KL's Chinatown

I walked pass this street corner at
Jalan Tun H. S. Lee as depicted in old photo!
Locals who live and work in the heart of Kuala Lumpur may be so familiar with the neighbourhood in KL’s Chinatown that they are oblivious to sights that seem interesting to out-of-towners like me.  It is quite a challenge to negotiate the busy roads both by car and on foot because the pavements are narrow or some construction is going on at various street corners.  Or stage buses are parked at pedestrian crossings with engines running, waiting for passengers to alight or board and generally causing obstruction.

I walk across the bridge towards Central Market but my eyes are riveted to the street graffiti that adorn the walls of the storm drains.  Malaysians indeed do have talent and I pause to look at their street art that are both colourful and eye-catching.  I also see the fast-flowing river which gave our capital city its name, Kuala Lumpur. 

My Geography lessons did not go to waste because I can recall that our teacher said the city is located at the confluence or meeting point of two rivers, the Gombak and Klang Rivers.  In the Malay language, kuala means a junction between two rivers while lumpur means mud, so the name Kuala Lumpur literally means a muddy river junction!

Mangled signboard but I can still read it!
I’m trying to find an address at Jalan Tun H. S. Lee and the use of Google Maps is a great help because (to the unfamiliar!) it is quite a maze to find the way on foot among the rows of old shops and buildings.  While there is a destination to reach, I can’t help but get distracted by the colourful sights and sounds in the old streets. 

I of course, captured a few interesting photos in my walkabout but when I returned to Johor Baru, I was caught up with work and did not find time to organize the photos.  My sister and I took our mum out on a recent weekend and we went to check out the newest mall in Kulaijaya.  As we walked through the food court, my eyes were glued to a far wall because it was filled by a huge poster of a street scene that looked oh so familiar.  My mum and sister walked on but I stopped to look closer at the details until I recognised that it was a photo of KL’s Chinatown that featured Jalan Tun H. S. Lee!

This old photo compelled me to sort out my photos to share with readers, a glimpse of the heritage I saw when I was in KL’s Chinatown recently.   It’s so uncanny that I was walking around those very streets just as those people did in that old photo!

Entrance to Petaling Street, a popular street market destination which is now covered for the convenience of shoppers and merchants; Note the tourist coach and van parked nearby!

A sign spotted at Petaling Street with a warning by order of the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur that it is prohibited to sell any counterfeit product brands

Traditional wooden clogs used by the Chinese – the men’s style is different from the ladies clogs which are more elegantly shaped [See far left on the row of clogs]

If these walls could speak, what tales they will tell?  Check out the wall stains, peeling plaster and broken windows that give this building so much character!

      Guys, fancy a haircut at Stylo – opened since 1937 – the oldest barber shop in Malaysia?

A serving of Shin Kee Beef Noodles in clear soup is topped with a dollop of fragrant minced beef stir-fried in dark sauce – simply delicious!

Façade of Central Market, a commercial cultural centre that showcases Malaysian traditional handicrafts, is now a popular destination for both locals and foreign tourists;  The building was the former main wet market in Kuala Lumpur which was adapted for reuse as Central Market in 1986

Inside the Ladies Room in Central Market; Please note that entry is only upon payment of RM0.50 per person into a coin-machine that operates a little turnstile!


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