22 Apr 2012

I am Malaysian: Visiting Kuala Lumpur

We decided on spending our weekend differently this week. I decided that perhaps it was  time for my children to experience some places that represent the heart of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur was our stop for this weekend, not the shopping mall, or KLCC, but cultural and historical places- Central Market, Padang Merdeka (Merdeka Square) and KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu).

Before we left, this moth, a Laos Brown Butterfly  (Lyssa Zampa) flew into our porch and landed for us to view. It stayed for a while and fascinated we took multiple pictures of it.

Finally we left for our first destination, Central Market. This is a place I used to hang out years ago when there weren't many malls around. I love it coz it had and still has lovely knick knacks, cultural stuff and a mini artists lane at the back. I remember frequently browsing through stalls looking for silver bangles that came in chunks, unique pieces of earrings and necklaces, batik...ah the list goes on. I remember conversation with college friends, bus rides from the dusty Klang Station nearby. :)

 While we were there, this concert was going on. The Impatient Sisters were singing at a conservation event for SunBears. The girls loved the music, and we ended up sitting through the whole concert, as well as listening to two different speakers speak about Sunbears.

 This is Kasturi Walk (newly constructed), situated right outside Central Market. It has lots of touristy souvenirs, not all made in Malaysia though!

This is the main area in Central Market, stalls and stalls with a variety of knick knacks, some made in Malaysia, but also many items from places like China, Bangladesh, India, Middle East and etc. However, I did not see many tourists, and sales people confirmed that the number of tourists have dropped. Perhaps they're now all in KLCC? 
 Girls were fascinated by the art of calligraphy and enjoyed seeing how this artist's strokes seemed to flow so fluidly.

My favourite area in Central Market, is the back area where several artists have their own shops. There's a hands on Batik shop, shops where you can get your portraits drawn/painted and other craft shops.
 By mid afternoon, feeling hungry we decided to head to a shop nearby where they serve delicious Beef Soup noodles. Since I'm not a fan of beef soup noodle, I decided on Char Kuey Teow. Yummm...was delicious although a little oily, still delicious!

 This is the tiny lady who cooks it. She's been doing it for the last 20 years. When she first started a plate cost RM 1.60, now it costs RM 4.50.

The name of the coffee shop "Kedai Kopi Lai Foong"

After spending several hours in Central Market, we decided to head on to Padang Merdeka. On the way we passed by the Old High Court, Kuala Lumpur and took a quick snap from the car.

Our second destination of the day, Padang Merdeka. (Independence Square)
Taken from Wikipedia "It was here the Union Flag was lowered and the Malayan flag hoisted for the first time at midnight (time: 12:01 AM) on August 31, 1957. Since then, Merdeka Square has been the usual venue for the annual Merdeka Parade (National Day Parade)."

 I've been wanting to bring my girls here for a long time, to see the place that symbolizes Independence. Here's Nel running towards the flag, and the tents where there were many performers dressed in very elaborate and colourful costumes, preparing for the grand concert for our newly installed Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Jo running excitedly in this field shouting "Freedom...Merdeka!"   :D

Sultan Abdul Samad Building. The yellow flags and metal structures are not part of the building, but temporarily put up for the Agong's grand concert.  
"The structure takes its name from Sultan Abdul Samad, the reigning sultan of Selangor at the time when construction began. It was designed by A.C. Norman and built in 1894-1897 to house several important government departments during the British administration. A.C. Norman spent time in Africa and saw Muslim mosques in India which led him to use Moorish architecture in the building's design. In 1945, when World War II ended, Britain resumed control again, but Malaya's independence movement had matured and organized itself in an alliance under Tunku Abdul Rahman. When the British flag was finally lowered in Kuala Lumpur's Merdeka Square in 1957, Tunku became the first prime minister of Malaya." Wikipedia.

Since we were in the vicinity, we decided to visit KTMB, (Keretapi Tanah Melayu), formerly known as Malayan Railway Administration. The place dates back to British Colonial Era and you can read more on its history here.  Currently this station is used as a commuter station and all long distance trains have been moved to KL Sentral.  I've fond memories of trips on trains from this station to various places with cousins and friends.  The night journey was  especially more interesting as cousins and I used to walk through the train, giggling at sleeping, snoring passengers. :D

 A view of the building taken from the overhead bridge.

One final snap before we called it a day.

It was overall a very exciting day for us. For me it was walking through memory lane, for my children, a first exposure to some parts of our history. We will be making many more such trips for I think this is important in establishing my children's identity as Malaysians.


gail said...

Oh, how I enjoyed this!

In the picture of the Malay flag, all I saw were red and white stripes! Hmmm...

marie said...

I love all of your vibrant pictures. My in laws lived in Kuala Lumpur for 18 months as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They came home and showed the kids how to drink barley water from bags with a straw.

Martha said...

Thanks g. Yes we have red n white stripes on our flags too. But we have a crescent and stars.
Marie: wow, that's interesting info! :)

Carolyn (Lil' Dahling) said...

This is actually a good idea! I remembered when I was young, my parents used to bring my sister and I to historical places in my hometown Malacca too.

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