Sunday, July 17, 2011

flooding: past and present

in my younger days, when it flooded, we accepted it as something natural. it was bound to happen, especially during the north-east monsoon season. in fact, we, the children, would all be looking forward for it to happen. during the monsoon season especially, when it poured continuously for at least half an hour, we would be looking out for all the tell-tale signs.

first, the colour of the running water in the drains would change to that of 'kopi susu'. then the low-lying area would start to fill up quickly as the water level could be seen creeping up by the minute. the water from the smaller drains would all be rushing to dump into the big drain that ran through the heart of the kampong.

when the rain had stopped, it seemed like the whole kampong, especially the men folks, would be out in full force to survey the situation. the younger ones would be enjoying themselves splashing water at one another or just wading or trying to swim in the water.

i wonder what youngsters think of when it rains and floods these days. in those bygone days, a flood meant swimming for free. the field, the drain, the road and sometimes the house became a playground, a swimming pool.

and we never thought of blaming anyone for the floods.

these days when it floods, it makes the news. people perceive it as something that is out of the ordinary; something that should not have happened at all. that is why they call it a flash flood.

i think something like a flood, which is a natural occurence, is sometimes beyond the control of us humans.

a flood is no more thought of as fun. i do not see children swimming in the flooded field or even wading in the water.

people start blaming the authorities for not being able to prevent flooding. however, we do have the right to get upset if they build a big dam and tell us that it will help to regulate the flow, thus giving the impression that flooding should be a thing of the past.


Lam Chun See said...

As people's standard of living improve, their expectations also increase. This is only natural. For example, in the early years, breakdown in tv broadcasting was quite normal. Likewise bus breakdowns.

Anyway life is very different now. The consequences of bus breakdown or a flood today is much more serious in a highly urban and crowded society as compared to a rural one.

Lam Chun See said...

Your area (Thomson/Novena) was not very flood-prone was it?

fr said...

In my schooldays I also experienced floods in my neighbourhood. Sometimes the water reached knee high.

I think there will still be foods if there are intensive torrential rains even with improved drainage system.

yg said...

chun see,
that stretch of thomson road, where the novena is, did not flood so often but for us living in the kampong, a flood was something we learnt to live with. it happened a few times every year.

yes, it's true that our expectations are different now compared to those of the earlier years.

yg said...

it was not only kampong areas that got flooded, even those who lived in old housing estates, like tasek utara also experienced floods. however, those who lived above the ground level were always safe from the flood water.

yes, it happens in every country. no way, we can overcome natural disaster completely.