My wife mentioned about going to Damai Laut, if she could be back in time after a round at the estate. Actually, just over an hour away from Batu Gajah, making a trip there is no big deal.
On our way, she mentioned she fancied the 'mee sua' cooked in red-coloured rice wine at a restaurant in Ayer Tawar, as recommended by a friend. At just Rm6 a bowl for one person, it was really cheap and nice. Seeing the limited choice of tim sum freshly made and steamed, I ordered a 'loh mai kai' (steamed glutinous rice with chicken meat) and two plates of 'siew mai' to try out, and even a 'sang yoke pau' as we were about to leave. All the items were agreeable to me, especially without the thirsty aftertaste common with those mass-produced ones in coffee shops.
Upon reaching Damai Laut, she said it is still early and after a heavy meal, she would like to take a stroll along the beach next to Swiss Garden Hotel. It so happened we took the route which took us past the hotel swimming pool and saw a security guard putting up a notice. I assumed it was the usual one about that section being closed to the public. But as we got closer, I read the warning 'Tsunami Alert' and asked him about it. He said they got news about the alert at 4 pm and found it necessary to warn hotel guests about it. Suddenly, images of people who were swept by high waves which came suddenly panicked us. As I walked past a young family man sitting on a deck chair using his mobile phone, I asked him if he was aware about the alert. He said, he got the news from his phone and he was watching for further development. He thanked me for asking.
We decided to leave the premises and to get out of the area which we had to pass, especially the mangrove swamps, in case it got flooded and we would be stranded if we could not get out in time. This is the problem with tsunami warning. Either you are right or you are wrong. But for not listening to a warning, many people had paid with their lives. It is better to be safe than sorry... but by then it could have been too late even to feel sorry!