While at Kuala Kangsar , I and a few friends spent two nights at a resthouse by the Perak River. Roughly 200 meters away from our balcony was Sultan Abdul Jalil Bridge.

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved

The concrete bridge is different from those modern bridges of stainless steels and wires that are so prevalent nowadays. It’s a breath of fresh air.Kuala Kangsar has another bridge farther upstream. The name is Sultan Iskandar Bridge and it’s made out of steel. If I got my fact right, the concrete bridge was built because the locals complained that the steel bridge was too far away from the town.

Across the river is a village called Sayong. Before the newer bridge was constructed, those that planned to travel by land from Kuala Kangsar to Sayong, or Sayong to the town or to and fro had to suffer one huge U-turn with kilometer as the proper unit of measurement. Walking was simply not a good idea. Therefore as late as year 2000, boats still played an important mean of transportation between Kuala Kangsar and Sayong.

With the concrete bridge, I observed that the river’s role as a mean of transportation has diminished. Not completely though.

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved

p/s – last year, I said I expect Malaysia to see another bout of haze in 2006. Well, Indonesia promises that we won’t:

Indonesia promises this year will be less hazy

Sat May 27, 11:36 PM ET

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Indonesia has said the choking haze that annually blankets parts of Southeast Asia will be reduced this year as it cracks down on oil palm plantations that clear land by burning.

Indonesia’s Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono said authorities would enforce a 2004 law that imposes stiff penalties on plantations that burn land, a practice largely blamed for contributing to the haze.

I’m skeptical. Especially that enforcement part. But if Indonesia needs Malaysia’s help, by all means, please ask. I don’t want another “no thank you but we can handle this by ourselves” again.

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