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Friday, September 24, 2010

The Golden Palm Tree

An Extract from "The Making of the Golden Palm Tree", author Michael Chua

The world population has risen steeply, since the Second World War, due to the conquest of many diseases, increased food production and improved sanitation and hygiene. Alongside this population boom, came the impetus to develop houses, hospitals, schools, factories, etc to serve the increased population. This rapid urbanization in the last century has burned a trail of damages to the environment which we now see is causing climate change and mayhem in some nations.

While we need to continue to develop life supporting wealth to humankind, it is timely that development has to be done in tandem with nature and perpetually balanced with nature to achieve continued harmony and prosperity.

Harmony with nature is of paramount importance as humankind is part of nature and therefore ought to flow with the pace and rhythm of nature. It is amid the natural rhythm and balance that we find bliss.

The Golden Palm Tree has funded the Sepang Gold Coast Environmental Interpretive Centre for the protection of wild life around Sepang. Even before the construction of the resort, it has already contributed to the cleaning up and replanting programme of mangrove samplings along the (river) Sungai Sepang. These mangrove plants have been around for thousands of years. Mangrove swamps protect our coastal line at Sepang Gold Coast and also forms an important habitat for biodiversity.

The rivers at Sepang are now clean from debris and flotsams, thanks to the hard work of the boatman, our guide and the hired cleaners. It is through involving the common people in the cleaning process that the environment can be protected.

I asked the guide at the mangrove river boat ride how he would urge people to protect the environment and he said that he would ask people to treat the environment as their home. “How would you like it if other people come to your home and destroy your home? You wouldn’t like that, so do the same for the wild life at Sepang. As the environment is beautiful, it will attract more tourists to the place and bring prosperity to your business…”

It is through young men like this guide that more will step forward to protect these mangrove swamps and coast lines, which are the habitat of many creatures like the otters, sea eagles, kingfishers, egrets, mud skippers and the ubiquitous colourful blue swimmer crabs. You can see these wonderful creatures and more when you hop on the mangrove river ride. Then, you will also have the chance to plant a mangrove sapling by the river bed and do your part in protecting the environment.
The Golden Palm Tree is designed as an ecologically friendly resort with energy saving insulation building materials, water treatment plants and building the sea villas on raised stilt platforms with minimum disturbance to marine life. The raised platforms have become an artificial reef offering shelter to the marine life beneath. Fishermen at Sepang Gold Coast have said that there are now more fishes in the sea since the resort is constructed.

All these environmentally friendly installations added significant costs to the resort and savings can only be realised after many years. This means that ecologically sustainable development essentially requires long term commitment.
Besides the infrastructure, the other half of ecological sustainability is the service and training to hire locally and scout for local farms as their food suppliers.

As a result, the local cottage industries are now bracing themselves to get ready for more tourists. The local famous Seafood Bak-Kut-Teh (seafood pork rib soup) is already serving two bus loads of tourists every other day. Others like a local bird nest farm has decided to set up a showroom and visitor centre for tourists to understand and appreciate the process of harvesting bird nests and the health benefits of consuming them. They are also clearing parking lots for anticipated tour coaches coming to their showroom. Local fruit farms, fish, prawn and crab farms that are already suppliers to the resort’s restaurants will also see increased demands when Sepang Gold Coast ‘food paradise’ is completed. This will bring you the best chefs and restaurants in the region, so that you can wine and dine in the idyllic settings of the sea.
In the world of large corporations and institutional finance, cottage industries offer us a softer and gentler side of commerce in a more human scale, where products can be designed and packaged closer to the customers’ tastes and lifestyles.
Together with the resort, the restored environment and these cottage industries, the heritage of the people in the Klang Valley can be conserved for the many generations to come and enjoy.

For other articles of the Golden Palm Tree, click here.

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