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Half-Baked Efforts

DO people generally become more cynical as they grow older, or is it just me ? I can't help constantly analysing a situation over and over again if I think something is really wrong. Maybe it's just a need to question in me. 

Like when the state of local tourism upsets me, I complain. No, really. It even makes me angry and I'm quite embarrassed sometimes for all the products which are bundled-up in sub-standard packages when they have such great potentials among local and foreign tourists. Couple of weeks ago, I was on a local tour in the Kuala Langat district for some reason. Not exactly a place I'd voluntarily want to hang out but in that one day of going about the area, I noticed that efforts to promote the destinations were really just what you could term as half-baked. I visited a museum which had an exhibition space that was probably smaller than a jail cell (Okay, I'm exaggerating but really, why bother with it when it doesn't exactly WOW you. I was disappointed). We also made a stop at a rather iconic palace, which, if given the right care and attention, could be turned into a top attraction. I disliked the half-baked efforts by the authority in handling the tourism and restoration side of things with that one. 

Notice the stickers on our clothes 
And guess what. It happened again in Langkawi! We took an island-hopping tour on Sunday. Waited for the pick-up at the hotel. It came and dropped off a group of us at a jetty. No introduction of where we were headed to, and mind you, the van load of people were just not Mich and I, but also tourists from other parts of the world who spoke NO Malay. We were given the Tour Company stickers to stick on our clothes for easy identification and were later shoved into a boat. Tour guy started the engine and boat sped off. Where the hell were the life jackets ? Suddenly he remembered and turned around hastily to pass some over to the passengers. He noticed two passengers without seats, so in no time, he stopped the boat in mid waters and literally transfered them into another passing boat from the same company! 

We reached the first island - Dayang Bunting (Bunting literally means pregnant), and the tour guy turned around and asked in Malay if we saw a hill in the shape of a pregnant belly. No little stories of interest of the place or the courtesy to speak in a language like English for the benefit of the foreigners. The fella, then, proceeded to drop us off at the jetty, and left. Mich and I had no idea of what was on that island or how long we had there. It was about 10am. Oh well. We did go around and saw what we had to, and then waited. No idea of where or when we'd be picked up again. I had to randomly ask people who were equally lost about the pick-up! By which time, I was hungry and thirsty, and there was not a single place selling water. However, I did find a lady selling sling shots, yes sling shots! to keep naughty monkeys away from people. I can just imagine some random kids using those to target practice on the monkeys. It's a repulsive thought, isn't it ?

This is the Dayang Bunting's freshwater lake. It's cool because
you have this free fish spa here. Only thing is the fishes
that bite away your dead skin are not the standard 2-inch species.
Here you have full grown cat-fishes biting at you!
These are the sling-shots to keep away monkeys!
Maybe I should send this to Peta or WWF or something. 
These two kept us company while
we waited for the boat pick-up
at Dayang Bunting. 
There was no announcement of a second stop. The tour guy, who returned to pick us up pass noon, took us to this mangrove area where there were plenty of beautiful seagulls and eagles flying low. I learnt from another local tourist that it was our second island. No, there was no hopping off here. Less than five minutes later, the driver made a U-turn and headed to the third (and final) island - Beras Putih. It was pretty idyllic with clear waters and fine sand. This time, I asked the man in charge how much time we had at this beach. One hour. So we played in the sun and sand, and to wash off, I looked for a bathroom when someone told me that there was no toilet there! Can you imagine that? You bloody bring in tourists here by the boats, and there are no toilets for any sort of emergencies? 

It's gorgeous at Beras Putih
But where is the loo? 

So we were pretty glad to be back at the hotel, free and easy at our own pace again. Personally, I believe that tour management and tour-guiding make a whole lot of difference in defining one's holiday. I'll always remember some of my tour guides in my best holidays because they've made it all the more meaningful for me in some ways. It kind of makes me sad when I experience lack of information, hospitality and bad tour management in the tourism sector. That aside, this break has been quite different for me in the sense that I was actually on a land where booze was cheaper than a can of Coke but all I had were two Mojitos in four days. I guess the constant sound of waves and beach breeze to my face gave my body and mind the supplement they needed. 

Heading back home. I guess to retire with the sea waves in
my front yard, I'd still need to go back and work in the city,
possibly for a lifetime :)
Otherwise I'd always have
that cabinet well stocked up with more
than just cans of Coke ! 


  1. I can understand you being pretty disappointed with the tourism efforts, I mean tourism can bring so much money and good things into an economy and should be pushed and refined as much as possible, nothing annoys me more than a lack of effort. You're looking fabulous in that last photo too Jaya.

    1. true that, Matthew. it's a big industry now especially when flying is much more affordable than how it used to be. some destinations are so badly packaged that it's lame. i feel this way maybe because one of my dream jobs has always been a tour guide :)
      that's a result of cam-whoring :) thanks !

  2. Not sure if people anaylze things more when they get older as I always have, but tourism is a big business, if one doesn't help it along and grow they lose it. Awful about the monkeys too, some random kid would shoot them I'm sure.

    1. it's silly, really. we break into their habitat with a sling-shot. that's just going to make the monkeys to be more defensive, no ? stupid people with peanuts for brains.
      they were really entertaining i thought. i've never seen monkeys swim before and these were swimming like beavers in the ocean.

  3. I hope you give this tour company as much bad publicity as you can. Maybe you should start by informing the hotel, who might stop advertising their tours.

    1. yeah, GB. that's why i've decided to put it up here. now, i'll just have to make some calls.

  4. Never trust anyone with a sling shot, adult or child. What a frustrating experience that was for you. Where are people supposed to pee? I have a bladder the size of a thimble. I would die without a bathroom. As for cynicism, I think, yes, it gets worse as you get older, but then it kind of levels out and you become more mellow.

    Janie Lola

    1. they shouldnt be selling the sling shots in the first place. i should have bought one and hit the person who was selling them ! it was frustrating alright. pee in the sea ? hahahaha. but there should be bathrooms. being cynical isnt a bad thing i suppose. it probably just means one is seeing the whole picture clearly ? but yeah, some wont like it.

  5. I understand what you mean..i remember driving through 3 states and seeing billboard after billboard advertising this remarkable cave and wild life safari..hahaha it was like a petting zoo! and the kids were so disappointed!

    1. awww, sorry about that ! i would have been disappointed too. three states away for a petting zoo would have smoke out of my ears !

  6. No toilets? That's ridiculous

  7. Sounds like a lot of fun but I have to ask... Did they just have a really good sense of humor with the sling shot and the bathroom "NO TOILET HERE"... or were they serious? I can't imagine using a sling shot to keep a monkey away haha. You would think the NO TOILET HERE translates to, the toilet is in here but I really can't tell if it was a joke or not.

    1. as serious as a heart attack, Matt. i wish they had such sense of humour though :)

  8. Methinks cynicism comes with age. I know for a fact I was less of a cynic when I was younger.

    That said, the tour does sound terrible. I've taken local tours elsewhere before, and yes, they spoke to us in Malay, but then we are local and I had no complaints at all because they were good.

    On the other hand, Langkawi, as an international tourist destination should cater to the people who don't speak/understand Malay. No excuses.

    1. if everyone is able to understand Malay its alright i suppose but when there are foreigners, there should be common language understood by all.
      i mean we go through the public education system 11 years learning english :)

  9. Oh, I hear u Jaya... I come from a part of the world, which NatGeo once claimed it to be one of the top50 places to see.. but the way things go about are pretty shoddy.. its the feeling of 'soo much potential yet going to waste' that really bugs you.... however I like what the state government has been doing off late - once they realized that tourism can fill up the empty coffers, they started a set of awareness initiatives for the localites on friendliness, cleanliness and the like.. I won't say its working entirely however I like the state's initiative...

    Wow, no loo??? Damn!

    1. india is most def in my places to see :) i've seen some of your tourism ads and i think they're great, Raj.
      no loo, yes :(

  10. Yeah, I hear you about tourism. I get that way every time I see the NYC ads. BTW...awesome pics and stickers. :)

  11. The Monkey catapaults was shocking, i thought it was a joke at first. You never have much luck with travelling, but at least from your descriptions it sounded beautiful and your adventurous to go away from the hotel routes and in to country. Its pretty brave. The toilet thing reminded me of this column i read once of this person who went to Thailand to see the tigers . The monks look after the tigers and they say walk in the middle of the tiger ' If you walk behind, the tiger thinks your toilet and goes pee pee and if you walk in front tiger think your dinner'

  12. oh yikes. i think i'll be okay seeing the tigers in a zoo or something. getting pee-ed at by a tiger and worse, being its dinner dont appeal to me much :)

    1. Just keep one of the catapaults. And whack them on the nose. Anyway, tiger are not so bright, the ones in zoos are always losing at poker. They keep playing with a cheetah.


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