Sunday, 20 February 2011

Where is George Town's tram service?

One thing that Penang is very famous for is the knack of holding seminars and talks where many fine ideas are proposed and discussed. This makes everyone feel pretty smug: from the organisers right down to the participants. And then there are also the pressure groups who want to stop this project and that project. That is what we are good at: holding seminars and talks.

One thing that Penang is bad at is the implementation of new ideas. We can talk and talk until the cows come home; we can propose and discuss until the cows come home; but when it comes to turning these ideas into concrete reality, we seem to hit a brick wall. They are KIVed (kept in view) until the next convenient seminar is arranged.

Why do I say this? Well, we have been talking ever so much about improving traffic infrastructure in the inner city of George Town. There's so much traffic congestion that there is talk of closing off some of the roads during peak hours but nothing is done. There is talk after talk about reintroducing tram services but nothing ever materialises. We've had experts coming in to give their two cents' worth of opinion and proposal but nothing ever changes. Heck, there are even remains of tram tracks from the heyday of Penang's heritage past but they remain unused - the experts say they are reuseable - and only serve to remind us that yes, there was once a tram service in George Town.

I'm ranting about this because in today's newspapers, there's suddenly a story about Malacca set to operate a 40-kilometre tram track that covers Malacca's main tourist attractions. Hell, while all the politicians, bureaucrats and NGOs in Penang have been spouting hot air over the issue, our thunder has been stolen by our sister heritage city! Now, what do our authorities - local, state or federal - got to say about this?? I'm as mad as hell.

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