Feb 13, 2008

Behind Steel Towers

Everyone in Malaysia loves to portray Kuala Lumpur, or KL to be affectionate, as an ultra-modern, fast-paced city on par with other regional cities like Singapore, Hong Kong and even Taipei. Behind the shadows of the Twin Towers and KL Tower lies the historic part of Kuala Lumpur that slowly and gracefully got starched eternally in time. Kuala Lumpur, like any other early settlements, have within its steel towers and shopping complexes a nostalgic history of labor, toil, and sweat.

Behind steel curtains - there's always something under construction in KL

Masjid Jamek, the oldest mosque in Malaysia, built 1909, with The World's Local Bank (HSBC) keeping an eye on its Moorish architecture

In fact, Masjid Jamek is surrounded by banks - OCBC and CIMB adjacent to HSBC

Central Market, built 1888, with a touch of red for Chinese New Year

Something Gothic? - KTM administration building in Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin (Victory Avenue) looks like Hogwarts, with a touch of the Middle East
KL Railway Station, now replaced by KL Sentral, the centennial building houses a Heritage Hotel, a small bus terminal and Komuter station

Bangunan Daya Bumi is nothing historic, but the intricate Islamic architecture and uniform geometrical layout outshines many towers beside it. One Nation, One Destiny - Malaysians would unite as one in the future or perish in face of globalization

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building - which houses Malaysia's High Court previously. Malaysia's own version of Big Ben is most widely featured during National Day telecasts
T'was Here We Rejoiced Freedom - Merdeka Square is where Tunku Abdul Rahman declared (the then) Malaya's independence from Great Britain. The flag pole measures more than 100m, which is, if memory serves me correctly, the tallest in the world

Frozen in Time - Coliseum Cafe and Hotel in Jalan T.A.R. seem eternally paused in the 50's with white tablecloths, antique furniture, and waiters and waitresses at least thrice your age (if you're 20)

(skip below if you're short of time, having an exam, or you just downright hated this post)

For the first time in my life, I felt reluctant of leaving KL after my brief 26-hour stay. Always preferring the laid-back Penang, this trip to KL opened my eyes on the rich layers and textures behind KL's sophisticated and rapid lifestyle.
My one month holiday is quite over after this, and it will take me another 6 months before coming home again. Feeling less heartbreaking on leaving, I wonder if I will ever have time for home and Malaysia in years to come.
The past glamor and high expectations associated with air travel is stripped bare by AirAsia. Now taking a flight is just like hopping on the bus, minus the 500m-queue for check-in and the agents scrutinizing every gram of your luggage.

Chairs and Windows - the coming six months see me traveling extensively. I wonder if the following view would be most common to me whenever on-board an aircraft

Out of The Window - there's always something rewarding if we're willing to look beyond our own horizons

And...Global Warming - statistics have shown that modern jets emit lesser carbon per person compared to any other forms of transportation. Nevertheless, passengers are advised to choose responsible and environmental-friendly airlines while traveling to reduce their carbon impact. Of course, in Malaysia, only the RM matters


Frankie Gan said...

Nice pics you have here... Your blog is entertaining as always and you made me miss KL and Penang so very much.