What is Kuala Lumpur without Pudu Jail?

When I think of Pudu in Kuala Lumpur, only two things come to mind. One is the Puduraya Bus Terminal. The other is Pudu Jail.

There is something about Pudu Jail and it is its mural that decorates its long wall.

What I remember best about the mural is its exhortation of how drugs kills. The artist or artists of the mural seems convinced of the danger of drugs. I do not think the reason is a mystery. I think it was commissioned by the government. It had to be commissioned by the government.

The government of the day took a very tough stance against drugs. That was obvious not only through the mural that I saw as a kid. The television blared. The radio screamed. The newspapers… well, I did not read newspapers then but I assume it did what it usually does.

Nothing did the job as good as the mural of Pudu Jail however. Because of the mural, my early perception of drugs — or as it was called then without translation, dadah — was quite strongly against its use. When I thought of drugs, I thought of something disgusting. These days, I have a much relaxed view on the matter. I grew up, if I might add.

Pudu Jail is scheduled for demolition tomorrow, to make way for some big commercial complex. With it, gone is a reminder of old position of mine. Appropriate in some ways but quite clearly, a piece of history is set to be launched into fire. That is inappropriate in some ways.

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Missing KL

Here I am in Sydney.

It has been more or less 3 months since I left Kuala Lumpur for the land Down Under. I love Sydney for the weather, the view, everything but as the rain falls outside and the room feels cool, my mind rushes to a tropical city after the rain. The smell of moisture that is unmistakably Kuala Lumpur’s.

I think I miss the city already. I can see the all so familiar places in my mind’s eyes. Sigh…

I suppose home will always have a place in my heart, wherever I am.

Brief Updates from MBHQ

You’ve no doubt by now noticed that the sites got a bit of a re-design and some things got changed around last week. We wanted to highlight two changes to make sure everyone knows what changed.

The first and biggest is COMMENTS! Registration is no longer required to post a comment on any post. Of course if you already have an account you can still login to ensure your comments are attributed to you, but those who don’t can now post a comment without any long term commitment. Also, on the right you can see some of the recent comments so you’ll always know what the active discussions are. This was the most requested thing we’ve heard from people since our last redesign and we’re excited to see where it leads.

The next change is also something that was heavily requested, and that is a change to the ADS on the sites. You’ll immediately notice fewer of them, but what might not be as obvious is those smaller square ones to the right are specific to this city only and are being sold for a flat rate for a period of time rather than a confusing CPM/traffic/network model. Depending on the city, these range from $7-$175 for a full week. If you purchase one, during that time your ad will be the only one in that spot and will show on every page. We set these up both to make it easier for smaller local businesses to get their ads on our site, and also to help us bring in ads that relate better to our local audiences. Also, keeping these sites online is expensive and every little bit helps.

There are a bunch of other things we changed but we’ll leave those to you to investigate and take advantage of. Hope you like it, and we look forward to seeing you in the comments!!

The folks at MBHQ

Tax free…

I had heard that Langkawi was a tax free zone.

It might be, but in my humble opinion, Penang (read: Georgetown) can be a pretty good place to shop at times.

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And the award for…

The best public toilet goes to the toilet near the Petronas towers near the KLCC in the garden


Random rants from a visitor to KL :)

Leaving KL

After almost 4 years of calling Kuala Lumpur as home continuously, I’m again on the move. I’ll be boarding my plane on Thursday evening to Sydney, and I probably will not be returning for more or less a year later.

When I returned to KL from Ann Arbor, I had a kind of consternation about the city. Moving is always hard for me and I don’t really like it. While in Ann Arbor, I could safely say that I moved about 2 times a year. But that was just moving within the same city. Or rather, town with respect to Ann Arbor. Moving from a continent to another continent is another matter.

Although I call Kuala Lumpur as my home city, years being away turned my into a pessimist. It is too big, the environment is not so free, etc. In a sense, it was Malaysia, with its illberal culture. Being used to living in a society with deep respect for individual liberty, moving to a society like Malaysia’s, even in Kuala Lumpur being the most liberal of all places in the country, feels like sacrificing part of myself.

I’d like to think that I rebelled while I was in Kuala Lumpur. But I guess, I learned to love it. And I did have a great time in the city. Furthermore, its colonial architecture is something to marvel at.

I mellowed and learned to accept the reality of Kuala Lumpur. With that acceptance, I familiarize myself with the city, slowly discovering the city by going through its alleys. It took time. And it took me time to put Ann Arbor behind and focus on facing Kuala Lumpur.

Now, I have to do that all over again with Sydney.

I think, I will love Sydney. People have been saying that it is like San Francisco and I love San Francisco. It easily ranks a top city in my list due to its ambiance, its location, weather, services, people.

Still, I was in San Francisco as a visitor, not as a resident. My context in Sydney will be wildly different.

I’ll be boarding my plane on Thursday. Judging by my inactivity here, it is likely that this will be the last post written in Kuala Lumpur for a long time.

So, goodbye, for now. Goodbye KL.

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I have roamed around quite a bit in KL through cabs, monorail, car and buses. I went to the butterfly park – which was a huge disappointment. The fishes there were a better tourist’s attraction than the butterflies or maybe I expected more off 18 ringlets per person fee. I went to Genting Highlands yesterday and it was absolutely amazing. I didn’t expect any place in Malaysia to be that cold. Went on the flying coaster ride which was pretty marvelous too. Went to the National Museum which was absolutely amazing. I specially was pretty much amazed by the way Islam’s entrance to Malaysia was portrayed. And became slightly proud of the fact that some of the tiles inside the museum were a gift from Pakistan’s Government to the Government of Malaysia! Berjaya Times Square is absolutely amazing and there is a launch of some new energy drink at NOON tomorrow over here!

Anyhow – this is it. More coming soon. Including my opinion of Putrajaya :)

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Here I come…

I am Talha from Islamabad Metblogs. I am in KL for a while and shall be posting my experiences in this city for the next some days.

Till now – I am loving the city.

Steve McCurry in KL

Steve McCurry gave a talk at the Central Market Annexe earlier today. Who?

He’s the guy by the road in KL that sells a lot of tasty chicken curry. Okay, that was absolutely lame.

He is the photographer that produced that famous National Geographic’s “Afghan Girl” photo back in the 1980s.

I found out about the talk quite late; less than 12 hours only. But I did get there in time at 20:00 hours. Unfortunately, being on time was not enough. According to a friend, the small hall was full by 19:30 hours!

I couldn’t get in. And a lot of people were standing outside, clearly disappointed because they couldn’t get in too.

I went straight home after that, heartbroken. Oh well.

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WRW8402 Green Avanza, a road bully

Have you read the news?

PETALING JAYA: A drive home from the bank turned violent for a 72-year-old retiree who fell victim to a road bully in Damansara Damai. [Road bully in his 30s assaults 72-year-old man. The Star. June 5 2009]

According to a tweet on Twitter, the road bully drives a WRW8402 Green Avanza. Be an the look out. If you see it, contact the Petaling Jaya Police Station.

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Overheard in Kuala Lumpur

At the bottom of the Petronas Twin Towers, looking up…

Tourist: Err… it ain’t that tall…

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Apparently, power went out between 03:00 to 04:00 today at my place. The whole neighborhood fell into darkness.

And it was a warm night. Oh, damn.

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Small vehicle, big noise, big ego, small pocket

Some people in Kuala Lumpur have big, big ego. Far too big to match their pockets more often than not.

It is not too common to see small cars with less than amusing noisy exhaust. Broom, broom, broom it goes.

Not only that, they have the tendency to step on their gas pedal while at rest, just to show that their tiny pathetic cars can make big noise.

I have nothing against those with small cars. Indeed, small cars with their efficient consumption of fuel and more often than not, limited carbon emission, I like them. But motive for small cars differs between those with care for the environment and those with big ego and small income.

That difference can be seen when a small car is being pimped up, which usually include noisy exhaust.

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Too hot, no, too wet, no, too cold, no… ogingo

The weather is crazy here.

It was hot like hell but the sky was clear and blue.

And later it was dark and wet, but felt so cool.

My brain is going out of control.

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Suria KLCC, you are BANNED, U MF

Guess what Suria KLCC is doing to celebrate Earth Hour?

Shutting off the lights? Dimming off the lights?

No. Giving out free F1 tickets.

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters Life!) – A Malaysian mall is marking the global Earth Hour climate change initiative by dimming its lights — and offering tickets to one of the world’s most polluting sports to well-heeled shoppers.

More than 80 countries have signed up for Earth Hour on Saturday in which homes, office towers and landmarks such as Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium and New York’s Empire State Building will turn off their lights from 8.30 pm local time.

“Earth Hour Specials 8.30 pm-9.30 pm, March 28th 2009: Free! A pair of F1 grandstand tickets when you spend 1,000 ringgit ($276.1) and above in a single receipt,” said promotional posters placed around the six-level Suria KLCC complex.

I promise not to set foot in Suria KLCC for a very long time. I will encourage other people to do the same.

I don’t mind if they do not want to participate in Earth Hour but to do so in the name of Earth Hour is missing the point.

The management of Suria KLCC is made of idiots.

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