KUCHING, May 29: The experience of Covid-19 and Movement Control Order (MCO) is a timely reminder for people of the need to be good stewards over the gifts of land that Sarawak is blessed with.
Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian emphasised that people may have taken the gift of nature for granted including the important roles of farmers who have worked hard on their land to be rewarded with good harvests.
“They are the ones who can still feed their families when the people in the cities are faced with empty supermarket shelves.
“When the world turned upside down and Covid-19 caused havoc in the food chains, we realised that even if we have money, we can still go hungry if there is no food to buy,” he said in a statement today.
As such for this upcoming Gawai festival, Baru urged people to make conscious decisions by placing more emphasis on sowing good seeds to reap bountiful harvests each year so that they will be better prepared when the next pandemic hits.
“Sarawak is bestowed with plenty of lands and jungle crops which are still readily available in some areas if one cares to work hard enough. In other areas where the land is now covered with oil palm plantations and the rivers are polluted and silted by logging activities, the people are not so lucky,” he said.
Baru, who is also Selangau MP, pointed out that Covid-19 has brought alive the real meaning of ‘Our Land is Our Life’.
“When Malaysians realised that Covid-19 had arrived on our shores and a lockdown was anticipated, the first thought in the minds of many was to head home to their kampungs.
“Home is what tugs at our heartstrings. Home is where we feel safe and comfortable. Home is where we feel a connection to the land,” he said.
He shared about a video entitled ‘Stay Safe in the Forest’ which has been circulating online telling the story of an Indonesian native who narrated that his people retreated back to their homes in the forests to isolate themselves from the virus.
The Indonesian man said that by doing so, they also lessened the burden on the government of providing food for them as they had rice from their harvests, vegetables and animals on their farms and also fish from the nearby rivers to sustain them.
Urging people to look out for the less fortunate and share their harvests with them, he however also advised people to be prudent in spending as the economy is unstable with many countries certain to experience recession.
“During this MCO period, I have longed to be back in my mountain village to enjoy the birds, fresh air and my paddy fields.
“Home is where we would like to be this Gawai, but we cannot make the journey, for the safety of our loved ones there. It is a sacrifice, but one that we must make willingly. Wherever we are, our village homes and our loved ones are in our hearts. Let us celebrate in our own way this year, safe in our homes away from home,” he added.—DayakDaily