Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wedding in A Neighbours House

It is a season of weddings, this period being end of year school holiday period. There is a wedding today, two doors away up the street from our house. Being close neighbours we thought we should pop over and render any help in the wedding preparations. We did pop over yesterday to help but found that they were doing more than ok as there were many of their close relatives in the house doing various chores to get the preparations going. We would only be in their way disrupting them rather than helping!!

The main event is today. I was told they had sent out about one thousand invitations and to cater to the expected large crowd a series of 10m x 10m tent was erected on the road in front of the house (they had obtained approval from the proper local authorities to do this) thus closing part of the road. There are alternatives for the neighbours to get in and out of their houses though. However, in order not to disrupt life of immediate neighbour(s)the number of tents had to be reduced to occupy only the road section immediately in front of the house and not blocking entrance to the other house(s). This is so as not to block the ins and outs of the neighbour(s). It was just too bad that my house is two doors away. I would have gladly offered and volunteered the portion in front of my house for them to erect more tents, including taking up my driveway. Even if I had to park my cars away from the house I would. Anyway, I left my gate wide open throughout the occassion to help ease traffic movements at my end of the road.

We were at the wedding early and noticed that there was a big crowd during lunchtime and people just had to quickly eat and vacate to allow others to take over the vacated seats. If there had been more tents, more seats could be set and how more conducive it would have been for all the guests...... We had the opportunity to meet up with other neighbours and friends and moved around to chat here and there, standing of course. It was a pleasant afternoon nevertheless.

All was over by 4.00 in the evening. The table and chairs were cleared and the road reopened for small traffic to go through. The tents I assume will be removed tomorrow. We hope we had been good neighbours amongst other good neighbours who were helpful, in whatever small way we could support to this particular wedding neighbour of ours. In the end I could not see or understand what the fuss on being able to move in and out of the house was all about. Good neighbours would not fret over little things like that. Good and friendly neighbours would be more accommodating and more symphatetic, the norm being this is my day and tomorrow may be yours. Ah well........ living in society have its norm and non-norm occasion or situation and this situation in my neighbourhood triggers questionable thoughts over human behaviours...... Maybe some think they are more human than others ..... superior human perhaps?

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

Friday, December 19, 2008

A New Mall In Midst Of A Mixed Society

Some thirty years ago a small fishing village in the east coast of the peninsular, with only about five thousand people most of whom living from hand to mouth, began to be transformed into a large industrial complex stretching over miles and miles of the landscape. New manufacturing plants were built one after another and over these years more than thirty large oil and gas installations were built. The population increased in tandem with these development.

I was indirectly part of these development and I was able to see the transformation of this and other areas of the oil and gas development. Most of all I was happy to see the direct and indirect gains and advantages derived by the community and the people around. From fishermen they became shopkeepers, industrial workers, engineering contractors, material suppliers and a varied vocation that can be gained with the development of the oil and gas industry.

My youngest, Sita and her husband, Fahrul, subsequently became part of this transformation when they worked and lived amongst the community in this east coast area (until recently when they moved to the UK). I could see, during my many visits to this part of the east coast the extensive transformation of the area. The increase in population demanded increased services and those wise enough to venture gained from the many opportunities available. However I was quite surprised that the service development was inadequate for the demand. Purchasing power in the area had been high and yet the services provided were inadequate such that there were heavy outflow of people from the area to the next big town during weekends and off days. Only very recently a shopping mall was built, funded by the oil & gas giant, to serve the community in the area, and began business operations a couple of weeks ago.

A few days ago I was to be in the area overnight for some work. I went alone as Ram had a doctors' appointment and had to stay back. My work commitment was only for half a day and in the morning that ended at just before lunch. I thought this was an opportunity for me to check out this new shopping mall that many had hyped up for so long and perhaps have lunch at the same place if they have food outlets as expected for shopping malls of this type.

It was still lunch time when I was at the mall and there were many families there, this being school holiday period. The parking lot was about three quarter full and the people patronising the mall appear to be those of the middle income earner types. I checked out the food court first and true enough, just like any other shopping mall in other parts of the country the food court was with varied food outlets serving different types and varieties of food. I checked out the pricing of food and true to the practice of other shopping malls the prices were somewhat higher than other local outlets. It was, as usual, a little difficult for me to decide what to eat given the wide variety of food available at the many outlets and I finally decided on nasi kukus or 'steamed rice' set, a popular food serving in the east coast comprising of steamed rice, deep fried chicken, anchovies and tofu cubes fried in chili paste with peanuts and onions, some pickled cucumber and onions and other condiments. I decided on this set as it looked very inviting. So my expectation was quite high or was it because I was already hungry then?

I sat at one of the corner seats available, most seats were taken up by families and people with little children, many running around and noisy, that a corner seat was more conducive for quiet dining. It was also a conducive corner to observe the going ons around me. I dug into the food and ppphhhhtttttt! it was a disappointment... or was my standard too high? But then I was not comparing the food with similar food from my favourite outlet in another town in the east coast which I regularly patronise and which is always crowded with patrons. I was just trying its taste which was rather flat or tasteless. I had to pay something like a 30% premium over the price I used to pay at this favourite outlet and yet the food was nowhere near my favourite. Anyway, I just happened to choose the wrong outlet I thought and the other outlets would serve better tasting food perhaps. No capacity to try any of them this time around. Perhaps there will be other occasions for it.

After lunch I decided to spend some time browsing around. There were designer outlets and varied product outlets within the mall. Outlets for the 'yuppies' are also available. The main anchor tenant, a hypermarket was not open that day or perhaps not ready to open yet and I assume once this outlet opens the crowd will be much bigger. Well and good for the community. They need not, now onwards, travel all the way into the next town, some 200 kilometers away, for the weekends.

So, this part of the east coast is slowly transforming into a modern area. A little too slow though, but slowly making life more interesting for the local inhabitants and increasing the quality of life of the people. A far cry from the fishing village origin. Going around the area one can definitely see who and how some has ridden on the opportunities spread infront of them and who had missed out on these opportunities. One have just to look around........

MKI Ramblings Unlimited,
Petaling Jaya