Sunday, March 05, 2006

Gurney Drive, Penang - where is the beach?

In the 1950s till late 1970s, there was a beautiful, sandy beach at Gurney Drive. Children went to the beach to swim in the pollution-free sea. Women and girls were there to dig for cockles and tiny shells to bring home as fresh seafood.

Fishermen, mostly Indians, went out to sea in the evening to return with various types of fish, prawns and crabs to be sold to eager buyers waiting by the sea front.

That was Gurney Drive. It is "was" because the good things mentioned were gone. The beach had disappeared, the sea is polluted and is not safe to swim, the fishermen were gone to the other end of Gurney Drive, off Northam Road or Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah.

Gurney Drive or Padang Kota Baru to the local Malays is now congested with too many restaurants and food courts. The coastal road is traffic-heavy. Gone are the good old days of peace and serenity. Is this the cost of modern day development?

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