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!




 




































Thursday, May 14, 2015

MY LOVE4F1 - SEPANG FORMULA ONE GP 2015 SUNDAY RACE

A very emotional day! "Verrari's" first win with "V"ettel in "F"errari!  And a great race day it was with excitement until the end. 

Of course the day started with the F1 drivers autograph session. Fans were running up the hill after they arrived from the shuttle buses to get in line for an autograph. And it was a long line...a very long line. In fact the line was longer than the time the drivers had in the end. I felt sorry for those fans who still lined up all around the Petronas tent when the drivers where already on their way back to the pit lane. 

I also felt sorry for the first few drivers who came in to sign autographs but the organizers of the session told the fans that they had to move up to the drivers, no matter if they were fans of that team or not. Since the fans did not really move, the organizers changed their mind and then announced that with the second team coming in, it would be OK for those fans to cut the line so they could get their autographs. Only fair that fans of a certain team can get to their favourite drivers!

Before the opening ceremony an interesting "show act" was performed. I am still not sure what it was but to me it felt like some archaic ritual by some army guys. Even my Malaysian friends were not sure after I showed them the video. 

Another interesting observation I had this time was that Malaysians (and to be fair, I have to say also other nationals F1 fans) stand up and remove their hats for the Malaysian national anthem, but not for the other anthems. Even though it was announced over the loudspeaker, but nobody showed respect to the playing Swiss anthem of the winning team of the TCR International Series a few minutes before. Same is true for the German anthem being played at the end of the race, but by that time everyone was standing anyway. 

And "standing" is the subject which caused me and some other F1 fans grief yet again, since we paid for seats and people with no tickets for this section were again standing in front of us on the stairs blocking our view. I told a few people nicely that they were standing in front of me and were blocking my view but since some of them did not react I had to get security to get them to move. Most of them though were understanding enough and got out of the way. At other races, like in Singapore, it is not a big problem because you can focus your attention at the large screens but in Malaysia there is almost no large screens or they are too far away to see anything.