Monsoon shows the sterner stuff Terengganu people are made of

I have been much amused by my worried friends from the west coast calling in to find out how I am coping with the monsoon and the massive floods. Pahang is in chaos at the moment, hence many would naturally assume Terengganu is much worse.

Of course, this is naturally true. At the end of the year, Terengganu and Kelantan would be the only two states that face the full force of the monsoon. But thanks to climate change, the weather pattern is altering.

It’s odd. One would assume that the constant beating from the monsoon would have the people wisen up and move to the highlands. Surprisingly, they couldn’t give a damn about running up a hill or any of that frenzy nonsense.

I look at the people and wonder: “What’s with all that acting tough?” Plainly, the people would say that it’s only just a few months. Just suck it up and laugh at it.

They would rather stomach the mayhem caused by the monsoon than be bothered and troubled to climb up a hill. In other words, the people sedately decided to adapt. And their choice to remain and face the monsoon has caused the people of Terengganu to naturally evolve.

Evolution in this sense does not mean that nature has given the people of Terengganu bigger lungs, flippers, made them taller or have a tummy to help them float. Evolution in this context refers to the weather having a big influence on the lifestyle of the people of Terengganu and the orientation of the state and district administrations.

With the monsoon occurring annually, nature has designed the people of Terengganu to become hardy souls with an enormous heart to help one another. They open their doors to strangers at times of crisis and share what limited resources they have with others. They look at the cup half full, grateful for the monsoon as it cleanses their living environment and celebrate its arrival with children playing in the rain.

We see evolution at work among the state and district administrations as well. Weeks before the arrival of the monsoon, drains and rivers will all be cleaned and widened to ensure there won’t be any clogging that could possibly lead to flash floods. The civil defence is mobilised and volunteer groups invested.

After the flood subsides, financial assistance makes its way.

Now, it doesn’t matter whether the state is ran by PAS or Barisan Nasional, or whether the administrator is experienced or ill-qualified – the arrival of the monsoon will always magically have the person-in-charge becoming more inclusive, competent and adequate than usual.

However, occasionally evolution is caught out. Like the great floods in 2014.

It doesn’t matter how much Terengganu prepares; when the monsoon goes mental and the high ocean tides don’t seem to fall, towns like Kemaman become giant swimming pools with occasional sights of crocodile crossings. People have to be evacuated to the high lands and when the flood subsides, return to their muddy homes, only to do it all over again the very next year. Tough bunch.

I don’t think this is merely the conditioning I mentioned above. There must be something in their blood. Something vested that gives them the strength to ride out monsoon’s constant beating, outlive the catastrophe and linger close to the sea. Perhaps the ancient folklore told by old fishermen has its truth …

One monsoon, many years ago, before man invented the toilet seat and found any use for oil, an Atlantean landed in the wet and gloomy wastelands of Terengganu and thought: “Hmmm. The constant rain makes the water less salty, the waves are fun, there are no evil sharks trying to eat me and the sea is full of fish, so I reckon I’ll stick around.”

And that’s actually the best explanation on why people from Terengganu are absolutely calm, in peace with the monsoon, and the men looking much like Jason Momoa.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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