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Thursday, February 03, 2005

From the muddy banks of the Gombak River

last Tuesday was Federal Territory Day. as a good self-proclaimed 'Warga Kota', i suddenly felt the urge to write about the city where i work my trade, my source of living, the place where things happen....Kuala Lumpur lah, where else?
actually, when i grew up...i would have imagined myself working in KL. maybe it was because of the close proximity to seremban, maybe it was because my dad used to work in KL (u know how as kids u wanted to be like dad) or just maybe because of the healthy dosage of 80's malay genre of Mr. Os movies, 'Aku Budak Minang' and other tales of people struggling to make a living in the big city of Kuala Lumpur. somehow, Lat's classic 'Mat Som' stands out in my memory.
u wouldn't know the feeling if u're living in KL. when i was a kid, i'd look forward to the weekends or the school holidays going to KL to visit the Zoo or Mimaland or someplace like that. one thing i remembered was that there wasn't a McDonald's in seremban, so a trip to KL meant a visit to bloodsuckin' Ronald McDonald himself. the one we usually frequented was the McD in Ampang Park (back in those days, where else could u go??). when i think about it, it feels like nothing now, but back then....it was like a perfect day, munching on my Happy Meal while my parents fret what kind of junk their kids are growing up on.
and even in secondary school, a trip back home means a stopover in KL. i could have easily gotten an express ticket direct from Ipoh to Seremban, but nooooooooo....mana bole tak singgah KL. the latest arcade games can be found at Sungai Wang, the coolest t-shirts and accessories are here, anything anyone talked about was here. this was THE place to be.
but having stayed here for more than 5 years now, from my university days...u don't get the thrill it once gives u. but the city is rapidly growing and it's great to see development everwhere. long gone are the days of the pink Bas Mini and Jalan TAR closing on Saturdays because of the pasar malam.
Kuala Lumpur is truly an international city. i think almost anyone can feel right at home here, whether u're from Vanuatu or the Middle East. we've got some of the greatest buildings in the world and it's great to see KL growing in its own way. u can encounter people from all walks of life here, whether it's the super-rich or some guy just happy to get through the day alive.
going to work on the LRT really gives you a great view of the people and how colorful KLites are. whether it's the selipar Jepun-clad makcik getting off at the KLCC station or the flamboyant yuppie looking for bargains at Petaling Street, KL truly has it all. where else in the world can you go from the dusty, muddy grounds of Kampung Baru to a world-class building in KLCC within walking distance?
the Mayor's vision in turning KL into a world class city is truly laudable and should be praised. but high-rise buildings and gigantic super-structures alone aren't enough. yes....KL along with other major cities in the world has its own share of problems. whether it's the crappy state of the roads, the never-ending traffic jams or the bad condition of the public utilities, we've got our fair share of problems. but which city doesn't, right? at least our crime rate isn't as sky high as some other places.
but one thing i'd really like to see is a modern, progressive society where our values isn't compromised. it's truly sickening to see people pushing and shoving to get into buses, people not giving up their seats for elders, and other simple things that doesn't really need multi-million dollar campaigns from the Government. i'm not demanding for angels and prophets in our society. these are the simple unwritten rules that everyone in their right mind should know.
KL is a great city to live in. but there's certain people and things that makes it satisfactory. so on the week we celebrate Federal Territory Day, how bout a hope for a better KL ahead...

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