What Ails Us?

Posted by M ws On Tuesday, July 24, 2012 8 comments
Honestly, I hate driving in Penang. It is strange how my friends overseas or from other parts of Malaysia wax lyrical about Penang but it is not as rosy as some want others to think. The truth of the matter is that the traffic problem in Penang HAS NOT BEEN SOLVED by both the past and present state governments. In fact, it appears that is has worsened and may worsen further once they finish constructing the second link and the tunnel project. Some boast about linking here and there but pray tell me the rationale behind chanelling MORE traffic to the island when the road system and poor infrastructure cannot support the population growth and the increase in the number of vehicles on the road.

With the bottleneck, traffic jams, faulty traffic lights, poor road systems, the absence of a structured development plan that does not jeopardise the quality of life of Penangites coupled with the lack of genuine concern for the social and physical impact of developments, is it any wonder that road rage is common today?

Penang has had to pay a heavy price for development. The faster pace of life and materialism has not bred civic consciousness or a caring spirit that stems from a heart that cares. Of course, there are organizations that practise charity etc but I am talking about being civil not just to friends but also to strangers. I am talking about the ability to be considerate to fellow citizens, to friends and even family members. For leaders, it should be the willingness to descend from their delusional state that they are paragons of virtues come to bless us with development.  To me, the only development we need would be housing for the poor and homeless, not for foreigners who jack up the property prices by speculative practices.

An expat friend of mine who constantly lobbies with regards to environmental issues often laments about the sheer apathetic state that many seem to adopt - as long as it does not affect them personally, they will remain silent or indifferent. Worse still, there are those who speak out against those who voice their concerns and objections to development - accusing them of selfish desires to preserve their neighbourhood.

When I was in KL the week before, a friend related to  me how some from another Asian nation have become millionaires just by their speculative purchases. According to her, Mr A buys a house in Neighbourhood #1 by offering a price above market value. Thrilled they will sell. The neighbours are excited and hope their property will appreciate in value. So Mr A sends his accomplice to buy property # 2 in Neighbourhood # 1. The house owner resists and demands for an ever higher value. Then he sells and the domino effect comes into place. Subsequently, after making a few purchases, the foreigner then sells ALL the properties he bought in Neighbourhood #1, earns a hefty profit and makes a run for another neighbourhood and the whole cycle begins again. After two years, they return to their motherland as BILLIONAIRES while we have to pay through our nose for those properties.

Besides traffic jams, there is another Malaysian malaise. In many respects, I do not think the Net has blessed us with positive effects. Many remain in their comfort zones, hide behind anonymity, lambaste when they feel like it without considering the whole picture. The power of the click of the mouse seems to delude us from facing or even acknowledging reality squarely.

We can see selfishness in the way people park their cars, honk at others or even jump queue.

Today, I was the victim of two groups of road bullies. While waiting to pick my son from school, I was parked along the road and then came along this car filled with four ladies who wanted to turn into another road in the opposite direction. I thought I was being kindhearted when  I wound down my window to let them know that they were intending to turn into the EXIT road. And then all hell broke lose. The four ladies started scolding me and believe me, their faces were so distorted and contorted that the first thing that came to my mind was the witches in Shakespeare's "Macbeth". Then they happily turned into the other road with their what they heck I could not care less type of expressions on the faces. As long as they get to where they want, it does not matter who they hurt.

Then of course there are the 'users'. Users are those who love to use people to advance their agenda. Once there is no  more use of them in terms of need or if one used does not conform to their value/political system, these users are retired and put into cold storage and the poor victims will be left in the cold asking, "What did I do to deserve this?" When reality hits home that such unscrupulous and unfeeling beings exist, the pain and disappointment may be too great to bear for some but a piece of cake for the more resilient ones.

Let's not forget the sheep i.e. those who follow popular opinion and go on to give their inaugural lectures in coffee shop discussions when they themselves have done nothing else apart from yakity-yakking. All for show. All in the name for the desire for attention.

Sadly, malicious characters out to further their own agenda make use of such gullible characters leading them by the nose in all kinds of spins. Those who do research to find out more may unravel the truth. Those who do otherwise become pawns in the power game. Sadly, the latter think the former are barking up the wrong tree. Worse still are those positioned to shape public opinion in a mercenary manner. This is such a sorry state of affairs because with the decline in the quality and standard of education, it is likely that the electorate in the future may be more gullible. Some say - no way because information is now readily available. They could not be further from the truth. The harsh reality is that whilst we may have access to MORE information, how much is true, believable and sincere especially with regards to political issues?

I could go on and on and if you are wondering why I am in such a mood today, it is because I have bottled it up for so long and it took two road bullies to unleash the tigress in me in my blog to rant in this manner.

I am so angry with the state of affairs -especially with road bullies, selfish people, users etc that I wrote this post in 25 minutes without planning but plain hammering of the keyboard to rant. It took me four hours to cool down before I could start writing. Otherwise, I would have posted something around noon as I usually do.


Anyway, do share your responses, observations and solutions. Thanks! Have a nice day!

8 comments to What Ails Us?

  1. says:

    UP41 At ont time I liked to take photo of those parents who refused to q like everyone and jump q & cut into the lane when sending their children to school. Here are some example


    So don't let them get into you & spoiled yr day

  1. says:

    walla I'm now horribly terrified and will have to sleep shrouded under the blanket from now on.

    You see i was actually trying to youtube Deep Blue Sea starring Rachel Weisz but ended up watching snippets of the same title starring some super-smart sharks in a movie by the same director of Die Hard 2. Surfing is all so dangerous these days.

    Now if you're still blue (pun devilishly intended), why not take a peep at: http://is.gd/6qsdhy or if you're in ze mood to rekindle flame while recalling the price of cooking gas these days, how about http://is.gd/IGSIoQ ?

  1. says:

    walla The one thing i used to remember about THE island were those little colorful wall tiles that front those quaint link shop-lots. That they were of thai origin must probably explain why you used to see them in old places like Siam Road.

    Nowadays i can only remember the stall in Jelutong market where the lady sells fried fish with some spicy curry paste...or is it the other one at Pulau Tikus market where you can acar ...oh dear, could it even be yet another one at Chowrasta market where there's this pulut-ikan dish? Yummy tummy for dummy like me, eh?

  1. says:

    walla Ah i got it. It's the otak-otak at Supertanker.

    Foreign philistines may be forgiven for thinking THE island has a super-sized oil tanker marooned ON it in which brains are sold. For their information, and in the national interest of our tourism industry, otak-otak, as i vaguely recall now, is a scrumptious, spicy and peppery dish made of fish, eggs and herbs.

    Foodies will say it goes down nicely with the heavenly cendol at Penang Road (the road stall on the right and in front of the assam laksa stall in the corner cafe).

    Thinking of the mee rebus at the corner shop off the Pulau Tikus main road, i shall suspend violent disagreement but only momentarily.

    The only thing to think about these days, i reckon, is how does one get around to be at those places if the roads are constantly snarled?

    Read on.

  1. says:

    walla I guess there's a price to everything. In the case of Penang, development means congestion and denudation. What she's facing is what Singapore must have initially faced, later to give way to improvements made when enough funds had been accumulated. Perhaps that's the state government's game-plan. To be to Malaysia what Singapore is to itself.

    People have never asked what is needed to develop a state. Some will say development should be more balanced. But where to be the location of the balancing point?

    As things stand, the island has been neglected for far too long. If she is to catch up in order to present visionary possibilities for new generations yet to come, then there must be funds available in her coffers that can be used to kick-start infrastructural and services improvement. But you can hardly expect such funds to come from the federal government which appears to be constricting capitation grants to opposition states to try and decapitate those states.

    Of course there is a flip side to development. Prices go up and there will be income gaps between those who have assets and those who only earn wages. But the situation is dynamic. Like what had happened across the causeway, wage earners should get more opportunities to diversify their income streams if the state economy gets to grow faster. Of course, initially it'll be just trading and simple services. However if they can see the crap that is dished out by the federal education system, they should lose no time to pick up on their own such skills and knowledge as would enable them to tap new opportunities as may arise. Or create them if they are energetic and enterprising enough.

    After all, Penang and its mainland are part of the Northern Growth Triangle that can include Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia's Sumatra. In fact, from north of Myanmar you can get into south of China and swing up to hit the famous Silk Road, heading westwards to resource-rich Central Europe.

    If someone can figure out how to get fresh fish to those land-locked places in exchange for their heavenly tasty exotic fruits or super-efficient military-grade water-filters, as examples, then business can be done. And new industries created.

    We must individually try to get out of mind-traps.

  1. says:

    walla One of which is to ride on changes because intrinsic in the molecule of life is the atom of change which of course by now everyone knows contains the Higg's boson, better known as the God particle.

    With each year added to our resume of existence, we must pay more and more attention to the Higg's boson. Because that's where our mass comes from. No, i don't mean the church mass.

    You see, those four uncouth tum-tum-chiun women in that car have lost their Higg's bosons. They were directionless in their behaviour. Just like those others who make use of people as bridges to overcome their own lack of preparedness for tasks which they probably had thought overwhelming because prior to the tsunami of 2008 they never thought that subsequent to it the whole jingbang menu of administrative, communication and planning requirements would be cascading on them day after day. Even if what they were doing was to try and rustle up political interest in faceless people living arid lives.

    So we try to forget the inadequacies of others as much as we can allow ourselves to do so without losing our inner concern even if the process of relaxing a bit will lose us the inner fire which we believe had made our being more poignant.

  1. says:

    walla Everyday we are individually challenged by new equations of the calculus of discovery, adjustment, accomodation, and change spun by a world engorged with 'simplexities'.

    This year is particularly bad because of the Mayan prophecy of planetary realignments. Which must also explain why there's so much road rage in recent weeks - here. I don't know about the island though.

    Best we can do is to remember good things and small blessings that have come our way and be grateful for them even as our senses, cognitive powers and years may wane, hold ourselves to some code or badge of honour in a world of lemmings eager to cut corners, and be true to our innermost compulsion to help others make their journeys with less pain.

    What else can be asked of us?

    Gute Nacht, schlaf gut und träum süß!

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear UP41 and Walla

    My grateful thanks to both of you for your responses.

    I am blessed to have readers like you!

    Take care and God bless always!

    Best wishes

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