Wednesday, 12 November 2008

The Road Sign Brouhaha

Now the street well-known as a food haven to locals as well as tourists has got its old name back, Jalan Alor. Why changed it to Jalan Kejora in the first place? According to City Hall, it is to go with other road signs in the vicinity which are named after the stars. By the way, 'Kejora' is the Malay name for 'Venus'. How innocently appropriate! Known in the past for its cheap, hourly-rated hotels and seedy activities, the street has acquired a new reputation as a food haven, and the residents presumably have refused to be reminded of its past.

In Penang, another storm in the teacup is Malays' and UMNO's objection to the putting up of signboards and street names in various languages, specifically at the heritage enclave after UNESCO recognition as a world heritage site. A group that calls itself the Affiliation of Young Malay Graduates has filed an injunction to restrain the municipal council from putting up multilingual roadsigns, citing as a reason, the violation of Article 152 of the Federal Constitution which states that the Malay Language is national language.

However, anyone who has visited Putrajaya would have been struck singularly by the administrative capital's penchant for the use of 'precinct' now reworded as 'presint' for parts of the town and 'boulevard' for the streets. Strangely, there was no protest against their use.

In Bukit Bintang, there is also an Arab 'district' called "Ain Arabia" with a conspicuous concrete arch complete with Arabic inscriptions to proclaim its uniqueness and popularity as a haven for Arab tourists. The arch was put up by City Hall to make them feel at home. It must have warmed the cockles of their heart!

Nobody objected to the Arabic script of course as Jawi is derived from the Arabic script. what is more important are the tourist dollars as the Arabs are known to be big spenders.

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