Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Recently I have been driving a loved one who has a 2-month stint in one of the government departments in Putrajaya.

I approached the task of driving back and forth from Putrajaya with pleasure. Firstly, from the point of view of landscaping and vegetation, Putrajaya is maturing quite nicely. There is less and less of the annoying palms and more and more leafy trees. This is transforming Putrajaya into a pleasant garden city.

In the evening segment of the driving I will go earlier and hang out at the Dataran Putrajaya. As the sun sets the square teems with families and vendors of toys. Kites are flying. It is an unexpected sight for me. When Putrajaya was in its infancy the square was a dead desert. Now it is a wonderful gathering place for families. It has found a purpose. It's a wonderful sight to see children, parents, cyclists, kite-flyers, visitors and vendors all mesh together just taking in the great agora that Dataran Putrajaya offers...all of this with the Prime Minister's Office building looming over the square in an benign, avuncular ambience.

After doing the pickup, we were driving along Persiaran Perdana or Putrajaya Boulevard when I spied a huge bazaar behind the young trees along the boulevard. It was the Pasarina or the Pasar Malam Putrajaya that has been up over the past week. I just had to pull up when I saw the banner for my favourite drink, Coconut Shake. Add to the great drink were all the great pasar malam food. It was an amazing sight to have a pasar malam right at the boulevard within all the government and ministry buildings. Amazing! Nice.

I know some may feel uncomfortable that a pasar malam, a typical Malaysian setting, sprouts up right at the seat of power. It is an interesting contrast. A kampung feel right in the heart of the Putrajaya. I loved it. I thought it reflected Malaysia being very comfortable with itself.

My wish for Malaysia is for Malaysians to just be comfortable with each other. Politics and politicians have their work and their attention-seeking tendencies. 

In many ways, politicians are a side-show of circus freaks. I don't need to name the clowns. I'm sure we each have our favourites.

The true Malaysia is out in the real world...it does not live in cyberspace which hate words and twisted tales inhabit. The real Malaysia is a place where Malaysians smile in greeting and express gratitude freely. That is the world that I have been inhabiting these past months. 

The true Malaysia is a happy place spoiled from time to time by stupid political leaders from both sides of the aisle.



walla said...

Now that today ushers new toll and electricity rates, more will have to sell wares at pasar malam's.

One can therefore conclude price hikes are good for the depressurized sandals-shoed ambience of rustic Malaysia.

And since sandals emblematic of such a persuasively comfortable environment are also called flip-flops, one can argue that wearing them in Putrajaya must also necessarily mean a flip-flop federal administration is good for the price hikes needed for the future well-being of the citizens who happen to ply their trade at the pasar malam's of today.

But if people have to sell things at night, it could mean they are not making enough in the day, and if people are buying things at night markets, it could mean they are trying to find cheaper alternatives, having worn out their budget for the month.

Which could mean the happy friendly attitudinal appraisals by and of both could have been forged on the anvil of common.......suffering?

walla said...

How we look at each situation depends on our own circumstances.

If we are financially settled, the juxtaposition of socalled 'modern' Malaysia of today with the socalled 'rustic' Malaysia of yesteryear will give a certain catchy feeling that soothes the mind inasmuch balms the soul. Like reaching the old coffee shop in some suburban town after hours on the road.

But if we are furrowed with worries everyday on how to make ends meet, neither modern nor rustic will make one iota of difference.

In fact they will only heighten the personal and unspoken dilemmas faced by households all over the land as parents and children grapple with higher prices that don't come with higher quality or quantity.

Piratisation of toll concessions has caused today's concessionaires to reap obscene profits out of motorists long after the cronies have already recouped their costs inclusive of maintenance charges. One would have thought those who work in the precincts of Putrajaya would be the first to realize privatisation was not meant to create a group of elitist profiteers but to provide new and more efficient vehicles to socialize better services. Apparently not.

Likewise weak financial management made a mess of the utilities providers which lost billions holding onto the tailcoats of investment bankers ever-ready to offer juicy loans above whose size blinds the recipients from the small print below until they have have to be subsidized whose reduction today is what is raising tariffs.

In either case, the consumer suffers. In both cases combined, the suffering is magnified. Right down to the prices of other things whose manufacture and delivery depend on electricity and tolled transport.

walla said...

Those who come out of the woods will say in Putrajaya we have a wonderful progress. Yet those who have seen the world will ask whether such a complex has delivered any value or strategic achievement to country and society.

You rush to a government department at four after a hard day's work only to be reprimanded for not coming earlier and then asked to come again the following day. All it would have taken is just 11 steps with the form submitted for the officer to walk from her counter to her head's office to ink his signature that requires no decision to be made. It doesn't go through the otak that the only reason people come at four is because they have been busy the whole day and also on the understanding each office works till five. It's a long journey to and fro the place. It's also an irrationally-tolled distance to get there. And the online site does not work for all browser versions. Apparently the charter is out of sight.

Architects have also lamented how bad has been the designs of that place. Those who know will also say how overpriced has been its construction. Those who care will grate what the oil money sunk into that place without transparency and accountability of public funds and due tender process could have been used to instead solve the financial problems of past which in turn would have averted the mess of today that the very people working there was supposed to prevent.

A good government would have done everything right all the time. Not try to make itself more important. In this world of online interactions, it would have made itself smaller, social objective of providing jobs to public workers notwithstanding. The money so saved could have been issued as cheaper loans through proper institutions for the private sector to create more jobs for the people who now are still working for a government that has become as white an elephant as the offices from which it operates on the pretext of democratic legality, stolen to boot.

Feeling personally good about something publicly bad is bad for feeling publicly good about something personally bad.