By Ziauddin Sardar
Kuala Lumpur is the postmodern urban writ huge, a urban that, in the brief span of a decade, has been remodeled from a sleepy capital right into a technological wonder with a thriving, different and prosperous cultural existence. utilizing anecdotes, vintage Malay myths and stories, and observations in keeping with genuine and imaginary wanderings in the course of the urban, Ziauddin Sardar strains Kuala Lumpur's origins and charts the extraordinary alterations skilled by way of town and its humans, together with either the hot fiscal difficulty and the vicious energy fight among major Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his ex-Deputy Anwar Ibrahim. Sardar exhibits how a collision of cultures (Malay, chinese language, Indian, indigenous, Western) has built and re-emerged within the kind of a brand new synthesis, inducing either a level of disorientation and a distinct feel of power and pleasure.
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Extra info for Consumption of Kuala Lumpur (Reaktion Books - Topographics)
1884. The representation of Malays and Chinese that acquired truly mythical proportion, and has become an integral part of Malay sian history, is largely due to Frank Swettenharn. He was the Resident of Selangor and later became the high commissioner of the Federated Malay States, as the areas that accepted Resi dents carne to be collectively known. In his works, The Real Malay and Malay Sketches, completed in 1885 and 1899 respec tively, Swettenharn created portraits of Malays that carne to define the Malay character.
To this extent the Malay world paralleled Europe. Malacca had both a court hierarchy and a civil service hierarchy with all officials con scious of their status and position, and jealous in guarding their dignity and prerogatives. A major trading city would also have resident communities of foreigners, each of which would be grouped together and administer its own affairs according to its own law and custom under the aegis of a leading merchant. In Malacca there were Arab and various Indian and Chinese com munities as well as peoples from other parts of the archipelago.
Little more than a century ago it was jungle; it was made by Malaysian history and today makes the course of Malaysia's future. The city stands pre-eminent, but it does not, cannot, stand alone. Ampang, where I live, is actually where Kuala Lumpur began. T he first tin mine, now an artificial lake, which sparked the growth of the city, is visible from my balcony at Menarah Indahh. T he lake is just behind the modestly named Ampang Mini Market, a cornucopia of all the tasty goods for which the relocated palettes of diverse expatriates hunger as well as the delicacies of all the local cuisines, Malay, Chinese and Indian .
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