Sunday, December 21, 2008

KL - Muddy No More

I am going to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.

Can I assume that you know where that is? You should. At least, you should know that it is the capital and the largest city in Malaysia. It is in Selangor, one of the 13 states in Malaysia and to many, Kuala Lumpur is just K.L. However, if you look into the meaning of its name, it simply means 'muddy confluence' in the Malay language.

I cannot remember the number of times I have visited the city. All I know is that I cannot use words like countless, numerous or umpteenth. KL is the only global city in Malaysia and it constantly undergoes rapid redevelopment. Each time I visit the place, nothing looks familiar to me.

Unlike places like Malacca and Penang, KL does not have a long history to talk about. It all started in the 1850s in some tin mines. Back then, the place thrived on tin mining and many Chinese migrants flocked there to earn a living. Interestingly, in the early days, KL was led by Yap Ah Loy, a Chinese Kapitan (headman) who was known as the founding father of KL. He was instrumental to the earlier systematic growth of the city.

I shall not bore you with the history. Let's fast forward to the 21st Century city which I will be visiting.

If I were to ask friends and colleagues for some recommended activities in KL, I am likely to be advised to shop. There are more than 60 shopping malls in KL. That sounds like I would be spoilt for choice except that I am really not an avid shopper. Nonetheless, I will not rule out shopping as one of the possible things to do.

Talking about shopping malls, most would not miss mentioning Suria KLCC. It has a 1.5 million sq sf of shopping space at the base of the famous Petronas Towers. Cannot imagine the space of 1.5 mil sq sf? Let me help you a little: Vivocity is about 1 mil sq ft. (If you are not from Singapore, go figure some other ways, sorry!)

I was there a few years ago checking out the 450m building. I was hoping that I could experience scaling the tallest building then but I arrived on the day the Petronas Towers became the 2nd tallest in the world. Yup! The day after it was surpassed by Taipei 101. Well, meant to be.

If for some strange reasons I find KLCC not big enough, Berjaya Times Square should solve the problem. With 3.5 mil sq ft of shopping space, it is the largest shopping mall in Malaysia and the 13th biggest in the world. I will probably get to shed some kilos just walking around the place. Phew!

There are 5 siblings in my family and I will get to visit one of them in KL. That is really great! Not many people are aware that KL too have some siblings. There are altogether 7 sister, aka, twinned cities: Delhi (India), Ankara (Turkey), Osaka (Japan), Malacca (Malaysia), Casablanca (Morocco) , Esfahan (Iran) and Mashhad (Iran). Sister cities is a concept whereby cities are paired with the goal to foster human contact and cultural links between their people.

I do not have a firm itinerary. For that matter, I do not even have the faintest clue what I would be doing there. Perhaps I will spend a few days snoozing in a city 325 km away from Singapore. Whatever it will be, I need a break.

KL, here I come.

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