I had good reason for wanting to drive out to the island on Friday morning. First, it was to meet a friend from Singapore for lunch and second, I had an appointment at one of the local private hospitals. I was rather thankful that my appointment with the doctor had finished at about 4.30pm, so that there would be enough time for me to drive back across the Penang Bridge before the dreaded Friday rush hour traffic jam began.
Friday is always a very bad day to use the bridge, especially from about 5pm or 5.30pm onwards. Only the week before, I was crawling all the way towards the Butterworth end. The only positive aspect from last week was that I wasn't the one driving!
Anyway, that's digression. As I entered the bridge on Friday, I was relieved that although traffic was heavy, I was at least moving forward at a reasonable speed. Until I hit the 6.6km mark. Traffic grounded to a halt. Then repeatedly, a hesitating lurch forward of a few feet before stopping again. All the way to the mid-span.
Then suddenly, it was all clear. But wait, why were there two or three traffic policemen on both sides of the bridge? What the fuck, I was thinking to myself. Are the policemen there to do spot checks on motorists? On the middle of the bridge? If so, they must have been out of thier minds. Then the thought left my mind as I picked up speed again. The rest of the way on the bridge was normal. Busy but normal.
One thing that puzzled me was the common red headband. If there were so many of the bastards wearing these headbands, it can only mean that the disturbances on the streets of George Town and on the Penang Bridge were deliberate actions that had been planned way in advance. They weren't spontaneous. so there must be a culprit or several culprits behind them. It became clear later that the heavy hand of a political party, one that claimed to be leading the federal government, was behind the demos. All I can say to the goons is, shame on you for your desperate attempt to disrupt the peace. They discredit no one but themselves
As a postscript, the Police went around later to pick up about seven or eight of the fiery ringleaders but they were released within 24 hours. What a contrast to the fate of the 30-odd people, about half of whom were elderly people, who were picked up by the Police near Kepala Batas about a week ago and were only just released yesterday.