GROWING up, I moved around a lot because of my dad’s job. I have lived in at least six cities and went to five different schools.
One of the places we made home for a while was Kajang.
I may have only lived in Kajang for two years, but I still go there often for work and to visit my in-laws who stay there.
I lived in Kajang from 2004 to 2005, and it may have been 10 years ago, but the town has not changed that much apart from the ongoing MRT project.
(MRT project in Kajang)
Back then, there was only one shopping mall in town – Plaza Metro Kajang, which was where families and teenagers spent their weekend.
I remember watching a few movies in the cinema operated by Golden Screen Cinemas which has since closed.
Now, the mall is still in business but struggling to keep up with modern shopping malls, especially a new one nearby – Metro Point as well as those in neighbouring townships of Putrajaya and Cheras.
Those who grew up in Kajang, or went to school in Kajang would know the famous bookstore where everyone would get their stationery supplies – CzipLee Books and Stationery, located just a stone’s throw from Plaza Metro Kajang.
(The famous Sate Kajang Haji Samuri now occupies a building next to the Kajang Stadium. — Photos: LOW Lay PHON/the Star)
Established in the 1960s, the family-owned business opened its first store in Kajang in 1994, before opening the Bangsar outlet in 2006.
Kajang is known for its satay, so much so the town is informally known as the “satay town”.
Legend has it that an immigrant from West Java – Haji Tasmin Sakiban – was the one responsible for bringing the famous dish to Kajang.
The most famous satay joint is Sate Kajang Haji Samuri, and it is said that the founder, Datuk Samuri Juraimi, learnt the trade from Haji Tasmin.
It started small in 1992, with a stall in Jalan Kelab in front of the Kajang Stadium, before moving to Medan Sate in Jalan Sulaiman.
Today, the restaurant occupies a building next to the stadium and is one of the landmarks in Kajang.
(The Kajang wet market, where everything is available in the two-floor building.)
In the heyday of the Kajang stadium, many important football league and club matches, involving legendary football players such as Mokhtar Dahari and M. Chandran were played here.
But in early 2000, the stadium had started to become run down, and was underused.
The Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj), under then president Datuk Hasan Nawawi Abd Rahman, decided to turn the stadium into a public square.
Some 15 years later, the idea has come to fruition and many residents use the square for recreational activities.
Soon, there will also be a food court and a tourist information counter in the area.
One thing I love about Kajang is how it was not affected by rapid development.
(Plaza Metro Kajang shopping mall is now struggling to compete with newer shopping malls nearby)
Most buildings have been around for decades, and some shops have been operating for years.
For example, my husband has been sending his trousers for alteration at Adam Tailor in Jalan Sulaiman since he was young.
We now live in Subang Jaya, and he still sends his trousers all the way to Kajang to be altered.
I hope Kajang will be able to maintain its decades-old buildings and its old-town feel in the years to come, despite the rapid development surrounding it.
(The Kajang KTM station hasn’t changed much in the past 10 years.)