Saturday, March 04, 2006

ELEPHANTS IN LANGKAWI & BICYCLING IN BOLEHLAND

Huh? No more MAS international flights into Langkawi?

Thought it was only yesterday when MAS had that big huha announcing their maiden direct Langkawi-London flight... or, was I just imagining things?

Anyway, has anyone visited Langkawi lately?

Passed by there a few years ago on our way back to Alok Setak from Japan.

As expected, after the initial euphoria of free port status, the white elephants win again…

Book Village, Water Park, Galeri Perdana... they all looked pretty devoid of patrons so expected...

And the rundown Duty Free shop... dilapidated, uncompleted, ugly hotel structures... ferries that are rapidly becoming crappy...

It is still very much a kampong (which I like), left mutilated as it is...

Meanwhile, had quite a roar upon seeing the deputy PeeAm being bashed by citizens for his remarks urging Bolehlanders to change their lifestyle to match the increase in oil prices.

A letter in Malaysiakini, urging Bolehlanders to make more use of bicycles also caught my eye.

And then, we have the Perlis MB telling civil servants to cycle to work.

Hey, isn't he the guy who has a penchant for suggesting oddballs like, asking thugs to assist the government to collect overdue fees or something?

Anyway, my missus had been keeping an eye on the number of days I cycled to work in February...

Bicycle - 6 days, car - 21 days...

Hmmm... a rather pathetic record... especially in the era of skyrocketing petrol prices...

But wait... I have excuses...

The 21 days when I don't cycle, there was either rain or strong winds blowing... or I had to teach evening classes... and they were quite a few in February...

Am sure that nobody wants to see yours truly crashing his bike into a ravine at pitch-dark 10:30 pm, after a blistering session of lecturing…

But still, six measly days of cycling in one month...

Personally I would second the proposition that Bolehlanders cycle more... rising petrol price or not...

When I cycle to work, I do 20 kilometers one-way, 40 both ways...

On the way there, I take about one hour 10 minutes... the return trip takes about one hour...

Besides the benefits I get from the exercise, I just love this almost stress-free mode of commuting...

* Stress free, until you see a herd of teenage school kids monopolizing the whole bicycle path, and you go grrrr... *

A Philippine friend once remarked... you never learn how to swear until you learned how to drive a car... * or sometimes, even a bicycle? *

But cycling to work in Bolehland is a different ball game, I'd think...

Rather than the steamy weather, it is the road condition...

Even here in Japan, the cyclist in me takes quite a beating when riding on roads that have the slightest bumps... my bike just 'jumps' up... my bony bum takes the hit and I lunge forward, blurting out a wooooh!

There are generally good paths for bicycles although cyclists have to be really careful because pedestrians use the same paths...

But Bolehland roads?

When that Semi-Value of a minister built those roads, had he ever thought about 'bicycles'?

I am not even going to mention about those deadly potholes as yet...

Yeap, the government was gung-ho blind in chasing the automobile sector...

So, go curse that dead horse...

Roads in Bolehland are simply not made for cycling. Period.

And that jester of a man who prodded civil servants to cycle should at once mount a bike and cycle to work himself to start the engine rolling...

For if I were the man, I would first refurnish the roads, line them up with trees and make them bicycle friendly... the weather will take care of itself...

I am imagining things... am I not?

Yes?