Thursday, March 29, 2007

An all seeing-eye? I think not...

A few of Malaysia’s more outspoken bloggers and columnists have attacked the Eye on Malaysia, saying there are better ways to spend money. I’ll reserve comment. All I can say is, you would think something called the “Eye on Anything” would offer a widespread, all-inclusive view.

If I had lived my whole life without ever visiting the Eye, I would have been happy. I suppose I could appear kiam siap to some people, but I just like to know that every cent I spend is going to a worthy cause. What constitutes worthy? With me, it’s complex. RM10 for a ticket to just any ol’ movie for mindless entertainment’s sake: fail. RM10 for an ice-cream cone and coloured gel pen to cheer myself up on a bad day: pass. And so on. I’m sure not everyone would agree, but they’re not living my life, so there. So, RM15 is not something I’d usually spend on a Ferris wheel ride, because I’ve never understood the attraction of Ferris wheels. And being nonconforming me, I’m resistant to hype, publicity and everything that hordes of other people are doing.

But I’ve recently begun attending a college zone cell group again, and someone wanted to go there, and that someone happens to be the one who drives most of us to cell.

Now that I’ve gone, all I can say is that the name is really misleading. There is so much more to Malaysia than the KL city centre and the surrounds of Tasik Titiwangsa. So much that you do not see at the Eye. What things, you ask? Why, things like...

... the indescribably yummy banana pancakes from Penang. The ones that are liberally sprinkled with sesame seeds, fried in Planta, and are probably your heart’s worst nightmare... but bliss on the taste buds.

... the beggars you see in larger Malaysian cities, who just about break your heart with their disfigured bodies and raggedy clothing... then raise your suspicions with their Starbucks collection cups.

... the still remarkably clear waters off Sabah, where exotic fish (including nasty little ones that bite, but don’t draw blood) live.

... the views you get driving on the PLUS highway on a clear day (when you can see foreeeeeeeeeeeverrrrrr... sorry). All that blue and green can just about blind you with its beauty. Just add one Brahmini kite out on his daily hunt, and... bliss.

... the visual and tactile beauty that is only found in Nyonya beadwork. One pair of finely crafted shoes takes up to 50 (wo)man hours to sew... and that’s before it’s even made up into a shoe.

There is so much more to this country than what you see from 60m above Tasik Titiwangsa. Beautiful things; ugly things. That contrast is what makes the fabric of a nation, the warp and the weft. Frustrations aside, all things considered, I love this country. But what did I see as the wheel went round and round? The affluence of the nearby homes. The glaring brightness of the Twin Towers. And the slow-moving traffic of downtown KL. If this Eye gives some people the only view they will ever have of Malaysia, I’m sorry for them indeed.

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