Welcome to my Kuala Lumpur

This is my way of sharing my discoveries, re-discoveries, memories & experiences

as well as other bits & pieces of information I have of

growing up in Kuala Lumpur.

Your comments & suggestions to make this blog your reference to all things KL would be very much appreciated.

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Yap Ah Loy

Who founded Kuala Lumpur? Yap Ah Loy (picture above from wikipedia.org) or Raja Abdullah?

Jalan Yap Ah Loy, quite close to the Central Market.

This is a picture of the whole street. Not a long one to be named after someone who is said to have 'founded' Kuala Lumpur.

The Sin Sze Si Ya temple along Jalan Tun HS Lee built by Yap Ah Loy.

I have passed this place so many times before but never realized what it was or it's significance other than it being a Chinese temple.

According to wikipedia.org, this intro board is at the entrance of the temple. If it's still there, I didn't notice it.

The sign said that the parking lot is meant for devotees, but I thought that there were more cars parked there than the number of devotees present when I was there.

The main shrine as seen from the entrance. I did not venture in though.

The entrance to the temple from the back lane.

Coming back to the question at the begining of this post, there have been convincing arguments for both claims (at least from my point of view), but one point to note is that Yap Ah Loy was the third Kapitan Cina of KL, not the first.

Kapitan Cinas of KL
  • 1858-1861: Kapitan Hiu Siew
  • 1862-1868: Kapitan Liu Ngim Kong
  • 1868-1885: Kapitan Yap Ah Loy
  • 1885-1889: Kapitan Yap Ah Shak
  • 1889-1902: Kapitan Yap Kwan Seng

The post of Kapitan was abolished after the death of Kapitan Yap Kwan Seng.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Jalan Ampang 2

Among the tallest, if not the tallest, building in KL way back then. It was known as the AIA building.

It was among the first buildings to have an automatic door and an escalator. It was such a novelty in those days.

The United States Information Services (or USIS, later changed to the Lincon Cultural Centre) one of two popular libraries was located here. The other library was the British Council.

The terraces beside the building was where an A & W outlet used to be. It was also the short-cut to St John's Institution.

The taller and larger, new AIA building next door.

The Convent Bukit Nanas still standing at it's original location.

Two other girl's schools, St Mary's and Bukit Bintang Girl's School have been relocated to make way for development. The land where St Mary's is being developed in to a residential apartments complex and is still under construction, while BBGS is where 'the Pavilion' shopping complex is. It's said that loyal BBGS students have vowed not to step into the Pavilion.

KL Tower seen from Jalan Ampang. The Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve is one of the last few remaing pieces of rain forest in the heart of the city.

An old overhead bridge along Jalan Ampang.

The steel structure leads to Convent Bukit Nanas.

Many of the buildings along this stretch used to be the offices of multi-national trading companies. Many of the buildings (such as those below) are now abandoned. Vanguard's is one of the few companies still surviving here today.

Honda has opened a showroom here.

A man-made waterfall, part of DBKL's beautification program for KL.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jalan Ampang

Here begins Ampang Road or Jalan Ampang. Jalan Ampang leads all the way to Ampang, the eastern suburb of KL. For now we will only go up to it's junction with Jalan Dang Wangi.

One of the first buildings we encounter along Jalan Ampang is the Standard Chartered Bank building. The Bank's head office used to be here before it's move to the what used to be the Shazan Towers in Jalan Sultan Ismail.

Only the Len Seng Bas Co. uses the bus stop infront of the bank as it's terminal for the KL/Setapak/Melawati route.

Oppersite is the Bilal Restaurant, THE Indian Muslim restaurant of the 1960's.

The Federal Bakery outlet near Bilal's.

In those days, the Federal Bakery brand was one of the premier brands of bread. The other premier brand was Cold Storage. These sandwich loafs were wrapped in a kind of waxed paper, the current plastic bags being not so common then.

This building which now houses an Indian restruant used to be the offices of the Tamil Daily, Tamil Nesan. The Thaipusam chairot used to kept here before a place was made available for it at the Temple at Jalan Bandar (High Street).

The track that used to guide the chariot is still there.

This Chinese clan association building used to have a Nyonya restaurant not too long ago.

The Selango Ann Kuat Foundation building.

The Kuala Lumpur Eng Choon Hoey Kuan Association building.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lebuh Ampang

Let's visit Lebuh Ampang (Ampang Street), sometimes also known as Chetty Street to locals.

Before we reach Lebuh Ampang, we pass Lebuh Melaka (or Malacca Street). The Kelana Jaya Line (or PUTRA) Masjid Jamek station is located here.

The Bank Muamalat building.

This was the site of the Malacca Street bus terminal. This was KL's main terminal with all buses stopping here. Only the Sri Jaya buses used Foch Avenue (now Lebuh Cheng Lok). It was after the closure that the terminals moved to Pekeliling, Pudu Raya and Klang Bus Stand.

The Lee Rubber building.

The Oriental Building which now houses officers of CIMB Bank.

This is Lebuh Ampang. Now you may understand why this is also known as Chetty Street.

Although most people use Chetty and money lender inter-changeably, this is far from the truth. The Chettys are an Indian community and as with the other Indian communities, it's members can be found in almost all occupations, as doctors, lawyers, government servants, office workers and the rest.

There are many Indian restaurants along Lebuh Ampang. Here you have Lakshmi Vilas, one of the original restaurants in the area, side-by-side with a relative new-comer, Bakti Woodlands.

PA Wahab is now the only grocer from the old days still operating along this street. Sundram Dispensary has been here since the 1960's although I'm not sure if Dr. Sundram is still practicing medicine.

Jewelers who are established along this street.

Batu Pahat has two outlets here.

Pigeons feeding. It is customary of the shopkeepers to throw grain along the sidewalk to feed these birds.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jalan Tun Perak

Jalan Tun Perak was previously known as Mountbatten Road. It starts at the end of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and continues to join Jalan Pudu. It is said that in the early days of KL the road was Java Street.

PH Hendry, royal jewellers have moved here to Jalan Tun Perak from Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

CIMB Bank Building.

This was the site of Robinson's & Co, a popular department store at that time. The original building was built just after the 2nd World War and was reinforced to withstand bomb attacks. So you can imagine the difficulty the contractor had in demolishing the building before the present structure was built for the United Asian Bank (UAB). Due to bank mergers and name changes, UAB became Bank of Commerce, then Bumipurta Commerce Bank and now CIMB Bank.

Ubaidullah & Co. and the Ubaidi Foundation.

Tan Sri SOK Ubaidullah passed away in January 2009 after a prolonged illness. I used to study Quran recitation with the late Tan Sri's sons at Masjid India in the early 1970's.

In the days when travel by ship was the preferred means of getting between India and Malaysia, Ubaidullah & Co. was the place to book your passage. Ship travel ceased when the vessel
Chidambram was damaged in a fire.

The OCBC Bank building has been rebuilt with the pre-war building look.

Entrance to the Masjid Jamek Bandaraya.

Gian Singh's, a popular and famous tailor used to be located here.

This was Krishna Silk Stores, then a Sai Baba center and now occupied by my namesake.

It's a good thing that they did not demolish the building facade, otherwise it would be character-less as can be witnessed from the section that is protruding above the original building.

Even if some of the old buildings appear to be poorly maintained, there is no denying that they exude character.