KUALA Lumpur has so much to offer but it is often not appreciated.
“Every time our friends go overseas, they will come back with stories of how London has this or Paris has that, but no one talks about what Kuala Lumpur has,” said Think City programme manager Eke Omardin.
For the past four years, Think City has been working with Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to come up with ways to improve the city in terms of space, infrastructure, laneways and also setting up urban furniture to attract both locals and tourists back into the city.
“We started off with smaller projects back then and last year, we did the laneway pop-up to encourage the public to visit back lanes by beautifying it,” said Eke.
The project’s aim was to promote cleanliness, safety and aesthetics of these laneways that are usually neglected.
This year, Think City introduced the Confluence Festival to yet again bring locals and the community working within the city centre together in a three-day cultural event.
“We want people to know that there are many others that make up this city, we have foreign workers from Myanmmar, the Philippines, Bangladesh,Iran, Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Nepal, Syria, Indonesia and India.
“They all live and work here just like us and that makes our city unique,” said Eke, who invited communities from the different countries to share their handicraft and food with the public as well.
The event at Medan Pasar offered a mix of local performances ranging from Al Muzika Performing Group with their traditional Malay music and songs to Dhol Federations’ vibrant tunes and dhol beats.
On the second day, the public were treated to native Sarawakian dances by the Rantau Lemamang Group followed by the Nyoba
Kan Javanese dance drama performance based on the Indian epic Ramayana.
Shortly after, five groups of performers made their way to the outdoor stage from four locations near the Medan Pasar clock tower. They came with different drums representing Malaysia’s various ethnic groups, attracting many passers-by to the square.
The groups – Hands Percussion, Geng Wak Long, Batteryheadz, Dhol Alliance and Temple of Fine Arts – shared traditional and contemporary Chinese drums, traditional Kelantanese drums, percussion drums as well as Indian folk dances with those who had gathered since 4pm to catch their show.
Meanwhile, across the road at 2HK along Jalan Hang Kasturi, local films such as Sepet, Gubra, Muksin, Ola Bola, Jagat and Maindhan were screened for free together with shows from Singapore, the Philippines and India.
Visitors also had a chance to view a photo exhibition titled “Born in Malaysia” by Kenny Loh as well as the “Confluence” photo exhibition featuring visuals by National Geographic photographer Ian Teh.
At the basement of the building, visitors tried out the Dialogue in the Dark to experience downtown Kuala Lumpur as a blind
person, viewed photos from Unseen Tours by Yellow House and sipped drinks prepared by Deceased Cafe’s Secret Lounge.
The Pasar KUL bazaar showcasing unique items by designers, businesses and social enterprises across South-East Asia occupied the ground floor area.
“Kuala Lumpur was founded by the confluence of two rivers where the Sungai Klang and Sungai Gombak meet,
“Today, different communities came together and we have transformed into a bigger place with so many different businesses operating,” said Eke, who hopes to continue celebrating the city’s heritage and diversity with both locals, foreign workers and tourists alike.