Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Eventually I would like to write a little bit more about Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (I'll eventually link that here.) I found it to be an exceptional place. It seems small after HCMC. It's mildly crumbling, with vividly repurposed deco colonial architecture populated by every kind of person I can imagine. I was unprepared. I really thought KL would be much the same as Singapore, with handy post-British city planning, with overbearing cleanliness and stricture, with endless shopping malls--a sanitized melting pot. But this was much different: the Chinese and Indian populations of the Malay Peninsula seem far more integrated there. Also people who looked like they were maybe from the Middle East, the South Pacific, Mongolia, Mars. (Also people who looked like they were from varying necks of the economic woods, too.) The mix was more than merely spatial--ethnic neighborhoods blending into one another more aggressively, and perhaps sloppier, than in Singapore--but extended neatly into the features of the people themselves. Many Malaysians seem so delightfully multiethnic that unquilting them becomes immediately Quixotic. The long Indonesian history and predominately Islamic culture lends a unique and beautified air to the cultural stew. Music and food traditions hail from everywhere: the south Asian jungle, the Hindu Kush, the wide swath of the Eurasian Steppes, deserts both Persian and Mediterranean. The environment was delirious, the streets dirty, the markets congested. The head-scarves of professional women were part of official police or government or fast food uniforms (official McDonald's head-scarves. I had no idea). Off duty clothing was lively and colorful. I was surprised how much I liked this capital city, and how much I want to return for the rest of Malaysia someday. Then, I'll remember how much I really want to have a camera along with me. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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