Walk Your Talk

What I love about Penang is that the island probably has the largest number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which are active and take a strong interest in the island’s happenings. Although Penang is not hip in the KL sense, Penang has many activities for those who are interested in local culture and its peoples.
That’s how I found myself on the 4th floor of 60, Weld Quay two weeks ago, after huffing up many flights of cramped stairs. Nic and I got there just in time – Dr Choong Sim Poey or known affectionately as SP was giving a speech about what PenangWatch was all about.
PenangWatch is something that’s unique but it is also something which demonstrates the coming together of both people power and the Internet. The democratisation of the web makes it a level field for everyone. Once you are online, you are able to voice what you feel. It could be a strong opinion. Then again, it is often strong opinions.
It is not surprising to find Ong Boon Keong behind this endeavour. He’s soft-spoken, which is a surprise since we thought he’d be all fire and brimstone. He’s rather famous in Penang – he used to run an organic farm-cum-cafe (not too sure if he still does) and he’s connected to the SOS Penang movement.
The premise for PenangWatch is simple: it is a place for concerned and socially responsible Penangites to highlight matters which need to be rectified. This can mean anything from complaints about broken bus lights to unidentified telco trucks.
In fact, it’s stated on the website:
“Penang Watch has the twin objectives of encouraging the Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang to improve its performance by providing it with both positive and negative feedback; and empowering the citizens of Penang by enabling them to articulate their views of the local government through the electronic media.
Basically it means it’s time to stop complaining verbally and start being serious about what you’re pissed about. If you’re unhappy about something, tell the world about it in the Penang Watch website.
And each complaint needs to be verified – Ong and his Penang Watch team conduct the verifying (as the complainant, you will need to put your phone number so he can call you back to ask for more details) and for this I truly salute the man. How many of us can walk our talk? He would and he’d do it for the betterment of Penang. That’s something to think about, isn’t it?
So if you’re sick and tired of uncollected garbage, stinking drains, civil servant apathy and more, do hang out at the Penang Watch website at

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