Thoughts on the Life-companion of Man


[dropcap font=”0″]M[/dropcap]y house is in Hlaing Thar Yar where people started to reside in about (1989). It is just a two-storey building in a small yard. A young mango tree is in the front of the house with an areca tree on the right side. Right before the house outside the street is a big Badum (Indian almond) tree yielding a wide shade invaluable indeed in the summer. On the other side of the street grow a row of Kokko (albizzia lebbek) trees, a trace of my Grandpa’s contributions. They number no more than five or six. The mango tree within the compound started to fruit this year. Untimely rainfall and frost later reduced the number of fruits from about 60 to some 20. Almost all the fruits are withered by the scorching sun. Year after year, Myanmar is experiencing the increasing intensity of heat, which is reportedly caused by climate change. It is said that people have everything to do for climate change.
Let’s go back to my mango tree. Though young, it yields enough shade to cover the compound. At the foot of it, mother has grown Jasmine bushes, Aloe Vera and Slipper Orchids. Beside them is a big plastic tank to collect rain water. Rain water is mother’s favorite to wash my white clothes. Only in the rainy season, my white clothes become as clean as they should be. For, the water in Hlaing Thar Yar contains high percentage of sulphur and iron. The water turns dingy yellow and a thin, harsh and rusty layer comes to the surface not long after water is pumped. No lather comes out however branded detergents or soaps are tried. No method really works in filtering and distilling this water. Such yellowish rusty color is stained on the cloth. My mango tree tries to survive though it has to drink such yellowish water. It always gives shade under which mother washes clothes with a piece of cloth put on her head as the turban. Its shade keeps the whole compound away from the intense sun rays. It is really cool.
The other day, one of my long-separated friends dropped in on me. We had a long and non- stop chat that at last harbored at Football Matches. The entire world’s favorite Premier League and other Leagues are mostly authorized by the official broadcaster SkyNet in Myanmar. Therefore, I bought a Skynet Satellite and installed it at home. To keep myself from being busy, I installed it near the eaves of the front roof. The satellite had to face southwest to receive the proper polarization. Still it could catch no good signal as covered by one of the mango branches in the front. After a long pause, I had to chop the branch off although I did not want to.
The spot the mango branch used to cover is the same spot where mother washes my clothes. Now, it can no longer be as cool as before. The hot and sharp sun rays will hit directly at the spot. The place can be saved from the sun with the use of waterproof canvas or plastic sheet. But neither surely is as cool and bright as the branch once is. In fact, I should have installed at the centre of the roof, which would save the branch and promise better signal. Now, the shelter for mother disappears because of me. I unintentionally destroyed it. It is not only for mother, but also for all of us and for all the living beings around, natural and invaluable shade. How long do I have to wait to regain its shade? A month? A year ? (or) The whole lifetime? I simply do not know. I am really sorry when I think of it in this way. It is utterly my recklessness.
Until recently I rode to Phyarpone in Irrawaddy Division on my motorbike. I took the TwanTay-Ma U Bin road. Trees on the roadside were found to be chopped on the top including the main branch. It was known to be done by District Municipal workers at the request of District Electricity Distribution Unit. After a few enquiries, the chopped branches are sold as firewood to local dealers and some large and straight tree trunks to the Sawmill. We local commuters are seared by the scorching sun for want of shady trees on the side of the road. I have no idea if chopping the trees recklessly is proper or legal. Trees prevent people from severe weather conditions bringing about ecological balance. Our biosphere utterly depends on the metabolism, death, and recycling of plants, especially trees. Their vast trunks and root systems store carbon dioxide that living beings exhale and release oxygen into the atmosphere. Such knowledge can be found even in the Natural Science Textbook prescribed for the Middle School Level. Fruit trees and other crops can provide food and twigs; branches and fallen trees can also be used as fuel. A Myanmar saying also goes ‘’Every creeper or plant or tree is medicinal”. But our people turn blind eye to these benefits of trees and fell them to their own benefits. Such act is also there in downtown Yangon. Most of the shady branches of the trees are trimmed for the same reason that they get entangled with the cable lines. Pedestrians have to await the bus in the hot sun. I wonder why the policy makers and planners do not turn to eco-friendly plans, for example- underground wiring. Myriad of suspicion arises from these acts about whether policies are actually to the welfare of the citizens and those policy makers are accountable.
What’s more, once I browsed the Google map just to see how my country looks like from aerial view in comparison with her neighbors. Along the borderline, green and fresh is the other side but reddish yellow plain with green spots dotted here and there is mine. These reddish yellow patches are resulted from deforestation. In recent months, local private papers told that large trucks were found to smuggle logs of teak almost every day. Once, a piece of awkward news came into my ear that thousands of acres of teak were felled by an infamous local company for the plantation of cassava plants (pa lo: pi nan) somewhere in Kachin State. In her book titled ‘’Mandalay Residents”, Ludu Daw Ama told a story of a certain tri-shaw wheeler called U Ngwe who grew more than 500 shady trees in Mandalay since about 1952. He was a typical philanthropist though poor and uneducated. He spent half of his life span in growing trees for people. Clearly, those opportunists mentioned above are no match to U Ngwe who will always be remembered in the name of
In a nutshell, there is no end to man’s creations and works that are against nature. They may be temporarily applicable. But, in the long run, they bring about incessant troubles and cravings. On the contrary, Nature is perfect providing convenience and content to everyone. If vast compound, shady trees and fresh air are available, no one would prefer air-conditioned rooms for all the time. In fact, men give way to their decay mostly out of their own creations. In my opinion, our country needs much education to the grassroots’ level for not recklessly chopping and felling our best companion, trees, to no purpose or on any arbitrary account. At the moment of writing this article, one of the Cree Indian Prophecies pops up in my mind. It is nothing but “Only when we have wiped everything out will we realize that Money cannot be eaten.”

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