While people of ancient china believe strongly in ancestral worship, living next to a cemetery is considered inauspicious; thus the paramount reasoning behind the growing grouses of Ipoh Garden residents.
Initially, residents from Ipoh Garden East who were not informed of the fact that a columbarium was going to be built in their housing area. Having found out about it, they protested vehemently against the said construction.
Numerous residential protest were held in the housing estate to bring to light their plight over the past month. However, as the atrhourities keep stalling on a final decision, the residents find that the area in which the columbarium was initially decided upon is being cleared before the approval of local authorities was acquired.
Having flyers on almost every gate of every house in the residential area, speaks volumes about their silent resolute. The clearing of the land area, caused another uproar and the residents gathered again to protest against the building of the columbarium.
Gathered with residents in a local restaurant in Ipoh, YB Wong KAh Woh in his demonstrative speech said that he has spoken to the Datuk Bandar Datuk Roshidi Haslim dring the Raya holidays and was promised a reply by the 5th of September.
Agustine Anthony, resident and lawyer, thanked resident for their tremendous support. He reiterated that this is no longer a fight against the building of the columbarium, it is indeed a fight against the voice of the people being disregarded. He said “because the of the land clearing, this is a complete and utter disrespect for the people who live here.”
The residents are predominantly upset that their sensitivities were not taken into account. “We only want to ensure the quality of life and peace of mind,” said another vocal resident.
Dr. Goh, while taking centre-stage said “There is no doubt in my heart, that there should not be a columbarium in this area. We understand that some day we will die and someday someone will need to bury us, but we object to the location.” He pleaded that the authorities listen to them as “for them it is a stroke of a pen, for us, it is a change of life.”
The doctor called the situation an injustice. “It is not about the drop in the value of our property, for me, property value is only money, it is not the main thing. The main thing is the quality of life, the environmental effect, the lives of people changing.” He claims not being ready for that sort of change.
Anther resident living in the area since 1985, lamented that the close knit residents used to once jog in the area every morning and evening. They used to be merry as there was so much to appreciate around the peaceful neighborhood. Now, things have changed as the residents are residents a perpetually unhappy about the looming reminder of death in the form of a columbarium about to be built so close to home.
Video by GV Shan, Citizen Journalist