Kotaraya Complex in Kuala Lumpur – The place to go when you miss the Philippines

Want to try some Halo Halo? This is the nearby shopping mall on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock. You will see this building while crossing over the the Burma Town from Chinatown. On the upper floors of this building, you will find shops and eateries from the Philippines. It is not as big as Singapore’s Lucky Plaza (no Jollybee too) but you can find Halo Halo here. It cost RM 5. Note the mobile company ad behind. This company sells subscription to view on demand content on mobile for many expat communities. The top floor of the building has some 1990s style gaming arcades and a food court that serves food from some South East Asian countries.

Address of the building and link to map

Kompleks Kotaraya , 3-70A Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock City Centre 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Time travel via outdated travel guides

While some may celebrate the current state of travel  – with the nets and webs and the convenience of maps on mobile telephones, I miss the days when the world was young. The days, when closer to the equator,  we were told to avoid taking photos in the noon lest we overexpose the camera films – the days when you wrote postcards in Herat, and send a telegram when you needed something urgent.  One of the ways I recreate the magic is by trawling used book shops for old travel guides.

Rangoon and Calcutta were the favorite cities for book hunters – home to large used books stores where the owners seem to know where exactly a particular book is. Now those cities have changed their names and they would rather sell pirated DVDs. Here is one of last remaining joint for book lovers  in Asia –  Junk bookstore in Kuala Lumpur.

Two floors of treasure for us to dig in. The owners seem to know the books and often they will be able to tell you where the books on a particular topic are.

My find this time round is a travel guide from 1974 – almost as old as me. The days when you could bus from Iran to Afghanistan, on to Pakistan, across India and to Nepal. And you had to buy a pass for alcohol consumption for India. And when our Djakarta was so compact. And back when Cholon was the budget accommodation hub of Saigon, not the evil Phạm Ngũ Lão. Anyways, if you are looking for some time travel, here is the address of the bookshop. It is not too far from the central market and the Chinatown area.

Funny Building

It is fun to see some of the old building in Singapore and Malaysia. I found this building in the Gaylang area in Singapore.

The buiding in Geylang area of Singapore
The pillars had these bas relief in plaster of Sikh policemen. British colonies in the East, as far east as Shanghai, often had Sikh police. 

the first policeman

the second policeman

Into the pirate land

I was reading some of Conrad’s old stories set in South East Asia - mostly about the brave sailors and evil pirates. A hundred years on and there are pirates of a different kind here. The software pirates.

We were in a shopping mall in KL and we spotted several pirate stalls selling all the very latest software and DVDs. I got talking to one of the pirates. He was friendly enough. I asked him if was was concerned about the authorities cracking down on his business. He said they were doing it for the fake DVDs but he was pretty sure that it won’t happen for software.

A good name for a company selling imitation phone covers and accessories.

A shop was selling some old national geographic (50s thru 80s) , was very tempted to get it. But have no home, where to keep it.

Pirate shop, full house.

Lindows is a low cost linux based OS. The Pirates have not even spared Lindows.

Big time gaming. Game companies have figured out how to make money in-spite of the pirates.