially in the Ban areas. The other countries around the region have enough lessons for us here in Brunei. KL has the smart tunnel where the water is channeled using tunnel which is also built for roads. Most countries build retention ponds but use them as football fields etc during the non rainy season. I used to wonder sometimes why in some countries, the football fields would have dykes surrounding them.

Floods are inevitable regardless, all we can do is to mitigate or lessen their severity. We developed so fast that by concreting everything, we have taken away the earth's ability to cope with the rain. So the rain gets washed to roadside drains which goes to monsoon drains which leads to rivers. But with super high tides like the 2.3 meter high that we have currently, the water does not go out but remains in the drains and overflows if there is too much. Is there anything you can do to help? Yes. Make sure that your property retains trees and shrubs which may be able to absorb some of the rains and even better if you can keep a special tank which can store all the excess water that comes down from the roof. You can release the water after the rain or use them to wash cars or to water the garden afterwards.

I remembered when I was about 7 or 8, I used to help my parents during rainy season to collect all the rain waters. In the early 1970s, water was quite scarce and most times we ended up taking our mandi using really cold water from these storage containers. There were times when we couldn't go to school as there were lots of floods then. I remembered there were times when I had to walk to school through the flood. Take off you shoes and wade your way through. Walking the mile to school was quite fun which kids today don't do that anywmore.


Bruneian Dollar said…
Nice childhood you have. *Envy* Although there is something I need to clarify. A friend told me back at around 1975 to 1988 there was the first every Tsunami. Is his claim true?
You have to be an avid National Geographic channel watcher to know that. Tsunamis have been occuring since the ancient past but the one that was first recorded was in Hawaii in 1975. The NG channel was documenting how a school which happened to be in the path of the tsunami disappeared.
razlita said…
i miss the old time...i'm malaysian, but the situation might be quite the same (i guessed).. we walked to school near the town (7kms) and our neihgbours went to the nearest school (3 kms) from our kampong. My father insisted us (my siblings) to go to the school near the town since we could have better school environment etc. and with no fear i walked alone (when i was in Year 6 12yrs old) to school(we were living under poverty). Nowadays, no parents would wanted to encourage their kids since there is so much crime/cruel happened around us.

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