GEORGE TOWN: A total of 4,000 umbrellas went missing in the first two weeks of a community sharing programme, but the organiser plans to go on with it.
The concept by Aspen developer group also got some tourists excited as they had never seen such an initiative in their country.
The concept goes like this: You get off the bus and it is raining or the sun is blazing. You grab an umbrella, and when you return to the bus stop the next time, you put it back in the allotted slot for the next user.
Over 4,000 shared umbrellas placed at 12 bus stops and five schools went missing since the initiative started early this month.
However, Aspen refused to throw in the towel. Instead, the company plans to place another 6,000 umbrellas at the bus stops.
S. Manickam, who works at a law firm in Greenhall, said the concept was good as it helped people during the hot season, but he was sceptical over its effectiveness.
“I stay on the mainland. Some who take the ferry to the mainland will grab one of the umbrellas, but will they return it? I doubt it.
“Malaysians are who they are. Many will not take the trouble to return the umbrellas,” he said at the bus stop near the Esplanade.
A stockbroking firm worker, who goes by the name Ong, said the concept was something worth trying.
“There are people who appreciate the umbrellas which will be very handy during a downpour. I believe many will return the umbrellas although the company will initially lose many of them,” said Ong, 49.
Tourists from Spain, Angel Agirreazaldegi, 69, and his wife Edurne Rekomdo, 64, liked the initiative and were seen taking pictures at the bus stop.
“We have not seen such projects in Spain, and this is really good for people,” said Rekomdo, who is from San Sebastian.
The umbrellas are at the bus stops in Karpal Singh Drive, Kelawei Road (opposite Gurney Plaza and in front of UOB Bank), opposite Island Plaza, Gottlieb Road, Datuk Keramat Road, Light Street (opposite Bank Negara), opposite Sunshine Square, in front of Krystal Point, Burmah Road and Magazine Road.
They are also placed at the Penang Chinese Girls’ High School, SJK(C) Union, SMK Convent Lebuh Light, Tenby International School and Dalat International School.
The umbrella-sharing initiative will be officially launched on Aug 13 at Queensbay Mall by Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.