SINGAKU [Part 4]: Heritages in Kuala lumpur

Waiting for the free bus to come.
Although the tour was not started very early, I still woke up soon in the morning to watch a soccer game between USA and Portugal. Well, it was the time of World Cup 2014! I love both soccer and traveling but when it comes to a crash between these two, i would still prefer traveling. So now, as I began this day by watching soccer, let me start today's posting with a little talk about soccer.

Soccer is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the world. That makes the terms 'world cup' identical to soccer, though many other sports have their wold cup as well. The World Cup is quadrennial event, meaning every four year there is a 'soccer fever' across the world. The popularity of soccer usually comes along with the achievement of its national teams. The best teams, I think, are the European countries. Let's say Portugal with its superstar Christiano Ronaldo whom even non-soccer lovers know or at least ever heard of. Other competitive soccer teams are Latin America countries. Brazil, for instance, another Portuguese-speaking country, had become the most successful team in World Cup by winning the competition for five times and now in 2014 Brazil acted as a host country.

Within some countries like the USA, however, other sports are outshining the fame of soccer. The Yankees were unseeded but in this cup they gave a surprise in halting Portugal's way to the next round. In Asia, so far it is only Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia who can do something in the world level. No wonder if soccer is also very popular there. But for some other countries like Malaysia or Indonesia whose soccer teams are not very good, the people are still crazy about World Cup. As their nationals teams are never qualified for the finals round, they will surely have to support teams from other nationals. In Indonesia we can find supporters of almost all seeded teams, but and there is a tendency for the older generations to support the Netherlands. Also when it comes to the eastern part of the country, it becomes more obvious that Indonesians mostly support the Netherlands in soccer. The same thing happens for Malaysians who mostly support England. Why is that so? It's simply because historical relationship among the nations. Indonesia was under the Dutch colonization and Malaysia was under the British.

Getting under the British colonization is often considered better than being colonized by the Dutch. At least the people in that country would speak better English. To me, the British was also seemingly better in educating people of their colonies to take good care of their heritages. Today we were about to see those heritages by visiting Dataran Merdeka.

Here in Dataran Merdeka, the independence from British was declared. Still we could see many old buildings around just like they were when in the colonial era. Among those were Sultan Abdul Samad Building (built in 1894), Former High Court Building (1909), and St. Mary's Cathedral (1894). All were in good conditions though few were also vandalized in the past.

I was explaining about the places around Dataran Merdeka.
As far as I observed, the key to maintain the old buildings was to keep using them as a place to do something. For instance, the old buildings of The Government Printing Office and Kuala Lumpur Memorial Library (1898) are now used as KL City Gallery. Here is a good place to learn about history of Kuala Lumpur or even as a starting point to explore the city. The best thing it has got inside is actually the city miniature show, but it was the time for maintenance when we came. There was no show but still we were allowed to come inside and see the miniature.

Few new buildings which were built recently around Dataran Merdeka did not reduce the taste of an old town as the architectures were designed accordingly to the old ones. Kuala Lumpur City Library (1989), for example, might deceive those who see it as a building from the colonial area. Another new building, acts as a tiny shopping mall and parking lot, is hidden underground.

When we were crossing the street, some vehicles had crossed the line.
The marvelous miniature of KL
Long before the British came to Malaysia, Chinese and Indian merchants had been in Malay Peninsula. Even historians explain that Malay people, often considered as locals, are also comers. Then before all of those people came, who had been there? Many tribes, but often classified as one group called "Orang Asli". These indigenous people made use of caves located about a dozen kilometers away from KL as their shelters. These caves are called as Batu Caves which later transformed into a Hindu temple.

Batu Caves is a very popular tourist destination and a must-see for KL visitors. Connected by a commuter line makes it is economical to reach the place. But since the commuter train is unlike LRT, sometimes it needs quite a time to wait one. And be reminded that the commuter train is always heavily packed during the rush hours. Also sometimes if you are not lucky, you can get a rundown coach like what I got on this day. The air-con was not cool at all! The others sat inside the ladies coach which was cooler. As a sole man, I was left alone. Anyway I won't discuss furthermore about Batu Caves, I've written it down on the trip before. And same as previous, the couple didn't come up the 272 stairs for the sake of energy saving.
Murugan statue at Batu Caves
After Batu Caves, we moved toward Bank Negara. We walked all the way from the commuter station just to find that the museum closed. Damn, i forgot it was Monday! Even earlier the fountain at Dataran Merdeka was off. Visiting tourist attractions on Monday is always not to be the best option indeed. What we're supposed to do on Monday is shopping. Previously after seeing the heritage buildings around Dataran Merdeka, we went to Central Market and Kasturi Walk which were only a stone's throw away from there. Now we were about to return to that area, especially to Petaling Street. Many old buildings around there still stood up. But to me, the exotic Petaling Street is a heritage itself. This area is highly recommended for staying for its proximity to many transport, shop and food options.
An entrance gate to Petaling Street.
An identical one is at the other end of the street.
Hanging Chinese lamps are adding the taste of Chinatown area.

Hours and hours passed. Many stalls were closed and it became more quiet around Petaling Street. It was finally time for us to go back to the guesthouse and so ended this tour because early on the next day we had to dismiss. The others would fly back to Indonesia but for the couple the journey would go on. Personally, the couple love this trip fellows and this tour. Hope our traces would not fade away and soon become another heritage of Kuala Lumpur.

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