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Penang National Park versus Penang Hill

© by Pipit

.....I suspect they really don’t care two hoots about what tourists think or feel....

I have some thoughts which I’d like to bounce off you, but before I start, I hope I am striking some resonant chords. I’d really hate to be a nuisance with my chatter. Still, since I have not gotten any complaints yet - tally-ho!

I have a foreign visitor and to break the tedium, I thought I’d take him on a hike up Penang Hill. After torturing him with a not-that-easy hike, I showed him around famous Penang Hill. What do you know? Penang Hill may be still famous (for how long?) but it is not that pleasant a tourist spot anymore.

Does anyone still remember Strawberry Hill? It looks abandoned, derelict and very sad. In addition, the famous Penang Hill canopy walk is “temporarily” closed with a hand-written piece of badly torn-off paper to inform tourists to that effect. The tea-kiosk on Strawberry Hill has been “temporarily” closed for god knows how many years, but I was at least hoping the canopy walk can serve as tourist entertainment. It was a sore disappointment, especially after putting my guest through a tough climb. My guest became so ill-tempered, he refused to spend even small money on the famous Penang Hill ice-kacang, preferring to re-visit 84 and donate money for hill-brewed coffee and some authentic local “ambience”. Is this how our bureaucrats manage our tourist facilities for us? I suspect they really don’t care two hoots about what tourists think or feel. I believe they are only interested about how much public money they can spend.

This immediately reminded me about the PNP. Will the PNP suffer the same sad fate, a few years after the bureaucrats are through with it? As it stands, Penang Hill is a well established tourist destination, yet the facilities are criminally neglected. At the same time, bureaucrats plot to pour millions of RM into the PNP. It is all about spending taxpayers’ money isn’t it? The bureaucrats ran dry on ideas and funds for maintenance of Penang Hill, so they plot to find allocations to spend on the PNP. The PNP is a virgin idea. Politicians are not as averse to spending money on it as an old used-up, worn-out idea like Penang Hill. The PNP is also like a topped-up fuel tanker. I am sure some people are thinking of siphoning some fuel off it.

The facilities on Penang Hill are neglected, abandoned and swept under the carpet, and to the public, it is an excellent daily reminder of the incompetence of our government. The bureaucrats meet some problems and instead of using their initiative to overcome them, they ignore the problems and try to pretend they don’t exist. Yet these are the same people who pontificate to the public about being socially responsible; to believe in God, our King and Country; to take pride in Merdeka; to refrain from taking drugs and engage in socially irresponsible activities; not to copy corrupt and dissolute Western culture (as if Malaysians are incapable of being corrupt, dissolute and socially irresponsible by themselves), etc, etc. We have some really great role models and teachers! (Sorry if these are not the same people, but they should definitely check on what their juniors are doing).

If, in spite of everything, these are the same type of people who are handling the management of the PNP, then I really fear for it. Will God-fearing, hard-working, intelligent, responsible and honest bureaucrats please stand up!

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