Malaysian man patches up potholes in JB

jb pothole uncleImage adapted from: The Star & Persatuan Bangsa Johor

It’s safe to say that every Malaysian has seen their share of giant potholes that have us worried about becoming the next “flying MYVI” meme. Potholes are a common annoyance on the roads, and most of us usually sit back, grumble, and wait for our town councils to fix it.

But instead of just sitting back and waiting, this anonymous 79-year-old man in Johor Bahru has been patching potholes since 2006 with his bare hands and bucket of tar. And he has since made a return to his selfless deeds with a recent sighting of him in Jalan Jerau, Johor.

Earliest sighting of anonymous do-gooder

Panjang patches potholes in Johor
He can be seen on his bicycle with a bucket of tar doing random good deeds in JB
Image adapted from: Persatuan Bangsa Johor

According to The Star newspaper, this do-gooder – who wants only to be known as “Panjang” – is from a wealthy family in Penang, and has worked in Singapore for over 25 years. But he has since taken to fixing up potholes around JB as early as January 2006, as he was concerned about road users’ safety in the area.

And if you need context as to how potholes are a nuisance in JB, Jabatan Kerja Raya Johor launched a Zero Pothole campaign in 2016 to address the issue. But this campaign focuses on major roads – which is probably why you can find Panjang riding around on his bicycle through residential streets instead.  

He has been spotted on Jalan Perang and Jalan Serampang in Taman Pelangi, and the streets of Jalan Maju that’s a food hideout for locals. 

Kind deed goes viral

While many locals in JB have heard of his selfless acts, Panjang reached viral acclaim in June 2019 when Persatuan Bangsar Johor (Johor’s People Association) shared a sighting of him on their Facebook page. 

Netizens around Malaysia and local media outlets were quick to catch on and praise him – most probably because he’s only ever been seen riding a bicycle and not a motorbike or car. 

Image adapted from:
Persatuan Bangsa Johor

The original post can be translated from Malay to English as the following:

“When I was riding my motorcycle through Jalan Kuning, Taman Pelangi in JB, I saw a man squatting in the middle of the road. And when I looked closer, I saw that it was an elderly Chinese uncle patching a pothole. I don’t know where he got the bucket of tar, which he brings everywhere”.

The comment section of the Facebook post also brought to light his other kind deeds in the area, including taking up the job of a traffic light warden to guide vehicles while it was raining heavily out and the traffic lights were broken.

Panjang patches potholes in Johor
Original post about Panjang helping guide vehicles in the heavy rain
Image adapted from: Persatuan Bangsa Johor

“Uncle does a lot of service in his community. Once there was heavy rain and the traffic light was spoilt, he became the traffic warden and helped give direction to vehicles. He got drenched, but he didn’t even care. And also his memory is quite strong. He asked me, ‘Where is your daughter?’ When the uncle met my daughter, she was in Standard 5. And 10 years later, he still remembered that I had a daughter.”

Panjang is back at it again

Panjang patches potholes in Johor
Panjang recently seen fixing up potholes with his trusty bicycle and bucket of tar in JB
Image credit: The Star

All heroes need a break, and news of his pothole patching went seemingly quiet after the Facebook post. And we don’t blame him – he’s seen his share of aches in helping out his community, including getting hit by a car while trying to remove the carcass of a cat from a busy road.

But now he has emerged back on the scene, as he was reported by The Star to be patching up potholes as early as 6AM on 18th February 2020. And he has since expanded his kind deeds by picking up and removing trash, including old mattresses and dirty clothes, that have been clogging up drains in the area. 

The local Johor Bahru pothole patcher

Many might wonder if Panjang should leave his deeds to the City Council, and if he’s putting himself in danger by heading to the streets with his good deeds. But we’re just inspired by seeing how he puts others’ well-being over the sake of his own so that we can all have safer roads to drive on. 

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