Most of the ladies I meet are friendly and cheerful. They go around working very diligently. I have never indeed met any of them sitting down by the road side. Nor have I met any group of them forming a circle of chattering and laughing females. All of them get the thumbs up from me.
Sometimes the good MMC has a shed for baskets and homemade brooms used by these street cleaners. And in the afternoons I get to see some of them sleeping in the shed. The poor ladies can only have some privacy by using their broad sun hats.
Most of them come from the squatter areas around Miri. If they can afford to buy the expensive urban houses they would not be working as street cleaners if you ask me. The squatter homes in Canada Hill many years ago supplied good household help and temporary help for hotels and coffee shops. But today many of these people have been moved else where like Kpg. Api Api and Tudan. Invariably whenever there is urban development squatter areas develop vis-a-vis urban expansion especially in Asia.
I remember my student days in Kuala Lumpur when many of my course mates came from the sqatter area of KL. That was the only life style they knew. But over time their families moved out of their old homes as they became more upwardly mobile. By hardwork and by concerted government action KL was slowly cleared of their enormous squatter population after about 30 years! But little squatter areas also crop up whenever such demographic dynamics can thrive!! One such squatter area is the water villages of Kota Kinabalu. Such forces are hard to predict and difficult to solve without careful study.
Too much on this at this point.....
It is really up to the government to choose between harsh stringent rules and regulations or a more enlightened caring and balanced system. There should be checks and balance of course. But could squatter areas be the result of other social ills?
I do hope that our community will continue to give our appreciation to these ladies who keep our roads free of rubbish and dead leaves AND OTHER RUBBISH THROWN OUT FROM CARS. And I hope that MMC will continue to have small sheds like these built for these workers who actually form a very important unit to maintain our town's cleanliness.