Thursday, November 13, 2014

Highrise swallowing Bungalows, Semi-Ds and Terrace Houses.

Everywhere in and around Kuala Lumpur we see high-rise buildings going up to more than 30 storeys, coming up or already towering above the old town centres and residential areas. This is more notable in suburban areas where the poorer of the urban settlers had made their single or double-storey homes in the early days of history. The new highrise buildings stick out like glassy lego cubes in various shapes and forms.

The new condos and apartments cost close to or even more than RM1M per unit now. There's no way the average income earner can afford it unless he or she is willing to be in debt for almost throughout his or her life.
Only the business tycoons, the wealthy and rich and the novo riches ( especially those who got rich after coming to power in the political system), can afford them. In and around the multi-storied and closely bunched-up concrete and glass structures, are constructed modern infrastructural facilities that cause land and property prices in the area to shoot up like crazy.

Beautiful. That's development and modernisation. That's progress for the nation.But what happened to the older and poorer inhabitants of the area, now made tremendously poor in comparison. Living there becomes terribly expensive with assessment and property taxes going up according to the new rate imposed in the area, the price of consumer goods and services shoots up, and the entire social structure of the past is destroyed, including the traditional local culture. The new societal way of living with the ego of the rich, the crimes and lawlessness that greed and wealth bring in human society, and the 'mind your own business' attitude among the new settlers, can make the area so foreign to the old settlers'

More importantly, they might not have become rich and 'accultured' enough to survive in that area. They are swallowed by a new form of dog-eat-dog life where survival of the fittest is the rule and the rich and powerful dictates everything. Must we be surprised at all if society as a whole in a developing nation then becomes haughty and disrespectful towards each other (unless you're of the same class), differences become more meaningful than similarities, there's no social cohesion to hold communities together, and the population fall apart as the nations becomes more urbanised.

One needs only to look at the suburban areas of Kuala Lumpur and all the major towns and cities in Malaysia to note the impact of the new high-rise culture on the traditional way of life of the people. Other than the economic impact in terms of rising cost for property, land, assessment and taxes, price of consumer goods and services, the high-rise culture spreads a new kind of individualistic, self-centred and disruptive attitude
that destroyed all the ethics of hospitality, mutual respect (in terms of religion and multiracial trust). community cooperation and solidarity which Malaysians have developed in the years prior to the advent of the high-rise intrusion.

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