A walk on the wild side of life

Not many cities and towns in this country of ours provide enough parks and botanical gardens, if at all, for their urban occupants. In George Town, Penang, the luxuriant Botanic Gardens is one of the few green places that have been left untouched so far by the callous hands of certain developers and politicians.


According to the Gardens’ website:


The Penang Botanic Gardens, more popularly known as “Waterfall Gardens”, was established by the British way back in 1884 from an old granite quarry site. It lies in a deep valley, at the foot of 366 feet jungle clad hills, bound by evergreen tropical rainforests, divided by a cascading stream that meanders through a sprawling 29 hectares of prime and undulating grounds.


Its lush greenery and tranquil setting makes it a favourite park and a popular tourist attraction. It is Penang’s unique natural heritage, being the only one of its kind in Malaysia. Besides, being a repository of flora & fauna, unique to the country and to the region, it serves as a “green lung” for metropolitan Penang.


The flora and fauna of the Gardens is not only a feast to the human eyes, but also serves as a good reminder that Man (and Woman) cannot be divorced from their natural environment.



The smells of the trees, the flowers, the grass and the fresh air are simply exhilarating. They can be an effective, if temporary, balm for one’s stressed-out life.


It is therefore not surprising that the Gardens has become a favourite spot for the urban Penangites to simply enjoy the natural habitat, and to walk, jog or run. Additionally, the noise from the lurking monkeys, the chirping birds, the human chatter, the kids’ howling, and the endless splash of the waterfalls make a beautiful cacophony.


People do other things as well in the Botanic Gardens, such as jungle trekking, aerobic dance, treasure hunt, school band and Qigong, the kinds of activities that make the place pleasurable and enjoyable.




In other countries, parks are not only meant for the preservation and protection of natural habitat, but also double up as a place for recreational activities, such as outdoor musical entertainment, sports, etc. In a sense, such activities serve a useful purpose of forging social interaction among the people, apart from encouraging the appreciation of the natural habitat.


What I am trying to say here is that town planners, politicians, developers and other related people, must always be reminded of the fact that greenery, parks and gardens (not the Taman Sri XXX variety) are as essential as, if not more valuable than, commercial buildings, housing estates and apartments. Cities and towns must be planned and built for human beings, not humanoids.



Available green space in cities and towns should not be almost automatically earmarked for ‘development’. There must be a deliberate policy and concerted efforts on the part of policymakers to preserve green lungs and to create parks and botanic gardens for the urban dwellers and others. After all, urban centres are a human construct that can, and should be, planned carefully for the benefit of the present and future generations.


A walk on the ‘wild side’ would do you wonders.



1 Response to “A walk on the wild side of life”

  1. 1 Jose Yusri Salleh 16 June 2008 at 5:18 pm

    I doubt the “was established by the British way back in 1884 from an old granite quarry site”. My great-grandmother said the place was a Malay settlement. Where’s the proof? You will find one old Malay grave near the waterfall area. That old grave belongs to my family.

    Jose Yusri

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