The land in between and the many colors of Malaysia

image Sentul Park is an exciting place in Kuala Lumpur, also because it is such a difficult space to fit in one category. It used to be a Railway station with its offices, under the British , and some entrepots are still functioning. Nowadays, however most of the beautiful entrepots have been reused magnificently by the KL Performing Art Centre (KLPAC). The centre exudes a feel of urban recovered and arty happening area that is rare in KL. And, yet, next to the entrepots some colonial brick buildings crumble with elegance and class to make memorable photos: the contrast is even more dramatic because the victorian arches are left in a traffic island in a sort of inaccessibility statement. Around KLPAC, a beautiful  park with ponds and strangling fig trees stretches, although most of it is offlimits since part of a recently developed condo area. And to jump to another extreme of esthetics a delightful and romantic Thai restaurant watches discretly on one side of the pond, adding that touch of “conventional smiling SouthEastAsia” tourist vision that most travellers to this region hope for. While I am writing this, I start to ponder how much this fascinating place is a metaphor of the different natures of Malaysia today and the sometimes difficult dialectic among them: nature and development, modern young contemporary creation and the colonial past (the latter not well yet integrated back ,except for the stark class and race division), public space and land given over to private developers, different postcards that are all very charming for once set next to each other with a lovely and dynamic result. Last weekend we also added another variable to Sentul, which is the incredible diverse gallery of Malaysian traditional arts. Thanks to a newly started festival, the NGO Pusaka grouped many different troupes and in a hut stage made us taste the many ways Malaysia entertained his own people, maybe in the case of some traditions with an eye at pleasing also the spirits of the forests and the rivers (but that was a long long time ago). Under the hazy scorching sun, it was an exciting incredible day, with many different people and colours that enchanted us and walked us into the breeze of the night. We laughed with the MahMeri Orang Asli, with the Teochew puppets, danced in many occasions and finally fell under the charme bewitched by the Wayang Kulit, the shadow puppets. We traveled across Malaysia maybe, but also through memories, forests, storms, immigrant boats and town squares, every place people would feel like to meet and enjoy together the day or dusk or night. image


2 responses to “The land in between and the many colors of Malaysia

  1. I have never been to malaysia. Although I have been to most countries in Southeast Asia like China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore. I hope to visit one day!


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