Monday, December 13, 2004

A Green Desert

My thoughts lately is back to my homeland, especially the current state my country is in. With two huge typhoons devastating the nation, it is sad and tragic that our once green archipelago is now virtually barren and desolate.

In strong contrast, here I am working overseas in the midst of the greenest desert I have seen. Arriving here in Febraury 1994, I gazed down from the plane's window to see, for the first time, the boundless Arabian desert. Gazillion masses of minute sands with colours ranging from dark to light brown and light to dark red, depending on the city (also called emirate) you are in. I had this vision of a huge tent where I will be working in, with camels parked around its perimeter and sand touching everything, everywhere.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a thriving metropolis with luscious greenery and a very clean environment. Without thinking, you can imagine yourself to be in any other thriving metropolitan city - without a desert. You have to drive off to the desert if you want to be in the desert. Inland - it is concrete but with much planning because the concrete is laid out with a lot of green.

It is a fact that the UAE government spends millions of dirhams a year to constantly water and care for their plants. Every street is lined with trees and shrubs on both sides plus shrubs and flowering plants in the islands between the lanes. Here in Al Ain, the city is full of roundabouts of varied sizes, that are unique flower gardens in themselves - plus a piece of art or two in the middle.

If a country struggling with water resource especially during the hot summer months can keep their land this green, how much more can a country that has rains half the year and a land that will nurture anything that's sown in it?

We've been doing the easy and the quick for far too long. Perhaps it is high time we start doing what is difficult but right.

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