Traffic Jams and Pollution are Destroying Capitalist Southeast Asian Cities | New Eastern Outlook


27-02-20 07:36:00,


It is mad, it is insane, but to get from point A to point B in Bangkok or Jakarta can easily take 2 or 3 hours. Often, the traffic comes to a total gridlock. The air quality is now one of the worst on earth. Periodically, life comes to a standstill. On average, people spend years of their lives sitting in traffic jams.

Some couples have stopped dating, relying on their mobile phone chats instead. Increasingly, food is getting delivered. While businesses are profiting, the lives of many ordinary people are collapsing. This is not what urban life used to be!

Citizens are angry, some are resigned, but the consensus is – there is absolutely nothing they can do to reverse the trend. Their cities were literally stolen from them, in front of their noses. Everything has been privatized, and corruption had spread its ugly grope. City planning was abandoned, or, on many occasions, the city planners got bought up by the very same companies which are determinedly ruining the cities.

The sight is horrifying: uninterrupted rivers of cars and scooters blocking the arteries of Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila. Thick smog. Noise pollution.

As ‘social life’ is mainly concentrated around huge shopping malls, and lately there are not many stand-alone services along the roads. Only a few people walk. In the case of Jakarta, there are hardly any decent sidewalks in the city, and even if there are a few, they are commonly being monopolized by aggressive scooters and ruthless street vendors. Is it illegal? Who cares: laws are hardly ever imposed.

In Bangkok, connectivity has totally collapsed. Private condominiums, private houses, private businesses, fragmented neighborhoods. Often, to commute between two places that are barely 50 meters from each other as the crow flies, may take kilometers, because one has to first reach a major avenue, and then return using or driving on the parallel lane.

There are some rules and regulations in existence, but they can be violated easily, if a developer is willing to pay substantial bribes. The public is totally defenseless. The system is designed the way that big businesses or the governments subservient to those big businesses, always win. To complain is simply a waste of time,

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