Cyberjaya Is Not Cool
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Ok, so you've landed a job in the nation's first "Intelligent City". Personally, have you been there? Let me tell you alil bit about this place, so you don't experience some kinda cultural shock as a result of expecting too much.

I have been studying in Cyberjaya for the past 2 years. In my opinion, there's nothing to brag about this place. It is not a very big city; in fact, the way I see it, there're only two main roads, with no more 10 traffic light junctions along its narrow and twisty roads.

The Roads
Coming from Puchong, you will have to travel along the LDP (yes! Surprisingly, the "Puchong Highway" is actually "LDP" formally), until you reach the Cyberjaya interchange. Welcoming you to Cyberjaya are the ridiculously bumpy roads.

At night, if you're on the fast lane (shortly after the Kajang interchange), you'll notice that the streetlights serve almost no purpose at all. As intelligent as Cyberjaya itself, the persons responsible in planting trees by the roadside did not consider that by having streetlights placed so closely with the shady trees, the light would not even reach the ground! Naturally, drivers would avoid the right-most lane at night because it's brighter and simply safer to travel on the middle lane instead. Brilliant, right.

Shortly before LimKokWing University College (LUCT), there is a very sharp bend that has taken many lives (considering that this whole area is relatively small and new, the number of deaths that have occured is quite alarming). You see, many drivers tend to speed along these roads - which are often deserted, especially at night. Anyone who works or studies in Cyberjaya would agree that that bend is indeed dangerous.

"Intelligent" Traffic Lights
There is one main traffic light junction (at a crossroad), often dubbed the "DHL Junction", that has devices which look like surveillance cameras, to (supposingly) monitor traffic. These devices are supposed to determine the length of queues at the junction - pretty much an intelligent idea if implemented, ideally. I know that traffic lights in most towns around Klang Valley have sensors that perform a similar task. The idea is to allow more cars to pass if the queue is long, and prevent unnecessary waiting if there're less (or no) cars.

However, the implementation in Cyberjaya still leaves much to be desired. The traffic lights still turn green even though there're no cars in queue. This makes me wonder if the tacky-looking "sensors" (or surveillance cams, for all I care) are actually spoofs!

Further, Cyberjaya actually suffers some kinda parking woes because there're often trains of vehicles parked along the roadsides. The empty land near the "DHL Junction" has recently been 'converted' into some kinda parking lot, too. It is just by the main road, too obvious to miss. Outside Cyberia Condominiums, you'll see many vehicles parked on both sides of the road, too. Yes, it is illegal to park there - because occasionally the cops would come and issue summons.

The situation's unlikely to improve, because it is expensive to rent a parking bay there. No kidding, it ain't cheap. If you park illegally inside Cyberia Condo, your car may be clamped. Most people choose to park by the roadside outside, despite the risk. To enter Cyberia Condo, if you don't have a smart-card, you'll need to come up with lies to trick the guard to let you in.

I don't know about the neighbouring companies. Since that some employees still park on some empty land instead of in the carpark provided, I guess parking your vehicle in Cyberjaya is really a chore.

Eating in Cyberjaya
It's a joke. During lunchtime, you can go to a place called Street Mall - where the food is usually more expensive than other places (except for probably Nasi Ayam Malaysia, where chicken rice is its primary offering - duh). The food isn't great, either. The restaurant with the best food around there is Penang House, if you don't mind the priceyness.

The foodcourt in the bus station (yes, there's a bus station in Cyberjaya - wow!) serves mostly Malay food. There is only one Chinese stall (right at the corner of the foodcourt, the last stall) - it offers economy rice, with mostly vegetarian dish. It's not cheap, too. Despite all that, this foodcourt is quite busy during lunchtime - simply because it is the most convenient and there is virtually no other choice. Usually, you'll need to wait for a table to become available. It is that busy.

Another place that serves good food is the cafe in Ericsson building. You have to have a fat wallet should you decide to eat there as well. The food in MMU campus is cheap - but cleanliness is an issue. Also, there're not enough tables and chairs so you'll have to wait while your stomach growls hungrily. In Cyberia Condo, there is a mamak restaurant that overcharges like nobody's business. A small plate of fried rice (tastes really bad!) with fried chicken could cost RM7.

If you're in Cyberjaya, the best place to eat is... not in Cyberjaya (if you're after cheap, good food, that is). Go to Dengkil, one of Cyberjaya's adjacent towns - about 15 minutes' drive away.

Convenience Stores
I spend almost every weekday in Cyberjaya, and go home to Subang on weekends. Every Sunday, I have to make sure that I've enough supplieswith me before returning to Cyberjaya - to ensure 'survival' for the next 5 days. The mini market in Street Mall has been closed down a few weeks back (and a new, smaller one has just opened recently). There's only a handful of convenience stores where you can shop for groceries, and they're really small - like, y'know... a minimart.

It's a really small town so these stores do not sell that many stuff - It's convenient if you really, really need something specific. These stores meet your most basic needs, but if you're in for some bigger-scale grocery shopping be prepared to drive... out of Cyberjaya. The Carrefour in Alamanda, Putrajaya (another one of Cyberjaya's adjacent towns) is a better bet.

Almost nil. There is a "Cyberpark", but it is in a sorry state. Read this: Taman Tasik Cyberjaya: Malaysia's Silicon Valley Lake Gardens. See what I mean?

If you're looking for some place to chill and relax, the Botanical Garden in Putrajaya is the nearest place to go.

The Haze
It is nothing new. I don't know where the haze comes from. Everyone says it's somewhere near Cyberpark. I don't know. This problem has been around for quite some time - only difference is that the recent haze is much worse than before. Open burning in Dengkil, pit fires in Dengkil, Putrajaya and Cyberjaya, and the list goes on.

Recently, the haze has been so bad that we could all smell the smoke, and visibility was down to almost a mere kilometer. I could barely see a plane that flew past this afternoon (I could see that it was flying low, presumably preparing for landing in KLIA). Temperatures rose, and medical practitioners have been making unusually more money. Oh, have I also mentioned that there is no public clinic in Cyberjaya? MMU has a clinic for its staffs and students, though.

How many times have I mentioned "drive out of Cyberjaya..." or " an adjacent town"? You see, you can't live in (and don't drive out of) Cyberjaya for good. Cyberjaya's growing, alright. BMW has a Regional HQ there, a Petronas petrol kiosk - Cyberjaya's first - has been operating for a few months already, and many other buildings are under construction. But until Cyberjaya really 'takes off' as a real Malaysian-prided "Intelligent City", you'll find living in this city extremely inconvenient.
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