A visit to Chinatown during Senior Week was no ordinary event. It was another hot humid morning in KL but it was made interesting by the sights and sounds of this vibrant part of the city. HS faculty member of 40 years, Mr. Stupka gave us some fascinating insights about its culture, history, and architecture.
Being one of the oldest parts of KL, Chinatown is full of small family owned shops that have been doing business for decades. The tour included the viewing of a Chinese temple, a Hindu temple, and a mosque, all in close proximity to each other. A harmonious blend of cultures was definitely evident.
Mr. Stupka has been taking students on the KL tour for the last 15 years. The years have brought with them changes to the landscape but the core of the city stays the same. Old buildings have kept their facades but modified their interiors. During the tour, we passed a wall that had been built years ago, which was located outside of a modern bank. The government wanted to tear it down because it was decaying and the architecture didn’t fit with the new Chinatown. Mr. Stupka knew the wife of the director of the bank and convinced them to keep the wall because not only did the bank need a wall, but the blend of old and new would add to the ambiance of the neighborhood.
During our tour, we saw people from different walks of life, blue and white collar workers all gathered in the same mamak shop. Be it an executive, a shopkeeper or a laborer, it is clear that these small tea houses are a regular breakfast spot.
For a few hours, it was fun to stroll through this neighborhood as a tourist and rediscover things that go unnoticed.