Sunday, August 31, 2008

Let Freedom Ring!






Here we are on this historic day, 51 years after Malaysia gained independence. As you are reading this post right now, very high chances that the parade is going on down the streets of Kuala Lumpur!

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This is the flagpole at Dataran Merdeka. Its HUGE. It might not look that big in this picture because there's nothing to compare it with but trust me, its big.

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Remember yesterday's palm trees? Here's a closer shot at one of them.

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Its a little abstract but this is the wood frame for the benches at Dataran Merdeka under construction. Its right next to the road I'll assume that these are VIP seats or used for performing purposes.

It does bring back some childhood memory. My family would normally wake up as early as 6 to watch the annual parade.

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THIS is Dataran Merdeka. The direct translation is Freedom Square. Thats the flagpole at the end there. Its hard to believe that so much has happened on this field in the past 51 years.

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Take a good look at the grass. Its HISTORICAL grass!!!

This feature has finally come to an end. I hope that you guys have got a nice glimpse of Malaysia, hopefully enough for to tempt you to pay it a visit =)

I tell you....there is SO much more to Malaysia. These 8 days alone are not enough to actually summarize what Malaysia is all about. Perhaps next time I would like to do a feature concentrating more on people! It might be slightly hard though.

During my trip I did realize that Malaysians are AFRAID to be photographed. Perhaps its just the inner celebrity in everyone who wants to feel what it is like to evade paparazzi.

To be honest Malaysia has a lot to improve but on the other hand Malaysia has come a long way. Personally I think the recent political stress on Malaysia actually showed how much we Malaysians love our country. People are voicing out their opinions for the good of the country.

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I love Malaysia =)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Justice is Served






Tomorrow is the 31st of August 2008 !!! Chill guy, chill! Its, almost over so stay with me.

Ok, what is big has sharp teeth and a dorsal fin? A lawyer.

*awkward silence*

Lame jokes aside today I would be showing you another famous landmark in Malaysia. Paris has the Eiffel Tower, China has the Great Wall of China and Malaysia has the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

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Located directly opposite Dataran Merdeka this place certainly has its own fair share of history. Personally, I have always regarded these two places as one. Most of the National Day parades are held in this area. This year however it would be held at the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC).

During my small trip I saw this small group of kids + 1 adult sitting across the road painting this famous landmark. I have never been good with paint so I took some time to marvel at their work.

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This picture holds a really close resemblance of the building.

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I'll assume that this guy is their art teacher, because all of the kids look different. That building is the famous Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

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Here's a closer look at the building. When I took the trip last week, National Day preparation was already at hand. That word "Merdeka" means independance. Its a phrase that Malaysians would shout 7 times together in unison as a simbol to declare out freedom.

Its really nice to see different people come together on this special day. There are also people who make their way from other countries and tag along to this happy occasion.

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*If you like pina colodas......* I really like the fact that they planted palm trees along the whole street. Strolling down that street, for a moment you might think that you are in hollywood. Only difference is that Hollywood is not so hot and Dataran Merdeka has less 'stars'.

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It looks like the Big Ben don't you think? NO, we are not copycats! The building was designed and built during the British occupation. So its nice to assume that the same people who built the Big Ben built this building. Hmmm.....imagine if Malaysia was ruled by the French instead. xP

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As you can see, the sun is already high and the heat is hot! (just as water is wet). Tomorrow, we'll be visiting Dataran Merdeka!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Its Alive!






The sun is already high and I'm perspiring from the heat. My short trip is coming to an end (I skipped the part where I was AT Dataran Merdeka, saving that for the last 2 days). I have to find my way back to Petaling Street and hop on a train to get home.

This time I'm not going to pay Rm 10 for a 10 minute ride! I chose to walk instead. To my surprise it was not far at all. 20 minute of casual strolling was all it took for to arrive at my destination.

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It was peak hour. Working people were having their lunch breaks. Watching the hustle and bustle of the city was interesting. You get to see different characters 'manifest' as people get restless on the road. It can only be described as a symphony of horns??

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Read! Perhaps this could show how important reading is. Go grab a book right now and start chomping down those words.

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This building is just screaming for attention. Fun fact! Technically, in science red has the longest wavelength, therefore enabling it to be seen from a further distance compared to other colors. And that is why red is used as a distress sign.

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I stopped by this place called Central Market, its located right next to the train station. This market sells almost anything that has to do with Malaysian culture. Its a tourist attraction so expect the things to be ridiculously overpriced.

There's an art gallery at the back of this building too. I've been to one of the photography exhibitions there and it was really good. It was fun staring at the photo for a good 10 minutes and pretend to analyze it.

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Man, these people are vultures! I can't take pictures of their products without buying something first. So, sorry but there would be no photos of the things you can buy in Central Market. This picture is all I got, the floor.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Walking Around Dataran Merdeka






I got owned! Clueless and lost in the city, I was finding my way to the Dataran Merdeka. The sun was already up and it starts to get hot. I wandered around more looking at signs hoping that one would point me in the right direction.

Finally, I decided to just take a cab. Take note here, I came across this group of un-metered taxis. The driver offered to take me to Dataran Merdeka at the price of Rm 10. It was freaking expensive! I knew that the place was not far, 10 minutes at most.

I spent only Rm 6 coming to the city by train. But I was desperate, the sun was almost high and it might get too bright. I agreed to take the ride.

Who knew? I was right, the ride took less than 10 minutes. Here's some pictures of places around that area. I shall save pictures of the Dataran Merdeka for another day!

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Nope, this is not a river! Its a gigantic drain. Interesting to see trees growing around it as it it was a river bank. I do not recommend swimming there.

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I found these flowers growing by the street. It was planted there by the city council workers. The flowers really help make the area more beautiful. Kuala Lumpur is a beautiful city. It might not be as clean as Singapore but I do believe it has its own character.

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Fountain of life anyone??

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Another random picture. This is the structure on the ground which is used to hold up tall palm trees. I was surprised to see that effort was put to ensure that even little details like this look good.

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Here I am giving peace a chance! Peace! This is the floor in front of the Kuala Lumpur Library which is located right next to the Dataran Merdeka. I was sweating like crazy when I arrived at Dataran Merdeka so I decided to cool off in the air-conditioned library =)

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This is the Hibiscus plant. The flower is the national flower of Malaysia. Called the 'Bunga Raya' in Malay, its iconic dark red petals makes it really easy to notice. This flower can be found all over Malaysia, that is why it was made the national flower.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Taking it to the Streets






Here we are again in Chinatown. Its early and the town is just starting to come alive. I could see people walking down the road, heading towards wherever their jobs are. An old man is sitting at a bright red coffee table sipping on a piping hot cup of coffee.

A man in his twenties honked at me, signaling me to get out of his way. People were preparing for the flood of customers that would come in later.

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As you can see here, people are just starting to get to work. Most of them have to get up really early. At least I am not alone when I get up early for school each day. Yeah, so this is a little glimpse of the life of people in this town!

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This man here is making "Apam Balik" which is a one of Malaysia's famous snacks (Btw, snacks here are mostly referred to as Kueh). As I have explained in my previous post, Malaysians take their food really seriously.

Malaysia consist of 3 main races which is the Malay, Chinese, and Indians. Each race has their very own unique culture. Therefore, we have different food form different cultures! I feel really blessed to be able to grow up eating Malaysian food.

Plus we have the imports from all over the world like the western cuisine, Japanese, Mexican and the list goes one. In the end you have one giant food hub. You can find almost ANYTHING here in Kuala Lumpur.

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Two people walking down the streets in the morning.

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An old lady selling homemade dumplings. Its make from glutinous rice (I called it 'sticky rice' because the rice is sticky....). The dumplings have a triangular shape and is called "Dian Sin" in Mandarin. Right in the middle of this triangular structure lies a treasure of stewed mushrooms and pork (there are variations with other meat).

My great grandma make the best dumplings! She would normally give my familya bunch when we visit her. The thing I love about old people is that they know so much! In my case its a great thing because she is very well-versed in the arts of cooking. Thank God that she is still alive today =)

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Here's a picture to illustrate another aspect pf Malaysia. The ladies love it and its called shopping! Things in Petaling Street is really cheap (I have to admit that prices have gone up a bit because its a tourist attraction).

Located smack in the middle of Chinatown you can find things ranging from LV bags to Rolex watched at rock bottom prices (ermm....these are fakes of course). I have heard stories of business men coming all way here to buy watches for themselves and their friends.

Beware! The peddlers do not tag their products so prices fluctuates and can be bargained. They might claim it to be a "good fake" but a fake is still a fake =_=

Despite all these things, Petaling Street is still an awesome place to visit. It actually adds up to the character of the place.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Roaming Chinatown






I arrived at the train station at around 7 am and took another train to another section of the city. My destination is Pasar Seni (directly translated to Art Market) which is located in "Chinatown".

Honestly, I am embarrassed to say that I don't know the exact name of the area. I've known the place as "Chinatown" my whole life. The locals also know the place as Chinatown. Speaking of Chinatown, it does not imply that this place is the chinese area of Malaysia. Despite the name, people in this city is diverse in terms of race.

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Hmm...where should I go? I am headed right, to Petaling Street! You MIGHT notice this place from the travel shows. This is the place where the travel shows ALWAYS feature when talking about Malaysia.

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The texture and color of the flowers really caught my eye here.

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Here is the famous street. Empty in the morning, it burst into vibrant activity right in the afternoon and gets crazy during midnight. I love this place alot because despite being such a big tourist attraction it has managed to retain some of its cultural heritage.

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This is the picture of the back alley. I wandered to the back alleys, places where not many people usually go. Don't worry! There were quite a number of people around......I would not wander alone to a dark and lonely alley.

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This guy here is selling toys at the back alley. There are MANY stores here to my surprise and there were lots of people passing through. Apparently there is some sort of public transport at the end of the alley.

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Here's a candid shot of an old man standing in front of a bamboo wall! His pose was just so candid, I could not resist.

Thinking back, walking through those alleys reminds me that despite being quite a developed city, there are still people in Kuala Lumpur (Chinatown is in Kuala Lumpur) who are struggling to earn a living.

Its gotten tougher with the increasing petrol prices. The things that those people sell at the BACK ALLEY are not new. So I assume that it is scavanged from all over the place. More about Chinatown in the next post! Well, something a little more cheerful at least.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Getting to the City






Today I am going to talk about my journey into Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I got up at 6 o'clock in the morning. I would be traveling by train and it would take quite some time to reach the city considering that I live in the outskirts.

The journey would take around 1++ hours. I wanted to be able to capture the sights in the morning. The morning sun gives lights everything up nicely just like a sunset! Only difference is that its a little bit more golden and signifies a grand new start to the day.

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Here I am at the train station extremely sleepy. I practically dragged myself up from the bed to the train station, my mom was kind enough to drive me. I can't even hold the camera steady! Hence, the slightly blurry picture.

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To get to the station, I had to change to a different train line at this station called KL Sentrel (Kuala Lumpur Central). This station is perhaps the biggest station in Malaysia. You can change to different lines here. Its really convenient. Here its called the Light Rail Transit of LRT which is something like the tube in London.

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I am so proud of my fellow Malaysians for lining up! Such a spectacle is normally rare because everybody would normally barge into the train once it got there. So people would have to shoved their way in and out of the train. This is a great improvement!

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Ok, so there was these bunch of security guards there giving instructions to the people. I'm still proud of them nonetheless for lining up.

Due to the high petrol prices many people have started taking public transportation. I thought that I would be alone at a deserted station at 6.30 in the morning. But I was wrong! As you can see the place is crowded with people.

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It took quite some time for me to get into the train. I had to wait for the next 3-5 trains before I could start boarding. The trains that come in are mostly full already anyway so I had to wait in line.

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The train rushes by and screeches to a halt. The door beeps and opens with a hiss. Heads turn and people pick up their stuff, raring to enter the train as if it is a race. I was glad to observe a fellow Malaysian assist another blind person into the train. By doing that, she sacrificed her ride because the doors closed as soon as the blind person got in.

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The 20 minutes I spent waiting was not all to waste in my opinion. It was nice watching my fellow Malaysians together living in harmony. Malaysia is consisted of many different races and I am proud to say that we do mesh together really nicely.