Saturday, May 16, 2015

THE ENCROACHMENT OF A CITY - BRICKFIELDS KUALA LUMPUR

"What do you want in ...Brickfields??" is what a friend in Facebook asked me when I told him that I would stay there. And he continued with "there is nothing!". In my recent walk through Brickfields, I thought to myself that soon there will be nothing because I have never felt the encroachment of modern KL Sentral more than on this visit. 

I have come here for many years, off and on. First as visitor with a guide book and nowadays as a conscious decision. It's nothing compared to the glittering and air conditioned world on the other side of the street. There are homeless people sleeping on the street, there are rats in the garbage cans, it's dirty and smelly. But it's real.  It has culture. It gives me a real feeling!

The hotels and malls of KL Sentral and NuSentral are encroaching and soon I won't even be able to see the Petronas towers anymore from the roof top of my hotel due to all the new high rise buildings. 

I come here for the excellent food of Gopala Vegetarian Restaurant. I come here to eat at the Temple Of Fine Arts. I come here to pray at the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple. And I come here to witness ceremonies at the Sri Kandaswamy Kovil temple and the Arulmegu Sree Veera Hanuman temple. And every time I arrive in KL I pay my respect to the Kwan Yin goddess at the small Buddhist temple just down from the Monorail station. I get my cheap haircut at an Indian barber shop and I buy my last minute items for a trip at those Indian shops which sell just everything in the world. 

But walking through Brickfields recently really got me worried. I saw this huge front of high rise buildings so close to my little world and I saw the almost empty streets with houses being fenced off, ready for whatever other usage. The famous Vivekananda Ashram was already empty and protest signs were still up fighting for it not to be torn down. I am not sure about the latest status of it though. Friends told me that they will never tear down the churches, temples and mosques but everything around it might disappear. At least this is what my feeling told me and it was even fed with more arguments after getting back into NuSentral Mall when seeing all those empty faces which were just interested in shopping and consuming. All those people who just stuff themselves with cakes, sweets and fast food but no more feeling for a real cultural diversity. And I felt sad and took photos. That's all I can do really!




 




































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