Wednesday, 8 April 2009


I have had enough of KL– living in it, working in it, trying to enjoy life in it, resting it it, playing in it, shopping in it…enough of doing just about anything in it. It is a realization that has slowly but surely overwhelmed me over these last ten years since I came back to live here. For the last four years I had lived in Bangsar – a place we had first settled in when we first came back to KL to work. Back then Bangsar only had the Syed Kechik building overlooking us all – the biggest and tallest building in the area at that point of time. Now it is lost amongst the concrete jungle and I swear that here are houses bigger then the Syed Kechik building.

Bangsar now has everything that a metropolis should have. Traffic jams, noise, shopping centres, fast food, drunkards, obnoxious people, very expensive shops selling things we do not need, floods, murders, robberies, car fumes, annoying noisy and rude people wandering around on Saturday night and early Sunday mornings, crowded banks, atrociously priced Mamak and Chinese restaurants and too many people at all times of the day making Bangsar their favorite port of call.

Bangsar is Malaysia. It has the Malays – conspicuously up front with the biggest and loudest place of worship and stupidly spending their easily earned cash on the latest automobiles. NAZA has their own showroom with the latests Merc on display. It has the Chinese who dominate the commercial premises all over Bangsar. It has the Indians with their Mamak restaurants almost completely staffed by ‘foreigners’. The other races intermingle here and there just as they would do outside Bangsar. Like Malaysia, Bangsar mirrors what is wrong with our country. A police station/beat base located right across the road from a dvd shop that brazenly sells pirate dvds. Upmarket outlets selling stuff that is so hideously priced that closure is a matter of when, rather then if…like projects given out by the government – the mark up are so high that it will fail. But like the government so what if it fails – they can get much more money from the same source – they do not care..its only money. You can meet those ‘walking in the corridors of power’ in the Mamak stalls or the Starbucks discussing affairs of national interests and of course ‘projects, projects, projects’. Traffic jams – a manifestation of the gridlock that now binds our country and is slowly choking us all without any solution in sight…and on Friday you see the might of the Malays during Friday prayers. They park their car where they like - three deep on the main road, on the divider, on the pavement creating traffic havoc. The arrogance that says I can park anywhere I like because Islam is the religion of the country and nobody will do or can do anything. What inconveniences it will cause to other road users is of no concern to these pious religious soul.

Shops open and shut with ease. Their owners put money into a bottomless pit and without batting an eyelid can walk away form their extravagance investments ..easy come easy go. BSC (Bangsar Shopping Centre)  is an oasis of calm, money and untold richness in the middle of all this chaos that is Bangsar. The world is far away when you are at BSC and the drivers are jostling with each other to park their bmws, merc and jags right in front while waiting for their bosses. The display of wealth makes us question the source of it – corruption, projects – it has to be tainted because those who come by wealth through hard work will not display it so ostentatiously. 

And yet people around and in Bangsar see themselves as the ‘in crowd’. They are ‘in’ alright – in denial, in a state of delusion and in complete ignorance of how the world perceive them. 

1 comment:

  1. I think you make a good point about Bangsar reflecting the state of Malaysia. It is a mess.

    Sadly for me - I have TWO good reasons to be there: one, my dearest uncle lives there. He bought his place when Bangsar was a big deal, and now he's trapped in the mire, but his wife and daughter refuse to let him move :(

    Second, and as important: this angel who does my nails has her shop there. Nuyen works wonders on my ingrown toenail, and has saved me from needing an operation!

    Yup, Bangsar sucks, and I make sure if I need to be there - I need to make sure of which day, and what time! Otherwise, die lah!

    But if you ask me, there are many other places that are just as bad: to name just a few: SS2 is a madhouse; Brickfields; most of KL lah!What about Penang island? OMG! And Melaka town - I wouldn't dare drive there even you paid me to!!! Hmmm, I'm getting a picture here . . . .