Marco Polo named Suzhou the Venice of Asia when he visited the city in the 13th century. Is Penang becoming the next Venice of Asia too? Do not get me wrong. I am not suggesting that Penang is rivalling the scenic Suzhou as the next tourism hot spot in Asia.
But I was shocked to find that the heritage city, Georgetown, was crippled by flash flood during a heavy downpour yesterday. It happened again today. If this situation persists, it will soon threaten Georgetown's UNESCO World Heritage status.
The state government should focus on solving this problem. A root cause of the flash flood is the failure of the city's drainage system. Most of its drains are clogged with rubbish and litter.
There are several things that the state government must do:
1) Clean up the city;
2) Launch a clean up campaign to instill the need to keep Georgetown and Penang clean and litter free;
3) Change the mindset and behaviour of petty traders and hawkers who continue to dump their waste indiscriminately into the drain;
4) Start to reprimand those who dump their litter illegally into the drains and along the streets;
If a concrete action is not taken, the present state government can continue to dream making Penang an international city. For now, it is an international laughing stock. Probably one of the dirtiest and badly kept living heritage cities in the world.
I dread having to show any of my foreign friends around the city. Talk is easy, it is time for the state government and the local authority to walk the talk.
File picture taken from the internet.