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.