Sep 3, 2014

Merdeka Day like no other (part 2)

We had to say goodbye to Malchik who had to catch his flight to Kuala Terengganu. Not sure where to go next, I randomly suggested that we have a look at Coliseum Café (and hotel, though I'm not really sure where the hotel exactly is, as the second floor looks suspiciously uninhabited). So right to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman we went. It was our first time there and we didn't know what to expect. But I do know that this place has been there since the British colonial years, and it is one of the few buildings along Jalan TAR strip that did not bow down to the pressure of surrounding modernisation.

We also collectively agreed that that day wouldn't be another weekend spent at another hipster café. The place itself is unpretentious - the sixties decor looks untouched, everything looks as old as it can get, save for a few replaced furnitures. The signage, memorabilia (Lat's iconic caricature is hard to miss) and the patronage is miles away from the calculated pretentiousness of today's Gen Y-filled urban cafés.

Pretending to discuss some important matter

We picked specialty drinks and desserts (banana spring rolls with ice cream is def experimental) that were on offer. Basically we were on sugar rush that evening (there goes the calories burnt during my morning run), whilst talking about all things from gossips, sexuality, public health and travelling --> The breadth of topics than can be talked about sometimes amaze me haha.

Hainanese coffee
Banana spring roll with ice cream
Virgin Colada (mocktail)

Right after having a scrumptious dessert we continued our 'merdeka journey' along Jalan TAR and straight towards the end, where Dataran Merdeka lies. Luckily we could stroll on the road itself as it was unusually empty - Jalan TAR was closed that day to give way to the Merdeka concert where some local artistes performed. This only happens like once or twice a year! Otherwise the area will be full with government makciks people shopping for tudung here ;)

I wonder if there is a heritage trail along these lines as there are few buildings, apart from the one that houses Coliseum Café, that embody the colonial era. It was not long until sunset, and we continued walking with the view of DBKL Kuala Lumpur looking astonishing as ever. The Moorish architecture (thank God for Geography/ History classes) of Panggung Bandaraya trumps any European Baroque buildings. The same goes to the newly-refurbished Masjid Jame' Kuala Lumpur.

It was a perfect coincidence that we stumbled upon the signage of Mud the Musical (Our Story of Kuala Lumpur) as we passed Panggung Bandaraya facade. Having heard about the the City Hall x local talent collab on BFM 89.9 (seriously, the only source of culture among Malaysia's formulaic hit-songs-only radio stations, manned by unfunny DJs), I knew that we were in for a ride. Funny no-photography-allowed introductory announcement reaffirmed that the musical would be a witty, Malaysiana-themed portrayal of how the country was formed. 

At first I thought the play would be solely tourist aimed, but boy I was wrong. As a local I felt the musical's way of relaying information was fresh AND interactive even for a person who's known about the fundamentals of Malayan history - at one point the audience are invited on stage to perform as well, and the play is a fact plus fiction combo, so you can still watch all those melodramatic scenes sans being buried too deep in history lesson anyway. 

Photography was fortunately allowed during the finale and group photo session. I bet you can see how colourful the costume was (don't get me wrong, the rest of the costumes are scene-appropriate, so don't expect Citrawarna Malaysia burst of gaudy colours throughout the show ;)

Chinese, Malay, Indian
Supporting actors
Groupie time!!!

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this unexpected outing. All I hope for is more happy random things like this to appear in my increasingly monotonous life...

Happy Merdeka dear readers!

Hafidzudin Zainal

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