THE banner war to get people to shop is on in the housing areas.
This is nothing out of the ordinary as the year is coming to an end and Christmas and New Year are fast approaching.
In the run up to school reopening for the new year, there are also banners on optical shops for instance, giving huge discounts for spectacles.
A businessman told me that they (traders) were banking on the year end sales.
“It has always been like this all these years.
“But we are more desperate this time around.
“Sales has been slow this year and we cannot expect much in the coming year,” he said.
Contrary to assumptions that people are rushing to shop to beat the April 1 deadline for the 6% goods and services tax (GST) implementation, a home furnishing sales manager told me that sales had in fact slowed down.
She reckoned that one of the reasons could be that people were adopting a wait-and-see attitude.
There are so many banners on sales put up, she added, pointing to a four-day furniture expo - Homex - at the Stadium Indera Mulia in Ipoh starting a day after Christmas.
Other banners include those on property sales, furniture knock down sales and money lending.
Yes, banners have been a topic of conversation of late.
My sister commented that it looks like general election campaigning!
The latest addition are those on “Wabak Dengi” (dengue epidemic).
My 11-year-old nephew has been keeping a watch out for the dengue banners in the housing area where he stays with his parents.
He will update me on the new dengue banners and also those that had been taken down.
His awareness on dengue could be traced to the talk of dengue in the Ipoh neighbourhood.
Health department officers have been helpful; updating the residents on the dengue cases in the area when they conduct checks for Aedes mosquito breeding grounds.
Some of the officers have been kind enough to conduct fogging inside houses upon request.
People are simply being swarmed by mosquitoes.
My friend from Mansion Park in Ipoh told me on Wednesday that her area was a dengue hot spot.
“I get a lot of mosquitoe bites when I dry my laundry,” she said.
The people are feeling helpless.
Earlier this month, I pointed out to a health department officer about the clogged drains, abandoned houses and rubbish strewn areas in Taman Rasa Sayang in Ipoh.
He nodded and said: “This comes under the Ipoh City Council (MBI).”
The officer was supervising fogging in the area which has been declared a dengue epidemic area.
The proper upkeeping of public areas, including cleaning up abandoned houses come under the local authorities.
This is the first line of defence.
The Perak Health Department should know that banners to warn the people that they are in dengue epidemic areas is just not enough.
And asking the people to participate in gotong royong activities to clean up public areas is an irony.
While it is not exactly a waste of public funds to put up the dengue epidemic banners, I must say there are several longstanding problems that the health department and local authorities need to resolve together.
The incidence of litterbugs is definitely on the rise, judging from the rubbish strewn surroundings.
It goes to show the general public’s mentality — no civic consciousness at all and extremely irresponsible.
As such, there is no point in Health committee executive councillor Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon lamenting on the low turnout of residents for gotong royongs held to clean up the surroundings.
He should have anticipated this outcome.
Perhaps, it may be better for him to get the cooperation of the local authorities to go after the litterbugs.
If a fine is not a deterrent, take them to court and punish them with community service, for instance, to show the people that littering is a serious offence.
At the same time, the local authorities must also set a good example — do a good job in upkeeping public areas.
The big spike in dengue cases this year and related deaths is a wake up call to all — dengue kills.