Engage Engineers, Not Doctors, To Control Dengue

by M. Bakri Musa

Florida in the summer has the same hot and humid climate as Malaysia. Its topography too is like Malaysia, with plenty of swamps and other stagnant bodies of water. Unlike Malaysians however, Floridians are not regularly threatened with outbreaks of dengue.

The secret is not that Florida has more and better doctors than Malaysia (although that is true) rather that Florida engages its civil engineers and not medical doctors to control vector-driven diseases like dengue. That is much more effective as well as cheaper, both in financial costs and human suffering.

While it is commendable that Dr. Ismail Merican, the Ministry of Health’s Director-General, is spearheading public awareness of dengue during this latest outbreak – the most severe – he is not the best person to do that. Neither his professional background nor his regular duties prepares him for this awesome responsibility. His ministry is not the most appropriate agency to undertake this monumental task.

Like Florida, we should engage civil engineers in local councils and the Ministry of Works, instead of medical doctors in local hospitals and the Ministry of Health. If those engineers could get away from their air-conditioned offices, they would notice those stagnant drains, silted ponds, and ditches with overgrown weeds. If those officers could brave the stench and examine closer, they would see mosquito larva luxuriating in the stagnant waters.

The solution is not to pour toxic chemicals into the water or fog them into the air. Yes, that would be effective, but those same chemicals could eventually leach into our water tables and poison us, that is, if we have not already inhaled them. Get rid of the stagnant water and you would kill off the larva. No larva, no adult mosquitoes, and no vectors to spread the dengue virus.

There is of course a major role for the Ministry of Health. The most obvious is to educate the public and health professionals in recognizing and treating the disease early. The other is in collaborative research with international agencies for prevention (as in vaccine development) as well as treatment. Its Public Health Division could develop sophisticated surveillance strategies using the Internet, GPS, cell phones, and traps laced with chemicals to attract pregnant mosquitoes so as to get real-time information so we could initiate effective and immediate interventions, as the Brazilians are doing.

Learning Favors The Prepared Mind

Many Malaysian doctors, engineers and civil servants visit Florida. What they remember of their experiences there are Mickey Mouse and the Magic Castle. Few would notice the well-trimmed parks, underground drains, and smooth flowing streams. And of course, the absence of pesky mosquitoes!

Those visitors would not realize that the beautiful marinas with their posh waterfront restaurants they patronized were once mosquito-infested swamps. Through the marvels of modern civil engineering, those once sources of pestilence are now major tourist attractions.

Malaysia spends considerable sums sending its officers abroad so they could learn how to improve things back at home. However, to modify Pasteur’s famous quote, learning favors only the prepared mind. You have to know ahead what you want to learn; you have to know your deficiencies so you could actively seek out to remedy them. Meaning, there would have to be considerable preparations beforehand and at home if you were to maximize the learning potential of your overseas trip. If it is only a vague notion of “wanting to learn something new,” then you would only be a tourist.

I once had some senior civil servants visit me at my modest suburban California home. They were impressed with the neighborhood, and yet when I queried them what exactly they found attractive, they could not answer.

Only when I pointed them out would they realize that there were no overhead power and phone lines (all underground), no open storm drains (all covered), and no front yard fences or tall walls to blight the open, park-like ambience of the neighborhood.

When they saw the clean sidewalks and well-trimmed side-street lawns, they attributed that to American city councils being efficient providers of municipal services. That may be true. However, I reminded them that homeowners are responsible for keeping the sidewalks and lawns well cared, for if they do not they would not only be fined but also have to reimburse the city for doing that job for them.

When living in Johor Baru in the 1970s I paid my gardener extra to cut the weeds and unclog the drains outside my compound. He initially reminded me that those were the responsibilities of the Town Council. However when I gently chided him in not wanting to increase his income, he readily complied. He could not comprehend why I would do something that should have been done by the “authorities.” He could not appreciate the benefits I would enjoy. At the very least I would not have to endure the stench of clogged drains or risk my children being bitten by snakes.

I could readily excuse my poorly-educated gardener for his narrow perspective. However my neighbors there included a banker and a corporate executive; they too shared my gardener’s view!

I once suggested to my father’s neighbors in Seremban that if they were to contribute a few thousand ringgit each, their neighborhood could have sidewalks and covered storm drains. That would reduce the mosquito population, as well as the stench and unsightliness of plugged drains.

They balked at the added expense, rationalizing that they have already paid their cukai pintu (assessments). It is the responsibility of the Town Council, they argued like my gardener earlier, in between slapping themselves trying to kill the pestering mosquitoes. Yet the costs of these “common space” improvements would be a fraction of what they spent for their gilded gates and high brick fence walls. Had they gone beyond their narrow concerns, they would have gotten not only a functionally wider streets but also safe sidewalks, quite apart from making their neighborhood healthier.

They would also recoup many times more their investments through the increased in property values.

Septic tanks are also major breeding grounds. They should be banned in urban areas anyway; houses and buildings there should be connected to a central sewer system instead. Nevertheless, an engineer from East Malaysia successfully invented a system (light Styrofoam balls placed in the venting pipes of these tanks) that would allow gases to escape but not mosquitoes. This device should be mandated in all septic tanks.

Then there are civil engineering innovations as having V-bottom storm drains with a U-shaped channel in the center so as to maintain fast flow during low volumes. The usual flat-bottom channels would have puddles of stagnant pools during the dry season.

Personal Actions

Mosquitoes have a range of about half a mile. Even if you were to keep your drains flowing and your yards trimmed, but if your neighbors were slothful, you still would have to endure the nuisance of mosquitoes. Hence a neighborhood approach is needed.

Those factors notwithstanding, there are still many things that individuals can do to minimize the threat of dengue. Installing screens on doors and windows is one; another would be using insecticide-impregnated or even plain mosquito nets, though that is more effective against malaria rather than dengue, which is spread by daytime mosquitoes.

Covering your body as much as possible is also protective. You do not need to be in a burka if that is not your sartorial style; light-colored long-sleeved shirt or blouse, with a sarong, long skirt or pants would achieve the same result.

Even an umbrella is useful. Not only does it protect you against the blistering sun, the constant movement of the umbrella causes micro turbulence underneath it, enough to discourage mosquitoes.

Our officials need not venture far to learn these things. If they have paid attention to their colonial predecessors, our officials would know the importance of cleaning up drains during the dry season so that they would not be clogged with the inevitable rains. I learned that during my childhood days watching those coolies employed by the Public Works Department scraping the drains. And this was long before I even heard of Florida and Disneyworld.

  1. #1 by OrangRojak on Monday, 2 February 2009 - 12:37 pm

    One of the things that strikes me most about living in Malaysia is the dismal state of public areas. I sometimes stop and chat on my way to my daughter’s school to the one-eyed Indian man who speaks better English than many of my neighbours, standing on top of a ‘whale’ of grit and dogsh!t, scratching at it with what would be a broom, if it had more than two twigs attached to the end of it. He wears a local authority tee-shirt and pants, and has recently been promoted – he now has gumboots instead of slippers. He’s a cheery soul, as one would hope, given the gargantuan task of street cleaning (even with proper tools) in my neighbourhood. One of the first words my daughter learned was “sh!t!”, as she gets to practice it every 2 metres on the way to school. My wife tells me she can correctly identify dog turds in 4 different languages.

    We’ve stopped going to the playground in the local park, as it is almost ankle deep in cigarette butts and broken glass. Instead we go for a walk through a new housing development where they’ve added a footpath outside the largest bungalows. An old fellow (he might have been of Chinese ancestry once, he long ago reached that age where his bones contribute more to his appearance than his skin) that we see walking around the neighbourhood laughs at us for walking on the ‘piaoliang’ footpath. The bungalow driveways are built to the road’s edge, so that the footpath has a treacherous drop and rise at each driveway. Where builders have drilled through the new footpath to get at conduits below, they’ve left the holes badly repaired, or covered with ‘widow maker’ lids. The old fellow explains that the road is safer for him.

    The local authority do come around fogging from time to time, usually after someone is taken to hospital with dengue. There’s no warning, besides the hum of the hand-held fogging machine (can the man with the handkerchief tied around his face get life or medical insurance in that line of work?). The fogging itself is quite welcome, if you manage to get out of the house first. By the time the foggers come, we’ve usually spent weeks moaning about the number of mosquitoes inside the house (we have nets on all windows and vents, and keep our doors shut). The fogging appears to be very effective – it’s usually at least 6 months before we notice an increase in mosquito numbers again. We get to meet the neighbours too, as the fog and winds drive us together like dogs herding sheep. We all walk around the neighbourhood together, trying to predict the shortest route to avoid the fog.

    I’m in Malaysia for a break. I did tell my wife I’d get a job at a University, or ‘something high-tech’ when we came here, but I changed my mind after I’d been here a few months. Now I’m ‘withholding labour’, waiting for a change in Malaysian society so I want to work to support it. Not having an income is far from ideal, but principles are expensive. Malaysia is a very cheap place to live without an income (actually, my wife has an income, which I tell her is the same as me having an income, but she doesn’t agree).

    One of the things I wish was less cheap in Malaysia is local authority charges. In the UK, we lived in a comparatively low-charging area, and paid a fixed per-(small)-household charge of about RM8000 annually (from our net income) for street maintenance, rubbish collection, rural public transport and other local authority services (I believe fire, police, ambulance and education may also have been in there). The larger the house, the greater the charge. In Malaysia we pay just over RM200 annually.

    I think we got better value for money in the UK. The RM8000 did at least get perfectly smooth footpaths, cleaner than a table in a Malaysian kopithiam, so that old people could use their rolling walking aids without difficulty. Footpaths ran everywhere, not just in front of the mansions belonging to those least likely to walk, but from old people’s houses to the local shops, with road crossings on raised sections, where those on foot had right of way. The gutters were scrupulously clean, so that rainwater ran away the instant it fell. Public areas were completely litter and dogsh!t free.

    Some of my neighbours worked for the local authority, emptying bins and cleaning streets, others were dentists and architects. All their children went to the same local school. Bakri Musa’s poorly-educated gardener had a narrow perspective because Bakri Musa and all his friends prevented the poor batsard from doing any better by supporting an enrich-your-friends-and-fcuk-the-rest society for decades.

    Your colonial oppressors did use coolies, and probably to great effect. But that was because they were enjoying the benefits of being oppressors. Malaysians need to exercise a little more breadth in their own thinking, and observe that your ex-oppressors no longer employ coolies in their more attractive neighbourhoods, but well paid, hard working individuals who have a job and families with their own needs and dreams just like everyone else.

  2. #2 by dawsheng on Monday, 2 February 2009 - 12:42 pm

    BN government is collapsing, they are saving themselves first before they can engage engineers to clear the drains to save you.

  3. #3 by alberttye on Monday, 2 February 2009 - 1:35 pm

    Most, if not all, Malaysians do not want to spend their own money to spruce up the common places under the municipality’s responsibility is probably because:
    1) They feel that if they pay, the local government wil have more money for other “unaccounted” expences which they have seen enough in the past 50 years of poor governance.
    2) The present public spiritedness is as such that no one would find worthwhile to do the good deed as the party in power had hoodwinked quite a number of people with its racialist slogons for so long.
    Sorry the condition is just not there until probably after a change of government !

  4. #4 by A true Malaysian on Monday, 2 February 2009 - 1:35 pm

    Bakri Musa,

    Thanks for sharing. Let’s start with the ideas with states under PR. But, if Federal govt is not under PR, such ideas are hard to be implemented, unless they can treat governments (ie at state and federal levels) as not being owned by either BN or PR.

  5. #5 by waterfrontcoolie on Monday, 2 February 2009 - 2:00 pm

    The problem actually starts with the local authorities who have the final say in the housing projects. The whole set-up in any locality is never coordinated and is left to the developers to ‘take care’ only of their immediate environment. Hence the drains are seldom connected, and if connected may differ in size ans quality.
    To me the local authorities are actually USELESS and it is a waste of money to have them; afterall they are not responsible for their actions!
    On planning for housing and related land developement, it would be more practical to have a State level body to be directly responsible and accountable. Let the local authorities take care of the rubbish collection. Most of our States are relatively smallish and a single planning authority for the State should be enough!
    Stagnant water and related issues are the main cause of this problem; with s single body doing the planning , the party concerned may not be able to point its finger elsewhere for excuses!

  6. #6 by Saint on Monday, 2 February 2009 - 2:53 pm

    Dr. Musa is joking. How to teach anything to those who “graduated” via “below average to matriculation” students who claim themselves to be professionals. All is just a waste of time and energy. Just change the government.

  7. #7 by monsterball on Monday, 2 February 2009 - 3:13 pm

    The bottom line is educating and the villagers that live in swampy areas….how to be clean and follow up with monthly checks.
    Then we have enough trucks…helicopters..to spray whatever needed to kill mosquitoes.
    No need to learn from Florida.
    Is Bakri Musa trying to part a message and also trying to impress us…that he has been to USA?
    How about Australia…Brunei and S’pore?
    Yes….Change the government.
    We are their bosses. No good workers must be terminated!!
    Since the contract is until next election….lets do that.
    What say you…. Bakri Musa??

  8. #8 by chengho on Monday, 2 February 2009 - 4:56 pm

    The biggest problem is within the Pakatan rule state…

  9. #9 by Thor on Monday, 2 February 2009 - 5:04 pm

    PM can do flip flop!
    DPM can lie!
    So, in Bolehland! what else cannot be done?
    Apa pun boleh!!!

  10. #10 by Thor on Monday, 2 February 2009 - 5:07 pm

    Not forgetting “Bozo” the clown, can be home minister too!

  11. #11 by chiakchua on Monday, 2 February 2009 - 6:12 pm

    I’m not sure if those fellows who do the fogging are directly under the jurisdiction of Majlis Perbandaran or have to be advised by officers from Ministry of Health (Federal body). If it is under Majlis, the 5 states under PR should show good example! This would be good testimony for the next election. I’m sure someone who has a sound mind, committed to care for others will be able to do the job nicely. Yes, some engineer must look into the effectiveness of ‘fogging’ or some other method has to be used. Personally I’m doubtful if the way the fogging is done is effective to eradicate the growth of larvae; I don’t think the chemical gets down to the stagnant water effectively.

  12. #12 by Taxidriver on Monday, 2 February 2009 - 6:52 pm

    Dr. Bakri,
    Your article is very informative. I like it. But as long as our town council officers do not have the proper work attitude to carry out their job responsibly, things will remain as they are. I once complained to our area town council about a leaked sewage pipe on my friend’s behalf, who told me that nothing was done despite numerous complaints. The officer attended to my complaint said that the area in question will be taken over by Indah Water very soon. When I reasoned with him to at least do something before the takeover by Indah, he agreed, reluctantly though. And…….do you know what he did? He tore a small piece of paper from the newspaper which was on his table and took down my name and the location. So you can see their work attitude!! And just to let you know, three weeks after the complaint, the residents pulled together their contributions and engaged a private contractor. So, how can we compare malaysia with other countries?

  13. #13 by tjwork on Monday, 2 February 2009 - 9:53 pm

    Hi all,

    OrangRojak, I share your view, especially since i was staying in various parts of Europe before coming back.

    Since we are young, we re taught that anything that happens outside our house compound is not our problem. its the authorities problem. I didnt learn this from home, but in primary school.

    Since my dad travels alot at work, we moved often, & at one time I was staying in a malay kampong, which I might say, never encountered any racial or religious issues. My friends will eat at my house or we will shelter at the surau when it rains, no problems at all.

    We had some informal gotong royong, and the beauty of it is that when some one starts to gotong royong to clean up, all the neighbors follow with it, no questions asked, everyone cleaned up around the area. Then the wifes will bring us cakes & tea.

    I miss this environment where all of us get along so well.

    Anyway. I must agree that we cant rely on the authorities to do all the work, we should pitch in as well. But considering whats happening, many would prefer not to do their part even if they could, why:

    1. They feel its not their job to clean outside their area.

    2. They feel that they paid way too much for the Dewan/Majilis * to do the work. In fact they didnt do good job at all.

    3. Its not safe outside. Many that I know will not risk being seen outside their home working, unaware of who is watching them.

    With the current issue in hand. The doctors can only treat & provide recommendations to patients.

    And engineers can only identify & analyze situations when outbreaks happen with the feedback from the doctors or cdc.

    To solve this problem effectively, We need a third party that is unbias to the docs & engineers & only focus on solving this problem.

    Perhaps, They could:

    1. Create a task force, Its all about PR, get a number Posted, email & web information to tackle the issues.

    2. Get feedback from people. Im very sure when you ask someone, they will complain. Use this opportunity to identify the hotspots & send a team to test, analyze & fog the area.

    3. Contact the people again & get their evaluations.

    4. What would help is that they monitor this problem & liaise with the people without over promising them, there must be a time range to resolve the issue, And if it takes too long, someone must be accountable.

    5. Perhaps it help some people, there could be a custom service to do this fogging coordinated by the majilis (i hope without corruption) to help those that are willing to pay for a better overall service.

  14. #14 by DannyKay on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 - 1:38 am

    One need not look afar at the US or Europe, just take a peek across the causeway to Singapore and one would realised that design for any project have to comply with the regulations and requirements of the Building Construction Authority and Ministry of Environment to prevent stagnant water in roof gutters, drainage, etc.

  15. #15 by Onlooker Politics on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 - 2:32 am

    “Mosquitoes have a range of about half a mile. Even if you were to keep your drains flowing and your yards trimmed, but if your neighbors were slothful, you still would have to endure the nuisance of mosquitoes. Hence a neighborhood approach is needed.” (M. Bakri Musa)

    Throughout the whole passage of M. Bakri Musa, I find that the above paragraph is the most impressive one. The world renown clean cities like Singapore and Kota Kinabalu would also find problems with Dengue outbreak. Therefore there may not be a high correlation between Dengue outbreak and the competency of civil engineers who are being employed by the Town Councils.

    It is also questionable to compare Florida’s climate to that of Malaysia. As far as I know, the northern part of Florida is situated in the temperate zone. Most insects cannot survive during the winter in some densely populated cities in Florida like Pensacola, Tampa, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Titusville, De Land, Sarasota, Sanford, Orlando, Bartow, Clearwater, and Dade City. The floridan cities which are said to have similar hot and humid climate like that of Malaysia may be Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, Naples, and Key West, which are situated at the southern part of Florida.

    Even in the southern part of Florida, we will still find that the sea breeze may be too cold for insects like mosquitoes to proliferate and survive for a long period of time.

    Instead of learning from Florida, it is much better for Malaysians to learn from our close neighbour, i.e. Singapore. The Singaporean Government has identified that the water-captured flower vases and flower pots are the major mosquito nursery beds. Therefore it is highly advisable for Malaysians to learn to add some salt into the water of the flower vases and sow some salt at the base of the flower pots. This idea looks very simple but it works well to control the proliferation of the mosquitoes in our living compounds.

    No matter what, to maintain the environmental cleanliness and to eradicate all the water retention media in our living compound and workplace at individual’s initiative are the most important steps towards a safer living environment which is free from the threat of mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya or Malaria.

  16. #16 by k1980 on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 - 9:14 am

    Forget about mosquitoes. Vampires are more important to eradicate. The latest made-in-malaysia blockbuster is coming to town. –>http://crete.globat.com/~mob1900.com/temp/blogpics3/mob1900_buying_them_over.jpg

  17. #17 by Thor on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 - 12:10 pm

    Mosquitoes sucks blood but some kind of idiot sucks all of our money.
    Who do we engage then???

  18. #18 by rainbowseahorse on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 - 1:31 pm

    In most cases, city hall need to hire cleaners to keep open drains unclogged to prevent stagnant water becoming breeding ground for mosquitoes.
    I have personally seen such clogged drains which are infested with thousands of mosquito larva.

    If the government can hire full time cleaners to keep some beaches clean, then they can also hire cleaners to keep open drains clean and free flowing.

  19. #19 by OrangRojak on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 - 1:36 pm

    Who do we engage then???
    Must…not…post…silly…comments. It’s no good, either you need GhostBusters or….

    If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… The A-Team

  20. #20 by alaneth on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 - 2:17 pm

    IEM can help to solve this problem……

    There’s this Civil & Environmental Engineering program in UPM…

  21. #21 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 - 11:11 pm

    “Malaysians need to exercise a little more breadth in their own thinking, and observe that your ex-oppressors no longer employ coolies in their more attractive neighbourhoods, but well paid, hard working individuals who have a job and families with their own needs and dreams just like everyone else.” OrangRojak

    Coolies?? Which one? The origin of the word can be traced back to the 18th century. The Tamil ‘quli’, Hindi ‘quli’ or the Bengali ‘kuli’?? Or even the Urdu ‘kuli’? Or the Turkish ‘kole’ meaning slave? Whatever it means, in Malaysia if you leave your wife to do all the work, it is said you’re making her your coolie.

    Care should be taken, however, not to confuse ‘kuli’ with Tengku Razaleigh.

  22. #22 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 - 11:12 pm


    Coolies?? Which one? The origin of the word can be traced back to the 18th century. The Tamil ‘quli’, Hindi ‘quli’ or the Bengali ‘kuli’?? Or even the Urdu ‘kuli’? Or the Turkish ‘kole’ meaning slave? Whatever it means, in Malaysia if you leave your wife to do all the work, it is said you’re making her your coolie.

    Care should be taken, however, not to confuse ‘kuli’ with T*engku R*azaleigh.

  23. #23 by taiking on Wednesday, 4 February 2009 - 8:49 am

    And there is actually a good reason why in florida engineers were engaged for the job. They are definately one bunch of practical people. Its their training from day one in university. They dont deal in hypothesis at all. They identify problems and solve them.

  24. #24 by kingkenny on Wednesday, 4 February 2009 - 11:41 am

    One look at GLCs’ employees and you would know that all these companies are collaborating with the government in legalizing “get-rich-quick-scheme” just like what Citizen Nades was writing today in the Sun.

    To summarize it: “THEY (government & local authorities) JUST DON’T CARE! As simple as that, whether you are paying cukai or not! Period. It’s all about the dough.

    I have mentioned it before in this blog, that our filthy politicians and their filthy businessmen friends are plundering the country’s wealth.

    Malaysia is a country where a human is not valued (very honest view). Malaysia is in the state it is in now because of her own doing with the government as the leading cause.

    As all of us knows, one way to improve the quality of service in this country (or any country for that matter) is to improve its people.

    And how do we improve its people? People will to need to have a certain level of living standard that could satisfy their personal and family needs. This is possible by getting a good salary. How can a person concentrate on giving his best service while his home is in shambles and is worrying over the next meal?

    Let give me you an example, restaurants in Malaysia. We used to see locals working in Chinese, Indian and Malay restaurants, somehow, not long ago, they disappeared. The main reason is of course the low wages and the non-existent employee benefits.

    So, there we have the start of the influx of foreign workers into our restaurants – Indians, Indonesians, Bangladeshis & etc. to do the “dirty & unglamorous job” of table waiting (waiter) / table cleaner / dish washer with a monthly salary of anywhere between RM450 to RM900. (10 years ago until now – the locals who are willing to do the job are asking between 1000 – 1800 per month and usually 1 month yearly bonus depending on the position, this is of course not accepted by local entrepreneurs even if they are making net profit of around half a million to few millions of ringgit annually).

    The influx of foreigners coupled with the “tidak apa” attitude of Malaysians created a chain reaction that is detrimental to the growth of our country and the people, or more precisely the lower income bracket. These foreigners are NOT investing in local services provider when they get their salary, but locals do, thus stimulating our local market with more purchasing power.

    From unhygienic food handling, food poisoning, diseases caused by foreigners who prepares food, bad service & etc., you name it…I am sure many of you agree but are less bringing it up because of troublesome, “tidak apa” attitude and many silly excuses. If we keep on like this, we will forever have this kind of sub standard restaurant preparing sub standard dirty food to us and our children. And it’s not going to stop and change for the better, a better and more sustainable way of doing things.

    With the next two years (2009 & 2010) mooted as possible catastrophic times ahead, I sincerely feel at the moment change has come too late for Malaysia. With everything skyrocketing and essential items being more expensive, we might find ourselves even more vulnerable from external influences, or by what one senile leader always said, colonialism (this bugger is one who don’t understand history and the purpose of mankind). And this is self inflicted.

    “The people are hungry: It is because those in authority eat up too much in taxes” – Lao Tzu

    The above saying by the great sage Lao Tzu summarize why I said the government is the leading cause of all inefficiencies and slow growth of our people. (It carries many indications, not just taxes, authority might mean employer or the government)

    If the levels below don’t advance, neither will the levels above. All will remain stagnant and lag behind the world and the need to progress in order to protect ourselves.

  25. #25 by kingkenny on Wednesday, 4 February 2009 - 12:01 pm

    I once traveled to Madrid. Most people (including our leaders) here would not have imagined how they manage a simple department like public works and services personnel like Spain.

    Those who collects garbage, street cleaners and other public works personnel there are young, tidy, well groomed and professional in their work. You could tell by the way they operate their machines and the way they carry out their work. By looking at them, one can tell that they are paid well and have a good life working as a garbageman.

    Unlike Malaysia, our garbageman here might not even be a local, most probably a foreigner, earning a meagre income that could barely buy three meals a day. Lives by the dumpsite, untidy, and does his job according to his given (or not given) resource.

    Ever notice our garbage truck letting out streams after streams of sweet smelling juices as they prod along the roads??!! (Quite often isn’t it?)

    Well, I don’t see that happening to garbage trucks in Spain for the six months I was there. Their public buses emits so much less fumes I just thought it’s surreal.

  26. #26 by StevePCH on Wednesday, 4 February 2009 - 10:32 pm

    LTL is sleeping, dengue and chikugunya on the sharp rise since last year.

    I did mentioned much earlier as in Karak, so many were infected with Chikugunya. It’s a very painful disease where joints are affected and body weakness persists even after a few months. sometimes years.

    Useless Health Minister. I would prefer previous Sex Health Minister over him.

    He does not know nuts bout health at all. Putting him there is pathetic. MCA is going down the drain with him. People in Bentong and Karak is so Mad with him and next round …. BYE BYE.

You must be logged in to post a comment.