Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Different Shade of Kuala Lumpur

Traditional Dancers at Saloma Bristo

Do you know what Kuala Lumpur stands for? How did Kuala Lumpur become one of Asia’s richest capital cities? Well frankly nor did I, at least not before my first ever visit to this magnificent cosmopolitan city.
Kuala Lumpur means ‘muddy confluence’ in Malay. The two rivers Klang and Gombak which flow through today’s Kuala Lumpur had led to a tin mining settlement back in 1857. Before that, KL was a village that hardly held any significance.  It was supposedly discovered and developed by a group of 87 Chinese miners and the leader of the Chinese community, Yap ah Loy came to be known as the founder of KL. The village then went through some very patchy fate including power handovers, racial out bursts and wrath of nature; but overcoming from all that, KL became the capital of the independent Federation of Malaya in 1957 and of Malaysia in 1963.
And guess what, all this information wasn’t from a history book or from a tourist guide at some landmark; it was an awesome musical show! Kuala Lumpur has high risers like KL Tower and PETRONAS Twin Towers and has a cultural blend that makes it the most pleasant and liberal Islamic Capital of the world, but at the same time people there haven’t forgotten the ‘MUD’ they came from (Mud - Tin). MUD was the name of the musical which ran for roughly 50 minutes but took us through the KL- the tiny miner’s hamlet to KL- the Capital of the Malay Kingdom.

It was one of the best musicals I have ever seen and the best in ages for sure; which reminds me of the main reason behind my article today. Malaysians love culture just like Indians love their regional diversity, Japanese their traditions, Europeans their history and Americans their companies. I was pleasantly surprised by the different culture themed shows at a lot of places – MUD being one of them. Thanks to Tourism Malaysia the gang of Bloggers from India (Manjulika, Ragini and I) could witness quite a few of the shows hosted in the city.

You could also dance with the performers at Saloma Bristo

Cultural Blend Show at Saloma Bristo – Everyday in the evening there is a one hour long show on the Malaysian native people, musics and dance. The start is pretty funky and you would think what is it all about but as the evening grows the beauty of the show does too and by the end you are a part of it whether you want it or not.

Performers at Songket

Malay Performers at Songket – Want to travel to some old Malay Village? Have your dinner here. The restaurant looks like some huge Malay House and in the courtyard is where the performances happen. Malay dance music is a perfect way to enjoy Malay food right? Be sure not to go there during public holidays though else you would only be having food and nothing else. (That happened with us and I actually asked a friend to send me a video of the place to understand what I had missed.)

The brilliant team of MUD

MUD – Our story of Kuala Lumpur was the best of the lot and should not be missed by anyone who loves plays and art. We had the opportunity to see the musical at City Centre in Merdeka square, next to the confluence of the rivers in the beautiful hall which was actually the community hall during early 20th century – you get the significance don’t you?
So when in Kuala Lumpur, look at the sky and the glimmer of the PETRONAS and take selfies there, but also be a part of the people and dance to the tunes of the local music!


The Picture Perfect end to Saloma Bristo's Evening with Manjulika and Ragini

P.S. - All pictures are personal.

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