Residents upset over concrete work in College Square green

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Residents around College Square in Pulau Tikus, Penang are upset over plans for some sort of “jogging track” on this neighbourhood green. The issue was revealed by a Facebook user and has now spread on social media.

Like I have said before, some people can’t stand the sight of untouched green spaces. At that is a problem: it gives them an incredible urge to pour concrete on these precious patches of green – or to erect concrete structures. They have a strange idea of “development”?

Perhaps there is something deeper at work here. We have lost our connectedness to the land and to the soil below our feet. We prefer to import our food instead of grow them locally, in the process undermining our food security. (And then we wonder why the prices of fruit and vegetables are so expensive.) Some of us even pour concrete and cover up the little gardens in our homes, if we are fortunate enough to have landed property.

And this urge extends to our neighbourhood greens. We feel ‘uneasy’ with the sight of plain grass, viewing it as a symbol of “backwardness”. So disconnected are we that we seek to put a barrier between the soil and us by pouring concrete and tar on the ground. Anyway, that’s my lay attempt at armchair psychology!

Shoudn’t our precious public works budget be better used in improving existing pavements and pedestrian walkways and clearing them of obstructions? Shouldn’t we preserve our precious, limited existing green spaces – especially in high-density development areas – to maximise rainwater absorbtion into the ground and reduce the likelihood of flash floods?

READ MORE:  MBPP continues operations to clear obstructed pavements

The area has had to face other challenges before: change of use of homes from residential to commercial, signages, etc.

Were the majority of residents even consulted over this latest project? “As usual, residents not consulted or told,” said one resident in the area.

Another person familiar with the area had a novel suggestion: residents should put up a sign that reads: “Stop before you do anything to ‘improve’ this field and area. Ask the residents and community first!”

The defacing of College Green has prompted a fourth individual to come up with an online petition, which has already gathered close to a 100 signatures.

The petition reads:

Dear Friends of Penang,

It comes to us, the residents of Pulau Tikus, as a rude shock that our historic field – the last green lung in the vicinity – is being defaced to insert a concrete jogging track and large paths cutting across it. As of today, huge tracts of grass have already been dug up in a crisscross pattern across the field. We are heartbroken.

In short, a field is a field. Children have played here for generations with no need for paving of any kind. A few extra swings would be a nice addition, but not anything that involves the sacrifice of grass. As it is, greenery is something we see so little of today. In an age of tablets and video games, this field is one of the last few of its kind on the island where our children and grandchildren can still feel grass under their feet, and sit with us under trees that have been there since we ourselves were children.

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We do appreciate the council’s efforts to enhance the area. However, some things are best left as they are. Our field is a place of timeless charm and requires no modifications. As residents who have lived here for decades, we hope we possess a certain degree of say over what happens to the heart of our neighbourhood.

We respectfully request that this plan to “improve” the Pulau Tikus field be stopped. It is precious to us all, and we implore that it be left the way it deserves to remain – whole, green and beautiful, an eternal relic to be enjoyed by the generations to come. Please help us support this cause by signing this online petition. Thank you 🙂

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30 COMMENTS

  1. If one is so organic, why don’t put a” sign keep away from the grass”? There are many lawns with the sign to prevent people to walking and destroy the grassland and create a muddy footpath and collect water after rain

    • You like this?
      ‘I’m now treated like a criminal,’ says PKR rep who lodged complaints against Penang factory
      https://malaysia.yahoo.com/news/m-now-treated-criminal-says-pkr-rep-lodged-080000757.html

      KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — Penang assemblyman Norlela Ariffin claims she is being given the pariah treatment by Pakatan Harapan supporters after DAP state councillor Phee Boon Poh’s detention in an anti-corruption investigation.

      The PKR state lawmaker was the first to lodge complaints to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) against an illegal factory operating in Kampung Sungai Lembu that has been linked to the probe against Phee.

      Norlela is incensed by claims that she played a role in Phee’s arrest yesterday, saying the MACC’s actions were beyond her control.

      “People are saying why did you not wait until after the 14th general election to complain, I have been raising this issue since 2015, while the factory has been operating illegally for 10 years.

      “It is really sad that I am now being treated like a criminal, public enemy number one,” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.

      Norlela said she has been consistently speaking out on issues affecting her rural constituency from long ago, and illegal factories operating in the state was one such problem that had not been given sufficient attention.

      “I just complained about the factory, I want it to be operated properly, but what they do is beyond my control. I am just doing my job,” she said, referring to the MACC’s raids and subsequent arrests on the case.

      Read on if you don’t like this (treatment).

    • Why dont you complain about illegal hawkers and shop keepers illegally blocking 5 king foot way to aca? Best why tun lang no complain about illegal houses, extension, parking to aca? What has aca has do with with illegal factories or squatters?

    • Problem @ Komtar Tower is a top-down, talking-down management, not helped by exhilarated supporters who see Absolut Vodka no wrong in Deity & its recalcitrant acts.
      How to blame the Braindeads???
      “Cuma dapat gaji, jangan buat kecoh! Kita bukan & tak berani macam ADUN Tanjung Bungah!”

  2. Could the pavement be made for the aging residents (number of senior folks on the rise), for their morning walk?

      • What is there to consult? Where are the access for ah peks and disable? They are side lined and can feel the green green grass of home on the road where 4wds are king of the road. For all stairs, there must be alternate route for them ie a ramp or lift.

  3. It’s about time those yearning for yesteryear of vintage Penang Island to archive and publish them in the web to educate younger cosmopolitanizing generations as well to many retiring foreign expatriates.

    Singapore bloggers are many steps ahead to cherish the past with easily access vintage Singkarpo in the web. For example

    https://remembersingapore.org/tag/singapore-1980s/

    Palau Tikus (not just college green) has many past stories to tell, and Anil don’t have to wait for YB Yap to kick off past nostalgic recollections by getting his ardent readers like zoro-tunglang combo to dig up the buried past.

  4. This is just a different idea of making a public space or park better.
    For me, I prefer a park with jogging track for the elders and also after rain.
    Just do whatever the residents want, but please don’t overreact and say OVERDEVELOPMENT this kind of thing~
    Personally, I like Armenian Park a lot!!!:
    http://dbv47yu57n5vf.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/field/image/armenianpark.jpg

    Further, did you guys notice? lots of public fields or parks are surrounding with ugly fence, it is ugly and totally against the idea of public open space and streetscape LOL… I would rather they build a proper sidewalk with OKU feature surrounding the field. Further, College Square need a proper sidewalk to cover the open drains with OKU feature more than a jogging track, just remove all the parking lots beside the park and replace it with a good sidewalk!

    • Perimeter of the green field has become free parking lots for early birds. The residents there should propose better pedestrian walk there and can leave the small green field intact for young kids to catch spiders.

  5. I used to gaze at this small enchanting field surrounded by big olde trees (a rare luxury working in ad agency of no sunsets) after a hard day’s work of cracking ad campaigns before the sun retired.
    Imagined a warm Saturday afternoon with Madam Pykett dancing barefoot on the emerald grass while the crickets crooned. (Madam Pykett then was still alive & beautiful & touchable before the unthinkable happened to her decades later).
    Tis a field beautiful in the streaming morning light, romantic on late Saturday afternoons & whispering to the souls in the starry nights (one could catch some stars in the 90s as Gurney Drive & surrounding Pulau Tikus were not overtly gentrified by CAT Cosmo-craze).
    Like some said: Penang used to have souls, but alas not now.
    Oh, souls of Pulo Pinang’s green fields, they barricaded thee like Guantanamo (Padang Dato Keramat), criss-crossed thee with Zoro’s signature of insanity & tasteless cementing (College Square), & even threatened to bury your illustrious history (SK Pykett Methodist) in the name of development blessed by ‘no-need-to-witness’ in the name of Jesus.

  6. What so upset about paved footpath? Without paving, pg lang are discrimating against ah peks and disable. These people has no venue to enjoy the green green grass of home and beautiful sun days and fresh air.. How can pg lang expect ah pek to walk with his tongkat on uneven soft ground. Tongkat Ali will not help. The same with those on wheel chair. What happen if it rain for days? The ground become soggy’ turn muddy and slippery. Note the pave close to trees providing shade. How can pg land allow active sport close to trees? One Kennedy slammed into a tree during ski.

  7. Many hang questions.. How are the schools nearby going to hold their events with this proposed concrete tracks? With the roots of the big trees cut, will they collapse under strong wind or die? what’s the main reason turning a nice green field into a park for gym? not enough gyms or not enough parks? why aren’t the residents properly informed about this project? at least show the residents the proposed layout and plan before sending in the bulldozers

    • No Wonder we produce kamlong runners, running away from houses, schools and crime scene. Schools are supposed to let students train to run in international tracks not grass tracks.the foot pavement is only 100mm thick to carry ah pek’ s weight and wheel chairs as compare to 4wd in speeding road and pedestrians have to cross quickly to give way to 4wd

      • Pity your lack of relevant substance but spinning loads of incoherents (irrelevant to the green field) just to shiok yourself & thy dedak-pay master!
        Cheers Absolut Vodka for absolute incoherents!

    • Yeah you are always relevant to say pedestrians must cross faster and don’t waste 4wd stopping time and MBPP should not build more pedestrian crossings. Lim kopi zzz and jiak one ton me.

  8. Every now and then the school nearby would hold their sports event there, how are they going to hold it now if the field is going to be criss crossed with concrete tracks and gym equipments?? where are you teachers?

      • But the damage’s done.
        The field is wailing. First blood of College Square field flowed to the drains.
        Perhaps, zoro, you need more grass from this simple charming field to feed your spinning … to produce more … bars for your hallucinated 4WDs.

        Yap Soo Huey, what’s happened to your green radar?

    • Spin to create exclusive zone to only haves and exclude Ali on tongkat, wheel chairs, baby in trolleys and char bohs on heeled shoes and render them outside the field.
      Why pg Lang very quiet on turf make way for bicycle tracks? The amount of paved bicycle path is horrendous and yet pg Lang cannot see and think.

  9. There are no “deep” reasons such as losing the link to nature. It is all about insecurity leading to (a) amassing wealth (b) showing off (d) dominating others. By facilitating expensive, useless and harmful goods (esp. foods) and services (e.g. monopolies, medical care, security), the religion of wealth compels the masses to participate in this insanity. If individual wealth cannot be extorted (even for a water tap or a bench to rest on), then the common pool of public wealth will be do.

    In the sort of contract in question, one KPI seems to be ensuring that the structure falls apart or at least requires extensive renovation within 2-4 years. This applies to sidewalks, jogging tracks, badminton/sepak takraw/basketball/rollerblade courts, gazebos, benches, play equipment, fancy “streetlights” (even if the park closes by sunset), etc. The infrequent trimming of trees – urban logging now done to produce wood chips – may “accidentally” kill off a few trees. Rarely does the contract beneficiary supervise the work, let alone government officials. The workers keep the tuan informed by way of photos they send by phone.

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