For those of you who have participated in my post on Penang, I would like to thank you for your suggestions.
Obviously, we cannot just talk but some form of action is needed if we want to send a clear signal to the politicians not to mess with us. Penang does not have to be dependent on the federal forever. If we persist, decentralisation is inevitable.
I agree that we need to focus on immediate areas of improvement. Here I would like to pick on 'Cleanliness'.
Cleanliness not only affects us but also businesses, visitors and tourists. Many of the East Asian tourists have avoided Penang because we have lost our sparkle and our civility. Not only that Penang is dirty, we act dirty too. Litters can be found everywhere.
I agree that the new government has a lot to do and we cannot expect miracle then again who said we have to depend on the state government solely. This is precisely what I asked us to do, stand up, act on it and be counted.
We need to do something on cleanliness:
1) Talk to the local assemblyman of your area - ask him to help organise a gotong royong. This is a good way to start.
2) In Korea, I was surprised to see that rubbish bins are not provided freely but yet the streets are clean. Koreans have improved their civic-conscious after the 1997 financial crisis. I was there in 1998 and went there again recently. In 10 years, Seoul is a clean and livable city. Why can't we do the same? Many of us are highly educated but have cultivated a bad habit of keeping our own house clean only.
Why don't we mobilise and start a "Keep Penang Clean and Sparkle" campaign. Do not print out papers and start to pollute the state. Do it via e-campaign - USE YOUR BLOG. Send out emails, smses, calls etc. to remind our friends, relatives and colleagues to adopt a clean culture. Do not litter, use our own shopping bag and to conserve.
3) In November, I have approached the state to organise an International Arts Conservation Festival in Penang. You can do the same...organise among yourselves. Veon Tze got it right. Regardless of the political affiliation, we need to stand together as Penangites. This is the time we stick together or we fall. The world's economy is slowing down, competition is getting keener and businesses are foot loose. What do we do? Like the Koreans during the post-97 crisis, they rallied together and sprang back with a vengeance. They did it. Look at Korean companies, culture, movies, entertainment, tourism etc.
4) Let me know how we can organise ourselves and do something together. Penang to lead, we must be different, better and more passionate than others.
Can we do it?