Today we had a gotong-royong to clean up our area. A group of residents wrote in to the relevant authorities for approval as well as assistance (such as the Bomba, MBAS, SADA, etc, etc.) Some big guy at MBAS was even supposed to come and give a speech but apparently he didn't show up.
I spoke to the guy who was one of the organizers and he said when they first organized it, they were not sure whether the residents would come out. But I noticed that more of those who turned out were senior citizens. But as they moved around too, they realized that many residents were not aware that there was a gotong-royong going on. However, as my boy drove me around, I noticed that in many areas, residents came out and also tried to do their part. First lesson, we need people to organize us.
I did my small part... helped to clear the sediments from the big drain near the football field. But with only hand tools, it was a mammoth task. The authorities should have come with some machinery. Apparently the Majlis Bandaraya promised to send 20 'muscles' to assist. Many drains are actually blocked. As recent as 3 years ago, the drains would regularly be cleaned. These days, with privatization (by the previous gahmen, word has it), service has gone down the drain. We pay, they make money but don't give the service. Malaysia definitely Boleh!
I saw the tools but not the muscles. Maybe they were in another area... but one guy said the tools came early in the morning.... minus the workers. Second lesson... the authorities, political leaders cakap a lot of kosong things. Maybe that's why they give out goodies nearing election... instantly seen to be contributing to the rakyat. And we are easily 'buyable'.
As it was the first time that this has been done in our area, the organizers didn't forsee some of the problems like making sure everyone knew about it. However, they did a good job in going around with the Pokok Sena Volunteer Firefighter Group... the 'real' Bomba was supposed to assist also but we didn't see them also... maybe I missed them.
The residents were willing to move together but the authorities seemed very 'tidak apa' and lack sincerity in assisting. And of course, in racial Malaysia, there were some mutterings that if ours had been a more predominantly Malay area, maybe they would be more visible.... Actually, I think it's not just Chinese or Malay area that's the real issue here. It's more of the civil service (in this case state civil service also) that is lacking in their professionalism or commitment. We pay this cukai and that cukai and don't know what some more, we elect political reps and all that... kononnya they want to serve the rakyat. They seem very incapable of fulfilling their oath of service....
And we have the Minister of Housing and Local Government from Alor Setar too... but he's from BN... this is PAS state. When the giants don't get along, all the semut kena pijak and suffer. So, we've cleared some drains today but many of the drains looked like they are in need of major repairs... maybe we've to wait for Election season to come, kut?