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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.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Carcosa Seri Negara

Weddings by SHER recently had a job decorating for a wedding function at the Carcosa Seri Negara. As I have never been there, I invited myself to 'help'.  Of course, I was more interested in photography then actually helping.

I thought it was one building, or at least a complex of of buildings next to each other.

But upon entering the main gate, it pointed to two different directions.

The origin of the exotic non-English non-Malay name – Carcosa – remained a mystery till somebody contacted Swettenham in 1936.

Built in 1898 at a cost of $67,000 the mansion was named Carcosa by Swettenham, who came across it in the dedicatory verses at the front of a book of horror stories called “The King in Yellow” by Robert Chambers.

Along with shore the cloud waves break,
The twin suns sink beneath the lake,
The shadows lengthen in Carcosa.

Strange is the night where black stars rise,
And twin moons circle through the skies,
But stranger still is Lost Carcosa.

Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
Where flap the tatters of the king,
Must die unheard in Dim Carcosa.

Song of my soul, my voice is dead,
Die thou unsung as tears unshed,
Shall dry and die in Lost Carcosa.

Swettenham opined that the name had been created by the author’s fancy though it looks like a combination of cara and casa and would mean ‘desirable dwelling’ as indeed, I found it.
from "Insider's Kuala Lumpur" by Lam Seng Fatt
Times Book Intenational
(The edition I have is from 2000.  I've seen newer editions in the bookstores.)

The function was at Seri Negara.  During colonial times it was 'King's House', after Independence it was the 'Istana Tetamu', now it is 'Seri Negara'.


The 'pelamin' (wedding dais) for the nikah.
Part of the 'hantaran' (wedding gifts).

The 'bunga pahar' (gift for guests who 'bless' the couple).

The 'Mas Kawin' (dowry).  Crisp new notes, folded and made into flowers.

The Tunku (Abdul Rahman – our first Prime Minister) graciously presented Carcosa to the British Government to be used as the High Commissioner’s home. This state of affairs continued till almost 30 years later, when rising nationalistic emotions forced the Malaysian Government to claim it back from the British on 1 August 1986.
- Insider's Kuala Lumpur 

1 comment:

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

I heard that they were having trouble managing the place because of the high cost of maintenance. I hope it would NOT be left in a state of disrepair like Majestic Hotel/the former National Art Gallery. Great photos, both of the exterior facade and the colonial-type interior furnishings!