Must progress be ugly?

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One may criticise nostalgia for stemming from excessive idealism or a bad memory. Be that as it may, it does act as a reminder of things we should not ignore. If nothing else, it can get us to revisit what had been, what could have been, and what should not have been. Most of all, it can help us imagine what can still be.

It seems to me that in the last couple of decades, Penang, especially George Town, has been allowed to develop haphazardly. If I have to use one word to describe what numerous parts of it look like these days, it would have to be “tacky”. I use it in the sense of one of the definitions provided by the online Urban Dictionary – “in bad taste”. I was born and bred in Penang and lived there till the ripe old age of 25, when I moved to Kuala Lumpur.


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