Cultural dissonance – Melaka
The more explored this question, as I dug deeper into my research it quickly became evident that there is a lot more to it than I had initially thought.
– Dr. Creighton Connally, Postdoctoral Fellow, Asian Urbanism Cluster, Asia Research Institute, NUS, Singapore
Penang Forum meeting
An open letter to Mr. Joshua Woo
Special Officer to Member of Parliament of Bukit Mertajam
Subject: – Commentary on your article appearing in the Penang Monthly October issue under the title “Better, Cheaper, Faster – Really?” – http://penangmonthly.com/better-cheaper-faster-really/
– By Joshua Woo . In Penang Monthly, October 2016. http://penangmonthly.com/better-cheaper-faster-really/
This article by Mr. Joshua Woo, Special Officer to Member of Parliament of Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia provides a critical analysis of two radically different, hotly contested approaches to sustainable transport planning and policy for the state of Penang, Malaysia. Readers not familiar with these challenges and critical differences in Penang are invited to consult the background postings here: (a) Penang Transport Master Plan; (b) Penang – A Sustainable Transport Primer for a Battle of Ideas ;and (c) The NGO Challenge, and (d) State Government response to NGOs. You may also find good value in a three minute video which provides a very good, and very funny synopsis of the process currently underway: (e) The Three Minute Summary . * Still hungry for more from all sides: work your way down the right hand menu to this site.
Dr. Pojani in her lecture at Penang Heritage of Friday entitled “Urban Transport Crisis in Small and Medium Size Developing Cities and the Effectiveness of Countermeasures” — at one point advises us to FOLLOW THE MONEY. Now that’s an interesting comment and really makes me wish I had been with you. Here’s an example of how I interpret this counsel from my perspective as a strategic planner.
Thanks to Andrew we have a YouTube recording of the Dr. Pojani lecture – at https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155333414145550&id=756525549 . Hopefully her presentation slides will be available shortly for all those of us who were not in Penang that day.
SRS projects vs. Penang Forum call for new Transport Master Plan
Translated from Chinese interview of Ahmad Hilmy, transport and city planning scholar from the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), which appeared in the China Press of August 13, 2016. Mr. Hilmi closes the interview by stating frankly his recommendation that “the government engage independent experts to study both the proposals by SRS and the NGOs, based on best scientific estimates of construction cost, acquisition cost, maintenance and operation cost, life cycle, opportunity costs and externalities, ridership, environmental and life quality impacts, cultural and heritage issues, impacts on vulnerable populations, etc., instead of keep on arguing.
For full background on the fast-growing struggle to create a sustainable transport system for Penang. we direct you to The NGO Challenge Dialogue at http://wp.me/p3GVVk-xJ. The picture is rather murky at first due to considerable obfuscation on the part of the current administration, but if you are interested please take the time to work your way down through that top right menu section also entitled NGO Challenge Dialogue. You make up your mind, and if you have any comments, corrections or suggestions these pages are entirely open.
The goal of this section of the S/P supporting websites is to provide easy access to anyone from within Penang or beyond in order to get a clear understanding of what is going on in the at-times painful path of contradictory and withheld information on the topic of how best to go about creating a sustainable, efficient and equitable mobility system for all in Penang. It works like this.
Last Minute News from Penang – 13 July 2016. 10:00 local time:
1. Penang Forum today launched : Better, Cheaper, Faster Penang Transport Master Plan
2. Start with the sharp (hilarious) 2 minute introduction : https://youtu.be/6B9o1baUaP8
3. Now World Streets reader please sign petition at www.bettercheaperfaster.my/votebcf
In the coming weeks we are going to be presenting here coverage of a highly interesting public discussion of differences of perspectives, values and finally of interests, which have at its core the same concerns of World Streets and our readers: namely the challenges of sustainable development, sustainable transportation and the context of the politics of transport in cities.
But let’s not try to get into the interesting details and ongoing work in this first editorial; instead let’s see if we can present a quick canned history of this small South East Asian city that is facing some hard choices that are important for the immediate future but also for the long term. There is a lot of passion surrounding these issues and differences, so in this we shall do our best to maintain what our friends over at Wikipedia so deftly call, NPOV – a neutral point of view.
CYCLING: We have been exchanging in our several group fora in support of the Sustainable Penang project thoughts about plans and actions in favor of more, better and safer cycling for all in Penang. And of course by this we mean specifically cycling for day to day transport, cycling for men, women and children getting from their particular A to B in all parts of Penang. (though it will be interesting as well to know of their coverage of leisure and touring cycling, etc.)
So, against this background we respectfully ask the following . . .
While Penang is thinking once again about its transportation arrangements, we are hearing a lot of late about BRT and tramways — and rightfully. Both a huge improvement over earlier proposals for a mad spaghetti mix of intrusive monorails, elevated LRT/LRV systems, Sky Cabs hanging uselessly in the horizon, over-built road infrastructure projects to serve and encourage yet more car traffic, and a backbreaking proposal for a sea tunnel that would bring yet more traffic into the island and in the process extend and multiply today’s traffic mess and associated inconveniencies
But before we make up our minds let’s also give a thought to another less well known mobility option, the Mobilien. It may be just what you were looking for.
How were the leading minds in Penang looking at the challenges of sustainable transport back at the turn of the century? Did you know this? In many ways considerably better than is the case today. They were lucid, they had focus, and they stuck with the issues at hand..
To bring you into the picture (above) let’s have a look at a presentation made back in 1999 introducing a collaborative civil society program at the time, called STEP – Sustainable Transport Environment for Penang. If you look closely you will note that just about all of the issues and recommendations that were being discussed back then, are every bit as topical today. But somehow we lost almost two decades.
What happened? Why did not this enlightened program take off at the time. We shall be looking at that closely in the coming weeks and seeing if we can learn at least some of the lessons of the past.
(The following article appeared on 6 February 2016 in the Penang social justice blog anilnetto.com . The original is available here .)
Our guest contributor is Eric Britton, a sustainable transport expert who visited Penang a couple of years ago. He says, “The priority is not to further expand supply of inefficiently used infrastructure, but rather to manage and use it better.” This was written in December 16 2013 before the latest Penang transport master plan.
For those of you who do not know it, we do have a “publication arm” that works rather effectively, a collaborative blog which we set up in 2013 during my first visit to Penang, under the title Sustainable Penang: Toward a New Mobility Agenda. It is freely available at https://sustainablepenangagenda.wordpress.com/. A section of the home page is shown here, and to get the feel for how it works I recommend that you start with . . . START.
I mention this now because the blog invites contributions from those with useful knowledge or questions to share with our 173 international readers, while each posting is picked up by parallel social media sites on Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/SustainablePenang , 153 readers), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/5084715), and Twitter (https://twitter.com/SustainPenang). Selected articles are also posted in World Streets (https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/), for the attention of our 4403 international readers).
Dear Friends and members of this open public forum,
We are now getting into the true nitty-gritty fundamentals here and I would not like to leave this behind us too quickly. The disagreements are creative and as far as I am concerned a critical part of the reason we are here. Here are a few points I would like to share with you.
- SELF-ORGANIZED SYSTEM. First, this is — as we can see if we just look — an example of a self-organized system. Yes, LTH had the brilliant — the word is not too strong – idea of inviting this group’s 24/7 open conversations, and as I think we all pretty much understood on the topic of “Sustainable Penang “, and within that broad frame the issues and contradictions that exist and that are holding back the necessary move to a well thought-out, thoroughly professional strategic vision and plan of sustainable transportation, land use and public spaces in Penang.
But in self-organizing systems, what happens is that the various participants express a variety of opinions and desires on their particular areas of expertise and concern, and gradually a– and with a little luck — the whole complicated mechanism of discussion and exchanges lurches to uncover opportunities and priorities for a truly Sustainable Penang . And that is pretty much what is happening here and which you can see clearly if you page through the full record of the discussions, either directly here (takes time) or more easily on the first of a series of regular updates on these exchanges which anyone can freely follow through our Public Library at https://goo.gl/gJTJZD.
All that said, what I think is going to happen here is that within this discussion we are going together to lurch toward a number of greater truths, together and at times uncomfortably.
This Op-Ed has been contributed by Dr.Kua Kia Soong and provides a brilliant independent critical overview of what the title unambiguously suggests is “Malaysia’s transport mess”. While it examines the overall situation and climate from the vantage of Malaysia as a whole, it is no less relevant for the circumstances defining transport policy and practice in Penang. We thank Dr. Soong for his permission to publish the entire article as follows. This is an important piece to stimulate critical thinking and informed action in a sector which has been lagging badly and at high costs to the citizens of Penang and Malaysia. His closing sentence resumes the situation quite nicely: “The Malaysian public is tired of being told to be patient and that we can get our jam tomorrow… We want our jam today!”