I am a resident of Ipoh who enjoys a bit of nature by way of some brisk walking at the Polo Ground and regular climbs up Kledang Hill where we can still be blessed with some fresh air and greenery and a suitable place for sweating it out after a long day of work and fatigue.
But sadly this faint bit of luxury and leisure seems to be fast diminishing, which brings me to write this letter to our dear Ipoh Mayor, c/o Ipoh Echo.
I strongly believe it is high time our Mayor and his council come to one conclusive decision as to whether he wishes to keep the Polo Ground as a place for exercise and relaxation for Ipoh folks or as the latest hawking centre for Visit Perak Year 2012? I dearly wish that the Mayor and his councillors can take some time off their busy meeting schedules to observe the goings-on at the Polo Ground at different hours of the day.
I have it up to my neck by now and I just have to voice some of my observations and indeed grievances. The hawking activities at the Polo Ground have spread like a disease uncontrolled. Firstly, there is the obvious hawking by the roadside, van after van, with tables, chairs and stools, even huge shade umbrellas, all springing up like the wild lalang weeds after the monsoon rains, depriving genuine exercise-lovers of precious parking space, attracting drive-by customers who would double-park to eat or even to ‘tapau’ some. Then, there is also hawking in the Polo Ground itself, with ice-cream hawking, balloon hawking, kite hawking, soap-bubble tube hawking, toy hawking, kuih-muih hawking, kacang-putih hawking, syrup drink hawking, T-shirt hawking, etc. etc. As if that is not enough, even at the public toilet, the attendant is hawking some kind of medicated oil or stuff like that in bottles of different sizes and shapes…OMG!
And so, along with all these hawking activities, the whole park compound is littered with plastic containers and spoons, polystyrene plates & bowls, soft drink cans, plastic bags of all shapes and sizes and of course unfinished food of all types and lots of used tissue paper. Some are left on the park benches, some on the children’s playground, some are left hanging from the poor, under-nourished trees, some are simply being kicked around till they eventually become a part of the park landscape. The ones who have a bit of conscience throw the polystyrene into the dustbins which are forever overflowing. And huge black garbage bags by the tens of them form a permanent temporary feature of the Polo Ground, being nicely and strategically placed every 10 to 15 feet apart. And not forgetting the aroma of exercise sweat mixed with rancid oil and spoiled food permeating around the so-called green lungs of Ipoh. How about including this as a special on The Sights and Sounds of Ipoh for Visit Perak Year 2012?
And I have yet to mention the unnecessary traffic congestion arising as a result of all these hawking activities!
And talking about vehicle traffic, why are so many motorbikes allowed into the Polo Ground compound? These young bikers ride into the compound along the walking paths meant for people who walk and they not only pose a threat to the latter’s safety but they are indeed also another source of air pollution! On the evening of October 24, my eyes nearly popped out when I witnessed a white Kancil, full of passengers, driving into the Polo Ground along the walking path all the way to the toilet area! What exactly is happening to the civic-mindedness of Ipohites? Something is indeed very amiss with our whole education system!
While this rape of the Polo Ground is being played out, I sincerely hope that the other green lung of Ipoh, Kledang Hill in Menglembu, will be spared a similar fate. We, as true sons and daughters of Ipoh, should do our best to prevent the hawking disease from blatantly spreading anywhere else. After all, we all know that there is a time and place for everything in life, including exercising and eating.
I rest my case for now. I pray that our Mayor and his team of councillors can and will find the time to look into this matter and make a firm decision as regards the future fate of the Polo Ground. By taking up this case, hopefully he can arrest the disease and prevent it from further metastasis.
Tan Hwai Chin