Sunday, 15 March 2015

50 shades of pink

Today's post is all about the Tecoma flowers which have been blooming all over the place in my neighbourhood and in particular, along the road where I live. For about a week, I've seen the buds open into a glorious bloom of pink and I've seen the flowers wither and fall to carpet both the roadside, kerb and inside my porch.

I've been noticing that many people had chosen to walk along the road just to admire the trees in various shades of red, pink and white.

But while the flowers are beautiful indeed, sweeping away the fallen flowers have been a most tiring effort. The paper thin petals stick to the ground and while singularly the flowers are very light, they are quite heavy when swept together.

And I've been doing this both inside and outside the porch. I've bags full of wet and dry flowers to show as evidence, all waiting for the Municipal Council's garbage collectors to come and dispose off.

Earlier last week, I made a complaint through the Better Penang website that the Council sweepers have not been seen in my neighbourhood for a very long time.

More than a year ago, the Province Wellesley Municipal Council (MPSP) had terminated the services of their contractor. The MPSP had recognised that their appointed contractor hadn't been doing a good job and taken back the service of sweeping the roads and clearing the drains.

I hailed that decision because I had believed that the MPSP was serious enough about keeping their standards high to meet ratepayers' expectations.

Initially, I noticed sweepers coming round to my road on Wednesday mornings. But for several months already, the sweepers have been absent. I haven't been seeing them doing to rounds. Luckily, ours is a relatively responsible neighbourhood and our roads remain clear of falling leaves and other debris.

However with the Tecoma season upon us, I was concerned that clearing off the fallen flowers would become tedious. So I wrote to the Better Penang website.

Two days later, my wife noticed a group of men coming round to collect the heap of fallen flowers on the roadside. So she asked the supervisor why they hadn't been doing their jobs for so long and the answer she got was that there was shortage of manpower at the Council.

Shocking indeed! It's gross inefficiency for us ratepayers to suffer the manpower shortage at the MPSP with the Council taking little visible effort to address the issue. At least, that's my perception of the problem.

Thankfully today, eight days after the first flowers had bloomed, almost all of them have fallen off the branches, leaving behind a tree bereft of flowers and leaves. It is as if autumn had arrived in my neighbourhood except that the Chinese New Year weather remains hot, humid and stuffy.

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