Take a look at this fascinating video. It is the closest thing to catching a glimpse of what life was like on the streets of Penang in the 1980s.
What have we gained and lost since then?
We have lost much of the view of the sea when travelling along the coastal roads of Penang. Much of the sea is now obscured by mostly upmarket condo blocks.
We have lost the efficient ferry service. Ferries used to arrive almost every five to seven minutes during the day. That was the time when we had about 10-12 ferries in service during the day.
We probably had a lot more greenery on the island – and fewer high-density development projects.
How many of you remember the controversy that erupted when the Midlands One-Stop Centre in Pulau Tikus was built in the 1990s. Part of the problem was that it was feared that such a high-density (yes, those were the days when that was considered high density) would result in congestion in Pulau Tikus. Other projects that drew opposition attacks were the construction of a 36-tower condo tower along Gurney Drive (which apparently flouted the structure plan) and the overnight demolition of Hotel Metropole, a heritage building.
Ah, those were the days. Those projects seem like chicken-feed compared to the scale of the mega-projects these days.
One of the larger-than-life figures those days was Kee Phaik Cheen, who has just passed away. Today, we recognise her contribution in putting Penang on the tourism map and her role in getting George Town inscribed as a Unesco heritage site.
In other developments, Dr Mahathir Mohamad is still at it – setting up a national recovery council of sorts. The problem is, much of what ails Malaysia started during the 1980s during his tenure as the fourth prime minister. So really, he shouldn’t be advising the government how to get the country back on track.
The courageous Nathaniel Tan of POWR is into his second day of his hunger strike. Hopefully people will be inspired by his commitment to the cause of creating a better Malaysia.
Pressure is mounting on the government to reconvene Parliament within a week, instead of waiting till September.
But Tony Pua and a few others think there is no harm waiting longer so that justice can be done for the ‘court cluster’.
The thing is, the longer we wait, the worse the situation appears to be getting.
What do you think?