Do we really need a theme park?

As a born-and-bred-and-work-and-live here Penangite, my answer is a definite and resounding NO!

What's the idea anyway? I've heard some people asking the new tourism exco member to think of getting some company or other to build a theme park on the island. I think it is a horribly bad idea! My reasons:

1. Traffic jams - the Penang bridge is already jammed most of the time and especially so during long weekends and holidays. We do not need more reasons for more cars to make a beeline to the island, thank you very much.

2. Environmental impact - it is already crammed on the island as it is and there is absolutely no more wide open spaces to build a theme park. The only way is to either reclaim more land or cut into hills, both of which are extremely bad for the environment.

3. Unesco world heritage site - we are promoting heritage, for goodness' sake! A garish, new fangled theme park will only serve to spoil it all.

4. It will never work anyway - yep, as with anything new in Penang, it will probably last for a year or two before the novelty wears off and suddenly, it is losing business and before long, the employees will be the only ones inside it.

5. Poor maintenance and lack of cleanliness - we all know about the relatively lack of civic mindedness amongst Penangites and Malaysians so the theme park will only end up dirty, smelly and stick out like a sore thumb, especially if it is poorly maintained.

6. It will drive away foreign tourists - let's face it. Ang Mohs from Europe, US, Australia or even fellow Asians from Japan and Hong Kong have better theme parks in the likes of Disneyland where they came from. How do you think you could compete with that? The only reason they came here is to relax, enjoy the sun, do some shopping of so-called pirated local products and hopefully not get robbed blind by taxi drivers and traders while here. So, theme parks will not draw in foreign tourists at all.

I can think of a myriad of other reasons but it is best that I keep it to myself for now. So, do we really need a theme park? Yeah, sure, like I need a poke in my eye with a red-hot fork.

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