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Jul 21, 2017

4/7/17 MAKING URBAN RURAL .... an option for Bintulu Malays.

This morning, I got a called from a long time buddy. He called just to convey the Salam from one of the Village Head in Bintulu whom I used to screw when I served the Division in 1999-2001. The Village Head was asking my friend, where am I now? He told him that I'm a free man helping those whom need some thinking helps. Interestingly, he then suggested for my friend to get me to have a look at his village and those along the Kemena river for some sort of redevelopment. Definitely those kind of suggestion or invitation indeed really excite me. Thus, this evening, while strolling at the Kota Kinabalu Waterfront, then seated in one of the Gerai Filipina enjoying seaweed salad with nice grilled fish; seeing all sort of people there made my mind turned very active thinking of the guy suggestion. Later I walked through the Vegetable and Fish Market before turning to Kota Warisan. I was wondering, how did Warisan match with all the development so called Kota Warisan. To me the said Kota Warisan in its Malay's name, doesn't at all signify the name. There is nothing warisan in it. I'm not sure which warisan is the place representing? Upon coming back to my Hotel, I took a bit of time to stroll the Night Market nearby, with my head searching for some clues to how to develop those villages Kg Sinong-Masjid of Bintulu that had sort of turned into slumps.

(2) Alhamdullilah. As I took the lift to my room, suddenly this idea of making urban rural cropped into my mind. What actually is that making urban rural that fired into my mind? Then how could such a development concept be applicable to the Headman suggestion? May be my training in urban and country planning influenced me in the glimpse of my thought, but such won't do any great. Conventionally, urban country planning had been widely practiced in this Country, yet the urbanized are being marginalized. As I was strolling the people places along my way back to the hotel, the scene of the people struggle to earn a living indeed was the real factor that had triggered a strong internal debate in my heart; that really triggered such thinking. Along the way, I began to recalled many things that we had done in the past that worked against our own very policies interest. The paramount policy objective that we had been struggling for since independence was attaining good quality living for our citizen. Yet, in Kuching and definitely in Sibu, Bintulu and Miri we had done a lots to pursue our interest to build clean and organized cities. But while such policy objective being worked on, on the other hand we were indeed neutralizing our other policies objectives which among others are (a) diversifying our economic base; (b) building multi-cultural harmony living societies; (c) making development equitably enjoy by all work of lives of our citizen, etc. The outcome of our clean and organize urban living indeed now is a tool for the nurturing of economic and socio-political polarization. I can see now, all these antagonistic development approaches brought us to nowhere to economic empowerment for all. Our present and long past slow and unsustainable economic growth was due mostly to the hinderance of the nurturing of creative thinking and initiatives among our people in general. Our economy is skewed by the monopoly and exploitation of the greedy-stingy few. The people in general were and are being pushed to do things that won't take them up the greater economic ladder. Our people were and are not being optimizely facilitated to be the better capable citizen. Our leaders are more busy to gain the most for their circle and pushing away what the Al Quran commanded them to take their khalifah role to the best interest of the Ummah.

(3) Greed and corruption had turned the faces of many of our leaders away imparting the best welbeing of the Ummah. In most instances, they proclaimed that whatever they were and are doing were and are stop gap measures while waiting for the people to be ready, yet even upon decades of them in power and even after loosing the power, the so call waiting were and are never ending. The Ummah remains in lots of disadvantages position. Their future are continue to be bushy. Definitely these greedy and stingy leaders can say well they are not smart, lazy and stuborn and all sort of branding, but for sure I can dare to say, if not because of their greed, they would be able to see the willingness of the people to adapt to good changes that may come. I was all about their basic needs fulfillment that these leaders failed to address that made these people seem love to be marginalized. These greedy and corrupt leaders' hearts and minds were and are indeed dirt with all the hypocrisy that they can make.

(4) My few visits to Perth in 1998-2009 and as well as many other places in the US and Canada, plus my coming to 58 years age, with this invitation and those strong debates in my heart, Alhamdullilah in this small room of this budget hotel, in Kota Kinabalu, I can now visualize to finish the job that I had started at Darul Hana in Kuching which to certain point had been hijacked to the level in the future would not optimize the gains among the local. Darul Hana indeed had been hijacked to the point of a Project for speculation purpose for a  host (not horse) riding greedy capitalist. The initial objective to empower the people is being skewed for self interest of a few. I may failed in Darul Hana, In Shaa Allah I will try my best to come with a better Model for Bintulu. This Sabah trip which is intended to help some friends in the spread of Islam over here, had given me more than what I wish to get. Allah had given me the wisdom on how to urbanize the rural by making the urban rural.

(5) My making urban rural is a concept of developing the local warisan into the urban built with a view of empowering the local to fit and sustainably strive into the urban socio-economies. The rural migrant, need to be facilitated to the best to be able to strive and live an urban living. Accordingly, the urban built should favor the rural heritage as its key development component to make the city more local and thus would turn the city into a much unique and pleasant working, living and recreating place. We must build a city within our socio-cultural seeting. Thus, in the simplest term, we must make our cities to locally cultured modern living. In the phrase of Allah, He had said, He loves diversity for diversities lies his Almighty. Thus it is not only stupid for us, to go against His divine natural law of creation, such an act is definitely is amounting to challenging His wish.

(6) In Perth, the Freementle Fish Market is something that many Malaysians visited and never missed every time they visited Perth. While the Freementle Fish Market in say 1950s may look as the Sebauh Bazaar of Bintulu today, yet even in 2017, Freementle kept the tradition of its 1950s, but Sebauh in 2050, may turn into alien to the local. Thus, interestingly, will Malaysians coming to Kuala Lumpur be having keen interest to visit Pasar Selanyang or even Chow Kit Road Market? What about the foreign tourists? I doubt. Why? Today the Indonesian, Bangladesh and Pakistani probably are the main players to dirty and mess up these places. Definitely Malaysians love to have a look at Kundasang and even Brinchang, Cameroon Highland Night Market, but again the issue is to what satisfaction as compare if say visiting Tasmania Fish Harbour or even say any of the American Flea Market? In Kuching, the removal of Gambier Wet Market and the construction of the Pasar Satok, how much indeed it had generated the far reaching economic spillover effect? Yes of course the same question can be posed onto if the old Gambier Wet Market had never been demolished and turned into dry waterfront. I say, our Kuching Waterfront is  dry because I don't quite seeing the natural happening there. My question is not a plain sailing issue. My point is, the development of the new Pasar Satok, indeed had taken away the key element to the people liking of Kuching. In everyday normal life, how much excitement do people gain from strolling our present dry waterfront? Indeed I recall, I did put up a proposal on how the second kilometer of the Kuching Waterfront should be developed ie as the people places of creativity and innovation but was pushed aside by the then Chief Minister.  The Perth Freementle Fish Market, if one care to study the details, all is about a place for the locals to present and sell their creativity and innovation. Nothing is great about kiwi and baramundi, but the creativity of the Frementle operators that made the tourist to be crazy about these products. Thus, it was the Government role to enhance such place so much so their creativity and innovation becoming international. Gambier Wet Market was demolished, developed into dry waterfront which doesn't triggering much spinning changes to Jalan Gambier, Carpenter and Indian Street and thus never bringing greater and sustainable growth to Kuching. Even worst, the people across the river whom used to trade at Gambier Wet Market were displaced and don't know what happen to them now.

(7) The Malays being Muslim by convenient, ie having the Islamic faith not by the real understanding of the roots of the faith, so much so, they never bother to understand among others the rationales why at Muhammad SAW and his four close disciples times, they really worked hard to make the Muslim to trade in the Bazaar that they built close to the Nabawi Mosque. A Bazaar close to the Mosque. Muhammad SAW, Abu Bakar and Umar Al Khataab in particular, took their times to stroll the market and ensure and even taught the traders on how to trade fairly and properly.  Taib, demolished the Gambier Wet Market to clean up the Sarawak river waterfront to make the water clean. Well logical. I greatly support such an effort. But what indeed is the real truth? The Astana and the present DUN Building I would say is the main factor. Accordingly, later the Merdeka Palace Mall factor did come in. Taib was a futuristic thinker, yes I agree but to a certain level, his though indeed had given rise to many Bumis disadvantages. To me his futuristic thinking was always mixed up with the capitalist interest. Indeed, the river can be clean, the Astana, DUN Complex and even the Golden bridge and the City Floatting Mosque, all can nicely be blended with a waterfront that could generate active socio-economically enterprises which in turn enhance and diversify the income of the locals.  Kuching waterfront stopped at making Kuching clean yet not happening. In SAW era, he made his City to be a happening place for the good of the Ummah from all angles. He cared both the spiritual and physical needs of his Ummah.

(8) Indeed, people had forgotten to the fate of the people settling at Pulau Babi in Sibu in the 1960s. People also had forgotten to the wealth ownership of the people along the present Bintulu river front. Definitely, people had also forgotten to what economic fate have the people living along the Miri and Bintulu seafront which are now being developed by not people bothering capitalist. The past leadership, be whatever their basis, indeed had made lots of mistake to the disadvantage of the Bumis. In the urge to develop a city, in the past, the Bumis were always being marginalize and pushed out of the core. Well, the pushed out Bumis may now be living a much better condition, but economically the were made to be backward so much so, to them their economic racing finishing line is a mobile target which to exhausted they can never catchup. The present leadership and all the professional, even the the overall Malays, they must have the gut and will to improve on all these. We must see sustainable economic growth from a very different angle views. Muhammad SAW took Islam to its best growth by the basic strategy of Ummah empowerment. He always take the interest of the Ummah into serious calculation and consideration in whatever he was doing. To me if we want a baraqah effort translated into sustainable economic growth, then let take the people interest to succinct within all our development initiatives.

(9) We can sort of displace the rich and capable people to wherever we like, definitely they will survive and even prosper better. Again if we look at the west, the rich and famous, love to be in the rural area with all sort of castles and mansion style living. They love the rural healthy environment. They didn't mind to travel by trains and buses to town to work and vice versa.  Definitely, their living styles are supported by the State equitably. In the case of Kuching for example, we should be able to turn Serian, Kota Samarahan, Bau, Lundu and even Sematan as the seclusive areas for the have, as long as we are
willing to provide them with the related support facilities. In the west, the poorer are facilitated to be in the cities. They are given all the chances to be great. They are housed nearest to the centers of employment. The poorer are equally taken care off especially with regard to all the basic amenities and support services. In such, both the urban and rural sector are well develop to accommodate for the continuous growth of the Nation. The west adopted a better way of defining a nation. Their concept of a nation to me is equivalent to the Ummah and Umat of Islam. For Sarawak in particular, of course such an idea sound unpractical, but as I said, we never want to give unpractical idea a chance so much so, all through our lives, nothing new is happening. Things are running que serra serra from the day we are born until we rotten to earth.  Indeed, unpractical ideas are not really unpractical, just that our politic is immature and we can't see beyond our normal norms. In this Country, we love to segregate politic by geography, racial and religion. We denied what Allah had said, He created everything for everybody to benefit. Even Islam, a lots love to make Islam as exclusive. The Malays are behaving equal to Jews in making Islam exclusive to them. In Malaysia, ones don't come back to Islam but converted to be Malay. They are behaving no different than the Jews whom made Judaism as exclusively theirs, despite Allah had made it clear, Islam is for all and do not follow the footsteps of the Jews.

(10) My thought of uplifting Kg Sinong-Masjid and even Jepak in Bintulu is by means of turning their living places as urban-rural setting. How could the day of weaving, fishing, belacan making, joget etc could be brought back into the modern urban living so much so our urban development is strongly local. Definitely, our leisure living style signifies by santai, bergelumok, ngupi, berloyar, kayor-kayor, peleseran, etc should be facilitate to such the modernity ie the IT-world will enhance and transform those into income sources.   The west indeed, study these people psychology and appreciate those in a way that they later defined as fine modern chracters, yet we look down at those as nothing. With such interest, I would believe our local creativity could be sustained and even advance, thus imparting sustainable economic filtering and advancing effects. Accordingly, taking into account the profit driven interest of the corporate entities I hope to come up with a Plan that not only the capitalists are happy to invest, but most important, the people will be able to generate the best creativity for them to sell and even further develop their tradition as key Bintulu attractiveness. As per today, Bintulu is being developed as a place where people eat and shit only that had created lots of distress and frustration. It is not a place where people live, work, develop and recreate, a place where diversity matter for the better strenght and harmony. Is Shaa Allah after making some discourse with some government officials, community leaders and even social and political activists during my 24-26 July revisit to Bintulu, gave me some ideas on making Bintulu a good place to live, work, develop and recreate May Allah give me all the wisdom to take every good heart capitalist to be socio-capitalist.

Kota Kinablu, Sabah- Bintulu, Sarawak
22-27 July, 2017


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