1 Pen Sketch. 15 Wrongs. 1 Prayer.

After 3 months, the ink pens and Sharpies are out and leaving blazing trails on paper! It felt good to get the mental images out on paper.

That girl is me. This is everything I feel of KL put into one drawing. I used black only and unlike my previous ink drawings, I didn’t think it was necessary to fill it with colour digitally because KL never has bright blue skies anyway.

1) Tall buildings are fine. But they are so haphazardly built. Town-planning at its worst.

2) All existing signboards and “flat public surfaces” like walls, poles and electric boxes are plastered with loan shark stickers, which can be really dangerous, especially on traffic signs. A first for me was seeing the ah longs on the job.

3) Poor drainage system and clogging of drains from trash (the same for anywhere else in Malaysia).

4) Traffic congestion.

5) Lack of enforcement despite legislation regarding eatery cleanliness.

6) The immense construction of a network of roads, highways and fly-overs which are not necessary should public transportation be improved. (KTM, please take note.)

7) Enforcement (again) regarding the putting up of banners. Are licences given out to that many parties to put up banners? If that’s the case, there must be some ‘under the table’ activities going on. If it isn’t the case, then enforcement is at its weakest. But that’s not new. Makes me want to pat the back of the ‘Banner Slasher’.

8 ) The litterbug problem. Malaysians have not ditched the habit of dumping trash on streets. Definitely far from the ‘cultured’ people we deem ourselves.

9) The lack of greens.

10) The lack of uniformity. (Due to different municipalities.)

11) The terrible preservation of pre-war buildings. The architecture pre-war buildings never fail to amaze me because the artistry surpasses all of that in modern buildings. It’s craft by craftsman. Tiled roofs are replaced by zinc sheets, paint peel off the walls which are chipped and cracked, bad modifications to the structure, wooden shutter windows that are falling off, or simply demolished to make way for grey skyscrapers.

12) Consumerism. I finally understand how people can become shopaholics. It wasn’t evident in Ipoh. It is in KL. Everywhere ads scream “BUY BUY BUY!”. It’s frightening how much influence they exert over people (myself included). For this, I have repented and made a vow of abstinence!

13) Incessant ciggie puffing.

14) Pedestrian unfriendliness.

15) Vice. Prostitution especially, breaks my heart. The authorities know of it. But nothing is done.

I commute by train from Ipoh to KL. It’s rolling limestone hills and grassy land all the way until KL. The sky suddenly turns grey, and I’m not exaggerating. It’s oppressive and I constantly feel so.

After a long and deep chat with my brother, we came to a conclusion that I am:

1) Batman, because KL is like Gotham – dark, full of vice, in need of a hero! (And Batman happens to be my favourite comic superhero.)
2) Tarzan, because he couldn’t stand the hypocrisy of civilisation and corruption in the city.

Yes I know I’ve been the biggest complainer since I came to KL. But something keeps tugging at my heart daily that someone needs to get the ball rolling for positive change in Malaysia. Someone told me that now I see things as ‘so wrong’ but I would eventually come to a stage where I would resign to accept things the way they are. I don’t want to see corruption, illegality and vice be kings of the streets. I pray that that day of acceptance never comes. I pray that I’ll never lower my standards and see wrongs as norms. I pray that you will never too.


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