Monday, June 15, 2009

Malaysia's Problems III: Construction

Construction is a brick-and-mortar type of activity - or, in modern times, steel and glass.

So construction as an activity in the economy should not be a big deal - as, after all, it is pure brawn - or, in modern times, machinery.

But construction is a such big deal in Malaysia that it is going to be our destruction.

What we in Malaysia really need to focus on is design.

We really need to focus on plans and designs - and not just brainless construction.

1. Future

We have to plan and design our own future.

At present, we are quite happy to let consultants and other carpetbaggers tell us what the nation should be told or PRed into accepting what is to be done for us.

But we the people have our own instincts. And our instincts tell us that what's going on isn't going right.

We don't want to be told to do things anymore.

We want to do things. We want to exercise our basic individual rights - to live and earn a living.

We do not want pirates and hijackers, thieves and robbers, liars and sweet-talkers messing up our daily lives.

We want action from the local up to the town, up to the district, the state and lastly the federal - not the other way round.

2. Urban Environment

We want to plan and design our own towns.

The artificial, concrete jungle is the environment that we all end up in.

The urban setting is where "the future" lies for most people - where most people dream of being in, where modernity is.

We must therefore try to create our own little playground - to live, do business, and play.

Where is the thought in the design of our towns and cities?

Or are they mere ideas put up by developers, assisted by architects, to politicians in order to pack in as much density as possible with the narrowest of roads so that the government will have to take remedial actions by building flyovers at every major junctions to ease the traffic.

With an industrial estate on one side of the old town centre, and low-cost housing on the other side, thoughtless plans have given rise to basic daily commuting problems for workers.

3. Rural Environment

The rural environment, for a nation and to its people, is where the birth of all indigeneous culture is.

It is usually the rural setting and the rural activities that most people identity where their roots are.

If you ask people where their roots are, they will point to some obscure places with a misty hazy history.

Do we have a design of how a village can grow into a town?

Do we have a design of how rural communities can be connected to urban centres?

If we do not have an idea of where our rural communities are going, we have no idea how our culture is evolving.

4. Rural-Urban Connections

Where are the dynamics between the rural communities and the urban jet-setters?

Or is the city where people sell their souls to the devil and become filthy rich, and then return to their old homes in the villages and show off to their poor folks, waiting for adulation?

Where is service and the generosity to help the poor?

Where is the pride of the forefathers?


If we do not have a plan, we are doomed.

If we ask consultants to plan for us, especially if they are foreign consultants, then we are doubly doomed.

We must create an environment where our people can put into action that which they feel deeply to be our sense of identity and cultural essence - and how we can actualise that, happily within the "limits" of our own ability, the "limits" will most likely be our sense of decency.

We must be careful to bland concrete structures well with our natural environment.

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