For all the beauty of Redang which I personally think is a world-class ranking island resort for a perfect break-away and for divers and snorkellers , I must commend the operators of the many private-owned chalets, guest-houses and resorts sprouting with "visit Malaysia Year" and the increased influx of tourists from as far away as France and Singapore, just to come and enjoy our breath-taking coral world under-sea....there is sadness within me to say the least,as in my observation in the total lack of conscience or understanding in two very important and key factors of the tourism board of Terengganu ! This was our 2nd. trip to Redang Island !
First is the journey ( if you are not flying direct by Berjaya Air !) for lesser beings like me who have to drive all the way to Terengganu, and then to reach the island by high-powered speedboats...well...here is the sickening part, I had to actually demand from the pilot of the boat at the jetty before departure, for life-jackets be given out to all 25 of us , and with a dirty a look and mumbling curses under his breath, the boat operator reluctantly handed them out to us...and he sarcastically insist I use one(for he thought I was out to create trouble !) which he had pulled out from god-knows-where and which was also soaking wet ! Can you imagine ,me all dry and neatly dressed in my beach-shorts and "pagoda" t-shirt...and so early in the morning too ! After securing the life-jackets on almost all, especially the kids, our terror ride began....you could see the nervous look on all parents holding on tightly to their kids or wifes'..... and not much was said by anyone (guess they were contempleting the different ways to strangle/maime or even kill the pilot of the boat, should anything 'unpleasant' happen !) during the, close to an hour's ride, to the island when I also noticed a sign beside the pilot's seat..."untuk 12 penumpang sahaja"!.... although the sea was not so choppy this morning..... I shuddered to imagine this ride during the rainy season... but wait...hey,...we still have to endure the return journey, right ? Ohh... man...I gotta stay sober, then, sheesh...sigh !
Now if only the moron of a pilot HAD insisted on all to wear life-jackets immediately upon setting foot on the jetty, without me demanding for one.....guess, that can be answered only when a tragedy happens, right !!..... does anyone give a damn for safety ? Surely not the boat operators nor the officials from the state government to make it mandatory....so the morons in the respective enforcement agencies...Think Safety First !
And the second sad and unforgivable sight was at the Terengganu state-government- run "maritime park"......(my apologies for the "not sharp" photos - actually was taken hurriedly with my wife's cell-phone camera !) but the message is clear people.....gross over-crowding !!
Man, oh man... it is pathetic to say that there were way too many people at any one time...I could easily count at least 600-700 people from all the different resorts(different coloured life-jackets...see the private owned resorts insists their guest conform to rules and wear the jackets at all times out to sea !) nearby converging in a patch of sea not larger then a football field !! And nobody is issued a receipt as each person is charged RM5.00 cash only, on the way to this "park" by the boat operator, so to actually say there WERE indeed that many people is a fallacy...probably the government servants manning the booth are in cahoots with the resort operators !(anyway who cares if they make a little on the side ? Seriously do you ??)
Now if they, the Terengganu state-government-run officials and the Tourism Board or otherwise collectively known as morons-(can't help coining Pasquale's favorite phrase here-very appropriate !! ) can structure a time-table for all resort operators to send their guests at different times during the day and ban all snorkellers from wearing flippers or beach-shoes and not lump all of the holiday-makers at the same time,in this one place, now that would be nice , right ? Respect Nature, it is God's gift to us...lets not screw it up like we do to ourselves !
I beg of all Malaysians, please show a lot of respect to the wonderful coral creation and all life-forms under the sea that is ours to appreciate..... it won't be long before they vanish completely, judging by the way, especially our local tourists, are clamouring with their snorkeling equipment and I even saw in disbelief one dumb-bugger wearing flippers, standing on a huge coral and gestering to his friends to view, with goggles, at his feat ! Sheeeesh !
*My apologies for these bad photos, thats the best I could do, sorry !