S'gor Philharmonic great, but Harapan must do more

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One thing must be pointed out that Malaysians are known to have many great talents, but if not nurtured, many of them will find greener pastures.

Even with the Selangor Pakatan Harapan Government, I find it appalling that things are not always that rosy.

Like most people, my family and I decided to take time off last Saturday to attend the Selangor Philharmonic Orchestra concert at the Petaling Jaya City Hall (MBPJ)’s civic hall.

The performance entitled, Chapter 11 “Beethoven Complete” was great, considering that the participants were young and talented, aged from 12 to 16.

In fact, with such a low-cost production, the SPO has done a great job in providing good entertainment to the people in Petaling Jaya, a city that hardly has a character of its own except for a few shopping malls, the cinemas and the many pubs.

Hanoi, for example, has its night bazaar where the local and tourists interact with each other doing the local dances and for the tourists to the city, without fail, they are taken to the water puppet shows.

In Shanghai, tourists are brought to see the hell riders doing their stunts in a metal globe and tourists bring home with them these experiences of “Whoa!” and “Wah!” with them. After nearly ten years, I can still remember that one performance that I saw.

But here in Petaling Jaya, what do tourists get to see when the night falls? What is there that they can bring home with them after a few nights in Petaling Jaya? A stand-up comedy show by our own Harith Iskandar? No?

Or, a special performance by our very own Joanne Yeoh (now Dr Joanne Yeoh) on her violin or a piano recital by our Malaysian Stevie Wonder, Colin Ng Soon Beng?

Under the capable leadership of its founder Chan Ling Chee, these young buds will someday bloom, Malaysians will be amazed that its guest conductor for the last piano concerto was a cardiologist, Dr Peter Jesudason, and the piano concerto also featured Chee Su-Yen, Carolyn Lo, Vincent Ong, Sylvia Loh and Loo Bang Hean as each took on one of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos in pure numerical sequence.

How many tourists were there? I suspect maybe only one or two. There were no busloads of tourists watching the concert and going home to tell their friends that Malaysians are also a talented lot or that a cardiologist is a conductor by night.

How many people in Petaling Jaya even know about the concert? If it is depending on some small budgets, and a pittance from the Selangor state government, how can such great young talents rise?

This is a question I want to ask Selangor exco who is in charge of tourism, Elizabeth Wong. Why are tourists not being bused here to watch these night performances?

I understand that the SPO can only perform four times a year, but even that, I am sure there are other performances that can be included in the package for tourists and turn Petaling Jaya into a city of fine music.

After all, the SPO stands for Selangor Philharmonic Orchestra, and if the Selangor state government does not give it the full support that it needs, how can it grow?

I was appalled when during the break, my wife asked me to get the mosquito repellent from the car.

There were a lot of mosquitoes biting the children when the lights were dimmed. Apparently, the civic hall must have been a breeding ground for the mosquitoes. This is the fault of the staff who were supposed to manage the facilities.

Much to my surprise, when I spoke to an MBPJ staff, he said that fogging was done during the rehearsal! I could only give him a blank look.

There were signs that read, Free Wi Fi but t even if I type in ‘guest’ for both username and password, the internet service was out for a very long
time! I wonder if this problem has been resolved after one week has elapsed.

Besides, the colour coordination of the carpets in front near the stage was simply poor that one cannot understand who was the one responsible for the ambience.

The civic hall is suitable for weekly live performances if only MBPJ and the Selangor state government takes seriously my criticisms. All these complaints have been communicated to several states assemblymen.

I also forwarded the same comments to the Mayor himself via WhatsApp but there is not even a single response!

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political
developments in the country since 2008.

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