Trajedies and the human spirit.
Bukit Antarabangsa is not far from where I live. In fact I live on the other side of the same hill range that slid down on Saturday. I live near the skeletons of what was the Highland Towers.Â
And so that was probably why we received numerous phone calls at the clinic and on my handphone from friends asking if I was ok, asking if I had turned up for work.Â
We didn’t realise how bad it was until much later in the afternoon. By then rumours of the devastation were rife and I began to call up my many friends, family and friends who had family, who lived in that particular end of Bukit Antarabangsa.
Nearly everyone I knew had made the trek up the hill to safety. My aunt who was recovering from a protracted illness had been helped out, my cousin, nephew and nieces were safe, my friend whose husband is always away for months on end as he captains a cargo ship, had managed to get her children out as well. They were okay albeit shaken and uncertain as to where to stay and what to do next.
And then there are the few who opted to stay, hoping electricity would be restored and an access road cleared. We kept feeding them information from what was said on TV, as they kept hearing stuff and we didn’t want them remaining in darkness for yet another night, with false hope. One friend kept his phone active by re-charging it using his car. He had food and water supplied by the police but what he needed most was confirmation of the information as to what was going on.
My friends are still numb with shock. Their fears really lay in the future; where would they live if their houses were deemed unsafe, when could they return to salvage what they could, what do they do with their houses if they decide to relocate, as now it will be difficult if not impossible to sell those houses.
My girlfriend is now staying in an apartment with her children which is loaned to her by a caring niece. She cries each time I call to see if she’s okay, saying she’s terrified of making the choice to return to what was her home, or not. She heard the reservoir above her particular Taman had cracks in it and she was advised to wait ten days before making the decision to return as her Taman would be flooded if the reservoir breaks down. My heart went out to her when she said each day was long enough, to wait ten days was like an eternity.
Another friend had returned to drive out his car only to be told the access road was being up graded and he now couldn’t leave but had to wait a night until he could use the road to leave the area again. Confusion and chaos …. though granted the authorities are trying their utmost to restore order in the area, the sheer logistics of marshalling so many families safely is a nightmare.
My concern for my friends is their emotional well being. The uncertainty is devastating. All I can do is give them a shoulder to cry on and assistance in whatever way I can. This is a time for friends to be friends, this is a time to be there for them.