08 July 2010

The Sinking Tip of Borneo

FOUR years ago I responded to the call of many people about how a new place was discovered in Sabah, in a place that was called Simpang Mengayau which was later famously known as the Tip Of Borneo.

Simpang Mengayau was like all over the local newspapers, travel mags, tourism websites and even featured in many TV programs about new places of interest in Sabah. Needless to say, Simpang Mengayau had become a hot spot for everybody that was looking for a new and fresh choice for a weekend getaway in this gifted land.
While I was quite impressed by the the pieces of rock that jotted out into the South China Sea at the so-called Tip of Borneo and the efforts that the Sabah Tourism Board and the relevant authorities had had put in to make it more easily reach-able by everybody, it wasn't the rocks that had impressed me most. No no.
It was the beach of which I was later told was called Kulambu Beach.
Stretching out into a few kilometers to form a bay of white sandy beach, it was simply the most beautiful beach (sand) that I'd ever seen in my entire life. I might exaggerate about certain things but this one here is truthfully what I felt and thought about this our very own Kulambu Beach.
The sand of beach at the Kulambu beach was nothing like any other beach that I've ever had set my foot onto before.
It was so white and so porously fine that stepping onto it was like stepping onto a spread of rice flour. Again, the truth.
I’ve been to many world renowned beaches including some in Phuket of Thailand.
And the Melbournian’s pride St. Kilda’s Beach.
And the world surfing paradise Bondi Beach in Sydney.
And the stretch of sandy beaches that I’ve read over and over again in travel magazines to be some of most beautiful beaches in the world – the ones that they have in Gold Coast.
But in all the times that I came to these beaches, I always found myself muttering : Hmmmm. OK la.. but I think the sand at the Kulambu Beach is still the best.
I mean, seriously. You can always drive over to Kulambu Beach and see it for yourself. Kulambu Beach is supposedly one of the best gifts that God has given to Sabah. It should be something that the whole population of Sabah and Malaysia as a whole can be proud of.
And stepping into the water in Kulambu Beach had proved to be even more enchanting to me. I could feel the sand 'evoporate' under the palms of my feet like it molded up against them and I could feel my feet digging their way deeper into the sandy seabed if I stayed standing at where I stood for a few minutes.
Ohh, and I don't have to say about how blue and clear the water was.
It was just so crystal clear that the sandy sea bottom seemed to glisten beneath the waves under the tropical sun of Sabah. Seriously, KULAMBU BEACH WAS JUST SO BEAUTIFUL!
BUT… that was like 4 years ago. Returning to the Tip of Borneo and later to the Kulambu Beach for the Sunset Music Fest recently, I was totally shocked and horrified and in the meantime deeply deeply saddened to see how the beach that I had fallen in love with 4 years ago had been immensely spoilt by the existence of so much garbage. Ladies and gentlemen, this is how Kulambu Beach looks today..
It really was like a jab of sharp glass or something in my stomach. I could never understand what kind of stupidity there was in the heads of our people nowadays.
I was instantly thrown back into the macabre realization of the fact that we are still very much a third-world country with a third-world mentality whereby the beauty of something can only be seen when there is money sticking out from it.
But hell, who would wanna spend money to come to this spoilt beach now?
People, tourists are known to judge the beauty of a place by looking at the existence of garbage in it! And they for sure stay away from places with sampah.
I couldn’t help but questioning the relevance of the existence of a police station if all they were paid for was to sip over their cups of coffee with the full view of the South China Sea every day. To my understanding, if Kulambu Beach is a declared public property, isn’t littering within the area is an offence to the law?
And I don’t understand how the systems were working in the heads of those people who had green-lighted the widening of the beach by removing the hundred years old casuarinas trees that were once there to protect the coastal land.
You see, people just don’t get satisfied with what the nature has to offer to them nowadays. They think they are smart by building all the roads and walk paths and everything when the nature has its own way of keeping the eco-system going. What they did had spoilt it and even worse, these people just don’t give a damn shit. All they ever care about is – project done, money comes in.
Looking at how they  were spoiling the beach, I wondered if they had done a thorough research whether or not whatever it was they were putting in would affect the geotechnical and coastal settings of the beach in a long term. I DOUBT IT. The beach seemed to have narrowed instead of widened. And it has only been a few years on.
You see how a first world country would do in widening their beaches.
The erection of confinement or sand entrapment on the beach is actually a smart way of providing a lateral spreading to the beach through almost a natural process.
And let's see what a third-world country would do. They simply brought in some excavators and remove the soil along the edge of the beach together with the casuarina trees along the way for a fast widening. 
Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan, we all want a fast result but nature simply doesn’t work that way. The rule is simple, we don’t go against the force of nature, we work with it. Otherwise, things would never go right.
It really was so saddening to see how a beautiful place like Kulambu Beach would be joining the likes of the sunken Pantai Dalit in Tuaran or Sampah Port Dickson Beach in Negeri Sembilan and actually many other spoilt beaches all over Malaysia. We have already spoiled too many beaches.
We should question what we can do about it now before it is too late. Remember, we didn't inherit this world from our ancestors but we borrowed it from our children.



aud said...

Yes, Kulambu took my breath away, many years ago teh first time I was there. haven't been there since last year. Pity what's happening to it.

Kuala Penyu also has beautiful sandy stretches. Gorgeous!

Murphy said...

Hi Jipp, I think that is Kalampunian Beach. I strongly agree with you that it is one of the perfect beaches in Sabah.

And who was that idiot who came out the idea of widening the beach?! this is as silly as pulling a growing seedling every day and hope that it will grow taller and faster. Or it's just some friendly contractors who want to get rich by proposing more unnecessary projects to destroy the environment?

Kelvin said...

Wat can we say?
Humans are utterly stupid.

JIPP said...

Aud: I'd love to check out what Kuala Penyu has to offer for beaches someday now that you've mentioned it. I hope they don't have the same fate as this Kulambu Beach does.
Murpy: Ohh, thanks for correction. I probably mis-heard it or worse mis-read it. Didn't do further research. :-) But then, I made my points clear. Really2 sad and I hope something would be done to save it before it is too late.
Kelvin: Yeah, sad but true isn't it? :-(

**~Pu-3~** said...

Daym~ this is awfully sad :( I love going to the beach in sabah, i told everyone else there's nothing like it! But knowing how human destroyed it in later years makes me mad! Why some people very irresponsible ah?

JIPP said...

yaa Pu3. Some ppl don't really know how to appreciate what we've got here. It really is said. I hope enforcement will be buffed up before it is too late.

Lizeewong said...

No wonder the pics look different..Such a shame...

Anyway Jipp, you looked so goody-goody in the 1st pic. Your hair ba hehehe :)

Ellen said...

I think Creation has given Sabah and the island of Borneo great many gifts to be treasured. It's just that its inhabitants have some very strange ideas about what is worth cherishing and protecting. My very uneducated guess seems to suggest certain factions/individuals are more concerned about keeping their pockets well fed.

JIPP said...

Liz: Hehe. My younger days. :-)
Ellen: Yuppp, so saddened I am by the fact that many Sabahans still think they way they did 20 years ago. They shud really be taught how to treat the nature with more respect. And your 'uneducated guess' is certainly right, it happens all the time here in Sabah. What a shame.

luke said...

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