Monday, October 03, 2005

Reflections of Kuantan


A news vendor takes time to read his own papers while the early morning crowd is still slack, one of the few old shops that have been plying their trade along the pre-war shop houses found along Jalan Besar. Kuantan, Pahang, 2003.

Every time I return to Kuantan I am struck by how life is less hectic here as compared to elsewhere such as the likes of Kuala Lumpur, Penang or even Kota Kinabalu and that the rhythm and pulse of the city and its denizens seem to flow slowly yet steadily in the stream of progress. After all these years development hasn’t been too rampant as to cause disorientation and confusion, but at an even pace that allows you to catch you breath once in a while. Thus even with the gaps of time that precede ever leaving and return here, nothing much has really changed. True there are more buildings being erected, the empty lands beside my secondary school, once filled with wild yam, coconut palms and lalang is now being developed into a mall, Air Putih once a backwater is now turning into one of the most highly priced landed property in town, the kampungs of Galing and Bukit Sekilau are making way for double storey brick terrace houses and shop houses and even the church my family goes to where my first kindergarten was is now a new community hall. Progress won’t be stopped but maybe it’s for the best.

Though Kuantanites may not enjoy the high paced life of city dwellers, there are no high class hangouts for discos and pubs like Bangsar; the only posh coffee house is the lone Starbucks and even the local Kemaman Kopitiam; shopping is limited to several under rented malls with shops closing and reopening anew a common enough sight; cultural extravaganzas such as those held in Kl are non existent; traffic jams are not so bad as to want to make you pull your hair from your scalp but yet the town does offer a lot of other things. For one it still remains a good safe town to raise a family, crime is low, prices are not as inflated, people friendly (to a point), there are good food enough to keep your palate from wanting and if you need a break from work, the beaches are just a drive away or a visit to the local park isn’t too far off. There are no high rises or condos to mar the scenery, one which I find much appealing with the hills, Bukit Sekilau, Bukit Setongkol, and Bukit Ubi, hemming the town in and the sea so close by.

Yet for young people jobs are not always easy to find here, from my past friends and acquaintances, almost all have chose to leave Kuantan to build careers elsewhere mostly in Kl, Johor and Penang. It is ironic that I only appreciate how good life here has been only once I’ve ventured about elsewhere, I may not choose the option to work here in future, I hardly think they need a marine scientist about but it would be good to maybe return here later in life to start a family. Hopefully Kuantan will still remain as such in that distant time. Yet of all things the one thing I can be assured of is home, my room remaining intact and my family. But it also pains me to see that things are not always as it was, my dad is aging and isn't as he used to be, and my brother is touching puberty with his broken voice and disasterous pimple fiasco he calls a face. Times goes by and ever onward.

1 comment:

5xmom said...

Tell me what's the weather like in Kuantan? Is it the monsoon yet? We have a whole week of holiday next week but got nowhere to go.