Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Penang-o bang-o bang-o

It may seem as though I have abandoned you, my lovelies, but that is simply an ill illusion. In fact you are always on my mind, when the lovely flame dies, smoke gets in your eyes, oh Mandy. What happened was I took the weekend off, inspired by the Mighty King of the Malaysian Blogocastle, Jeff Ooi, and visited Penang Island.

Under normal circumstances I would do what Jeff Ooi refers to in his post on going to Penang as a ‘Joe Public’ and go to Penang via public transport. This would be because Joe Public can’t afford a car, although Jeff Public can.

But while Ooi decided to ‘do a Joe Public journey’, I decided to do something a bit different. Since the Government has asked us to 'change our lifestyles' in these days of fuel price hikes, I decided to do a Prince Leopold of Bavaria journey and drive a BMW to see how it would burn my pocket.

Hahaha, a total and utter lamebrain, recently.

The second thing was to avoid trying out the new public transport system that the Penang state government implemented effective from April 1. In this way, I won’t turn into some kind of perpetual whiner who secretly believes that Penang ought to become a republic and be allowed to turn into a dirtier, poorer, slightly less overhyped version of Singapore. Anyway, I worked out that taking a BMW would cost me RM275.20 – RM200 on petrol, and RM70 on tolls, and RM5.20 for snacks.

However, taking a BMW, didn't actually cost me the simple calculation of RM275.20 getting from Point A to Point G, without stopping by at Point F. As Jeff says, “There are many other hidden costs which I can't claim for reimbursements from anyone else.” The biggest cost in this case would be the constant risk of turning into some sort of feckless pain-in-the-arse who spends the first few paragraphs of his post talking about the high cost of modern life in a lame attempt to make people like him. Such is the life of a Prince Leopold of Bavaria.

Life is hard when you've got this many medals, circa World War I.

To get to Penang, first I drove to the ferry terminal. Then I drove onto the ferry. Then I drove off it. Then I drove onto the island. That’s about it, really. Saw lots of stuff from the inside of the BMW, which was cool like a whorehouse by the Mexican border, where they’d just fitted two-zone climate control. Firstly, there was that sore dick Komtar building, which could be seen clearly from the ghetto, standing out like proud early morning wood against the dawn sky, as the other buildings around seemed like maidens who had lost their maidenheads to the giant sore dick and were now very sore themselves.

Yes folks, it's the Night of the Sore Dick, last night.

I drove through what Ooi so evocatively termed the “city slumps in Penang”, and realized what he meant when he noted that “Penang has no plan for urban redevelopment. It looked like a terminally sick patient now entering the hospice.” Presumably this patient is male and his terminal sickness is the cause of that sore dick that he keeps complaining about. Maybe he should have spent more time with the maidens and less in the whorehouse.

The thing that shocked me the most, though – and this was the same thing that upset Ooi – was that it appears as though no attention at all is being paid to the development of Penang’s public transport system. As one of the woolly commenters on Ooi’s site has pointed out: “I think the public transport in Penang is comparable to the 3rd world country.” He did not specify which 3rd world country. Given his indignance, probably not the 3rd world country that Penang currently resides in.

But I empathise with him nonetheless. Penang's buses are a shambles, there’s no rail service to speak of, taxis try to con the pants off you without actually wanting to do anything nice and sexual and this results in a terrifying, um, result – Penangites take to the roads themselves. And drive.

Example from a Penang driver's holiday photo album, two weeks ago last Tuesday.

It is well-known and scientifically proven that Penang drivers are the worst in the universe. Their food may be so delicious that it is singled out as a mortal sin by over 27 global religions, but their drivers are just horrid.
They haven’t even invented cars on Mars yet and the little green drivers there are better than Penang’s. The French drive on the wrong side of the road and Cambodians drive on all sides of the road, but Penangis drive on whichever side of the road the oncoming traffic happens to be taking. When you use an indicator light they think your car’s malfunctioning. If they get to a curvy road they defy it and drive straight anyway. They think rear-view mirrors are there for them to check their eyeliner and flirt with rear passengers. They think the fast lane is for people who are fasting. Which is why, for the purposes of Prince Leopold of Bavaria the public transport system MUST be improved, to GET THESE PEOPLE OFF THE ROADS NOW.

Look look look see - this guy's driving in the wrong lane, every single day.

I find myself agreeing with Ooi on this matter, because if the public transport system is not improved, Penangians will continue to mire the roads of our nation in fear, stupidity and a total inability to get the hell out of the way. Some on Jeff’s blog have suggested that ministers and other public officials of note be made to take public transport in Penang so that they’ll understand the depth of the problem and work to improve it.
I, however, have a different suggestion – make them drive themselves around the island. They’ll be so frightened they’ll not only pump up the public transport budget, but they’ll turn into religious folk overnight, soothe their sore dicks and never sleep with anyone other than their spouses ever again.

So this is Potshots, freshly full of overpriced char kuay teow from the angry sister with the safety goggles, saying buy new busses, set up a monorail, hire new drivers*, institute the death penalty for not staying in your own lane – whatever it takes, just do it so that driving to Penang will once and for all not involve driving among Penangoids.

*Please hire drivers from outside Penang. Please.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course you failed to mention that if one can drive in Penang one can drive anywhere else in the world. Do you know why you have survived driving in Penang and thus able to furnish us with that interesting entry? Its because you have been driving in KL thats why. The practice you got there sure came in handy. I am from Penang, proud to be a PENANGITE but agree with you about Penang drivers but I thought Penang Char Koay Teow is not that expensive what? Why you want 1 plate with prawns and kerang and eggs for 1.50 ah? Ok lah ok lah a bit expensive la but thats because penang people so rich ask jeff and see.

Good show man. It makes us PENANGITE, at least yours truly realise that we are really lucky to have survived our traffic here.
Oh anyway, I am the one who got a double promotion in 1 day.

11/4/06 15:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's in our blood to bully those drivers with W plates.

11/4/06 17:14  
Blogger Daft Oi said...

congratulations, galactic superintendent anoynymous, now you can belanja me some penang char koay teow.

11/4/06 17:50  
Anonymous little song bird said...

aha, daling oi is back,
ayo, u sure have never drive in jb one. over there they even shoot at each other through the window. not believe me, read the Singapore papers la. er, lee kwan yew also said the same.

11/4/06 18:05  
Blogger Daft Oi said...

driving in jb? if it can be called that... then i'm sure that yes, kwan yew would be the foremost authority on it.

11/4/06 18:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come over anytime man sure got char koay teow for you one. So i am galactic superintendent now, wow! and they only call me cikgu here.

12/4/06 19:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like your blog, just goes to show that some people, you know who, has become so perasan to remember they're making the same mistakes and problem.

are you making a similar 'first world mentality' series too?

13/4/06 14:45  
Blogger Daft Oi said...

i must fully understand my subject matter before analysing it. therefore, i must bring my mentality from that of the 8th world of the Onomatopoeia system to that of the 1st world of the Sol system.

13/4/06 14:54  
Blogger All My Base said...

Last time I checked, the last world country was always Zimbabwe. Unless the list was alphabetically descending.

13/4/06 15:51  
Anonymous little song bird said...

aiya, just complain about traffic in jb, now jambatan also already cencelled. how aaar? oi daling, write something about that la. your brother jeff, the super duper geek only dare one post on it before going off bitching about i dont know what.

13/4/06 17:25  

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