Friday, 2 September 2011


In Malaysia’s religion of ugly, Erna Mahyuni writes about the Malaysian propensity for all things ugly.

Frankly, I agree with most of the things she says. But I feel compelled to respond to this:

There is little left that is beautiful in Kuala Lumpur. Trash in the streets, the sorry attempts at landscaping and our deification of the car. We worship our cars, getting rid of trees and clearing out fields to protect and park them, whittling down our sidewalks to make bigger roads. No one cares about pedestrians. It’s their own fault they don’t earn enough to drive. Yet I see cars as nothing but locusts swarming over KL.

1. Trash on the streets is nothing but the fault of the common Malaysian, who does not think it is his civic responsibility to keep his surroundings clean. I have seen people calmly toss rubbish out of their windows while driving their nice, shiny BMWs. Wealthy but stupid.

2. Our landscaping is done as though someone had a half-thought and couldn't be bothered to complete it. Has anyone seen that ugly bunga raya "sculpture" on Jln Tun Razak opposite the American embassy?

3. Cars. Now, the whole issue of cars is not merely one of vanity but of necessity. That necessity, in my honest opinion, is the source of traffic jams. I have seen Jln Tun Razak and the Federal Highway congested until midnight during week days. It brings about pertinent questions:

- Why aren't people resorting to any other modes of transport?
--> I have seen the train stations, they cannot cope with the amount of passengers. The trains are packed with people.
--> The buses are not on time and do not keep to schedule. Often they are also packed and the drivers are reckless.

- Cars in this country are so expensive, to begin with. Of course, since we are a third world country trying to be a developed nation (hence all those big skyscrapers), we have a monumentally huge inferiority complex and get fidgety when compared to the economies of developed nations. But I am going to compare anyway:
--> our purchasing power is so low that we need five-year loans at best, to finance our cars. That is 60 months.
--> in the US and UK, fresh graduates can purchase a car with cash saved up from 6 months' worth of salary.

- I used to be very proud that I have never had to resort to buying a Proton. I used to enjoy showing off my more-expensive-than-local-models Japanese car. Until I realised that in Thailand and Indonesia, it was the model used for taxis!!! We pay so much on sales tax, thanks to the protection of our "national car" aka the bane of our existence.

- Are we environmentally friendly?
--> I think we are a nation that violates many laws and regulations concerning the environment with our lackadaisical attitude.
--> Why is it that we don't have enough pedestrian and bicycle lanes like our Australian neighbours do?

Is it all about showing off? Do we not know the concept of moderation, or 'sederhana' in Malay and Lagom in Swedish?

Why do we not demand that this basic amenities and facilities be accorded to us by the government? Will the Opposition government at least provide us that?


Joshua Lopez said...

About Cars, I see nothing wrong with it given the fact that this is Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia & Robust Major City. Cars is part of the Malaysian culture, Malaysians love cars. Infact the Malays take their Cars as their first wife. Nothing wrong with it! And please take note that we are producing our own National Car followed by Malaysians Companies, Perodua & NAZA. We have much to be proud of.

What the government needs to do it to build much more underground roads and fly overs, we need first class state of the art fly overs that's at least three levels & an underground road.

The issue with Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Pahang & Federal Highway has been since i was in primary school and it's only getting worse simply because there are no undergound roads and fly overs. So we really need to invest in our roads.

Honestly, even if we did have first class public transportation, Malaysians wouldn't give up their Passion for Cars and Proton, Perodua and NAZA needs to Sell as well. So win-win situation, make better roads! Kow Tim!

jugular said...

Your link to bicycle lanes in Australia doesn't work for me.

Despite having them there are plenty of complaints that there are not enough.