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Published: Wednesday December 11, 2013 MYT 7:30:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday December 11, 2013 MYT 1:05:58 AM

Transport woes at Myanmar SEA Games

The Wunna Theikdi Sports Complex in Naypyitaw. Transport is a problem at the Myanmar SEA Games. While there are shuttle buses to the different venues, these have to be shared by sports officials, media and fans. – Bernama Photo

The Wunna Theikdi Sports Complex in Naypyitaw. Transport is a problem at the Myanmar SEA Games. While there are shuttle buses to the different venues, these have to be shared by sports officials, media and fans. – Bernama Photo

COOL air was blowing against my face as I held on tightly to the motorbike rider on the streets of Naypyitaw.

Once in a while, my “driver”, coolly riding in his faded sarong, would spit out his red betel juice.

(It is common for men to wear their sarong for daily use and also as official wear. And it is also common for them to chew on the betel leaf.)

Hopping on a motorbike to move from one venue to another has been one of the transportation modes for my colleagues and I since we arrived in Naypyitaw a couple of days ago to cover the SEA Games.

While there are plenty of cars, buses and traffic jams in Kuala Lumpur, here in sprawling Naypyitaw, transportation – or rather the lack of it – has been quite a challenge.

It is hard to move from one place to another, as they are usually situated miles apart.

Just imagine the picturesque Putrajaya – only without that many vehicles on the road.

Sometimes, the only thing that is visible on the huge road here are two lonely souls – yes me and my rider.

There are taxis too – but limited. There are cars too – but limited. There are huge lorries that transport people like herds as well but, no, I am not ready to hop onto that just yet.

You can hire a private car but for US$250 (RM801) a day – well, forget it.

It is sad to say but the minimal shuttle bus service provided for the thousands of SEA Games athletes and officials is just not satisfactory – despite all the promises that it would be sufficient.

They are not punctual. It takes hours for them to ply the different routes to the venues.

Inside the huge and majestic Wunna Theikdi Sports Complex, there are shuttle buses to the different venues situated quite far away. But the bad news is that these few buses are also for sports officials, media – and the thousands of fans!

Public transport is not allowed inside the compound.

So, most of the time, walking is the best option to save time.

Fortunately, the people of Myanmar and the volunteers are good, helpful and humble.

They greet you warmly with “Mingalarpar” to say hello.

And it is not too difficult to find a kind soul who will somehow go the extra mile to ensure that you get to your destination.

National woman doubles coach Rosman Razak says there’s one positive he can take from the transportation woes.

“The players are sticking together like glue because they have no transport to go about and nowhere to go after their training and competition. This is indeed a great place to build team unity and camaraderie,” he quipped.

Tags / Keywords: SEA Games, Myanmar, Naypyitaw, Nyapidaw, comment, transport

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