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Thursday January 30, 2014 MYT 8:30:00 AM
Thursday January 30, 2014 MYT 8:46:39 AM
by dina murad
The confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers as it was in 1977 (left) and today.
IN celebration of Federal Territory Day, we take a picturesque journey through history to get a 'then and now' glimpse of the transformation undergone by Malaysia's capital as it weathers the tide of development and progress of culture.
Little India, named due to the area's high presence of Indian residents and businessmen, began as a medium-sized town on the fringes of Kuala Lumpur. It has steadily evolved into a well-known trade district and tourist landmark, specialising in textiles, spices, food and gold, among other merchandise.
As seen from the picture taken in Sept 20, 1992, the area had not yet undergone its many beautification projects, and the now-demolished Peking House was still a famous landmark. Drop by the area today and you will see vibrant and colourful decorations with Indian elements along the main roads and shops.
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Jalan Bukit Bintang was – and still is – a prominent commercial hub of the city, with many Chinese entrepreneurs originally setting up businesses along the stretch.
The picture taken during Chinese New Year on Feb 13, 1993, shows an empty Bukit Bintang as everyone returned home to celebrate the festival. Today, many Middle Eastern restaurants and establishments have a presence there.
One of the area's casualties of modernisation is the Cathay Cinema, which was torn down in 1997. In the picture taken on Aug 29, 1988, thousands of theatre buffs can be seen queuing for free tickets to a movie screening.
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Founded in 1988, the Kuala Lumpur Central Market's started out as a wet market. The building that stands today was completed in 1937 and has since been recognised as a Malaysian heritage site.
To the romantic layman, Central Market represents the heart of the city, an infusion of socialisation, commerce and culture.
The market has undergone many renovations and expansions and is now a centre for diverse genres of Malaysian art. One can purchase crafts and traditional items or rub shoulders with notable members of the local art scene.
In March and April 1986, a mezzanine floor was added to building.
Chow Kit is known as the market centre of central Kuala Lumpur, boasting a daily wet market and night market alongside its many business establishments that operate along the main thoroughfare.
Although certain sections allegedly play residence to homes of ill-repute, visitors can still safely observe the hustle and bustle of Chow Kit by keeping to the more open areas.
The first picture, taken on March 24, 1984 shows iconic pink Mini Buses, which have since been replaced with Rapid buses, and pedestrian walks expanded to allow for safer and more comfortable shopping.
On Apr 14, 1986, Malaysian singing legend Sudirman Arshad staged a free concert at Chow Kit, drawing in a remarkable crowd of 100,000, effectively bringing all traffic to a standstill.
Jalan Dang Wangi
Take a stroll along Jalan Dang Wangi and you are sure to catch a glimpse of the Odeon Theatre. The picture taken on Jan 2, 1991 and the later picture on the right show the same building with promotional posters of films plastered along its exterior.
Small shops have taken advantage of Dang Wangi's prime location and made base on the ground floor of the theatre.
During Kuala Lumpur's early days, the Sultan Abdul Samad building stood as a solitary structure, dominating the landscape opposite the Dataran Merdeka. Today, the skyline is shared by many new and modern structures that create an interesting contrast to the building's classic Mughal-inspired architecture.
Confluence of the Gombak and Klang rivers
This is where it all began - the confluence of the Klang and Gombak Rivers. The city was said to have been founded in 1857 on this very patch of land. In the picture taken in 1977, the river still meandered through the city, bordered by muddy banks.
Later on, its banks were reinforced with concrete, constructed to avert floods and ease water flow. Skyscrapers have also sprung up close by, but the stalwart waterway remains.
Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman
Formerly known as Batu Road, Jalan TAR was renamed after Malaysia's first Yang di-Pertuan Agung from Negri Sembilan. Among its many trademark buildings is the Coliseum Theatre, built in the 1920s.
The theatre's adjoining bakery was later turned into a hotel and restaurant. In the 1930s, the Coliseum staged live performances but has now switched to screening movies. Drop by the Coliseum café for its famed sizzling steak, always something to look forward to for Sunday lunches!
Kuala Lumpur Railway Station
A monument of more than 100 years, the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station is still in use today as a stop for KTM Komuter trains and express busses. The Heritage Station Hotel, located within the premises, is a welcome haven for weary travellers in need of rest and recuperation.
In the picture taken in the early 1910s, the station was one of the largest buildings in the area. After numerous renovations and additions, the Railway Station still strikes an impressive figure in the city landscape.
Until the 1990s, the interior of the station was largely unchanged, with similar signboards denoting gates. If anything has changed today, it is the digital signage and train schedules in place of older analogue clocks and signs.
The Pudu roundabout used to stand between the Cahaya Suria tower and Pudu Sentral Bus Terminal (formerly Puduraya), the busiest bus station in Kuala Lumpur. In the picture taken on Sept 18, 1989, the roundabout was a prominent feature.
Now, the roundabout is no more but the intersection is even busier and an elevated railway track runs across the road. Interestingly, the skyline remains largely unaltered despite the road's many changes on the ground.
Chinatown has long been a haven for cheap goods and accessories. A walk though Petaling Street will find enthusiastic shoppers haggling for bargains and tourists browsing through 'branded' merchandise. Today, a bright blue roof has been installed over the area to protect visitors from the elements.
Starpix of modern-day Kuala Lumpur by AZMAN GHANI and YAP CHEE HONG
A kaleidoscope of culture
Green in the city
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