Wednesday, October 10, 2007

AS I was Walking by an Urban Village in KL


Sitting on his easy chair, he recounted to us how times have been in the village and how things were to change and before the end we were told that he is a direct descendant of Abdullah Hukum himself and has been living in this very village his entire life.

It is getting to the point that KL is rapidly modernising and the sight of a kampung in its midst is one of a rare treat. There might be a lot of it out of town but in the heart of KL itself there are still several large enclave of such wooden villages left as they were decades ago when the land was first settled, legally or otherwise. One of these are Kg Abdullah Hukum of which one of the Putra LRT line is named after. Across the KTMB tracks separated by a worn out fence is this village that has stood the time and tide of development by mayne not for long. Recent plans to build the area up into a more modern counterpart befitting its surroundings might see the end of this quaint village. Plans are already thrown by City Hall for a pedestrian walkway linking the underutilised Abdullah Hukum LRT station to the most bustling spot in the area, Midvalley which for years was out of sync from the main transport line until the Midvally KTM station was added in as an afterthought.


Peeking out from her doorway, the makcik smiled to us as we went about taking photos around the village.

This village settled by various races is the only home most of them have known and for many it is their wish to be left alone to the end to live their days out as they always have. Flickr KL decided to document this village as a tribute to KL's collective memory and history before it all fades away. It may not be the poshest or the cleanest or even the most attractive place in the city but nevertheless it is important facet which should not be disregarded. Most people would shy away from being photographed or even turn hostile at times but the reception we had here was one of openness and inviting gestures, a trait we have often disregarded as we shift our gears into the fast pace way of modern life. Many came out to talk to us and inquire about what we were doing. Some including an old lady who is a direct descendant of the Abdullah Hukum himself open her house to us strangers and took the time to recollect her times there. Others like a makcik who stopped in her laundry duty for a moment, went about collecting and handing over to us a bunch of freshly picked rambutans from her garden. No where else would I have expected such openness in KL.


A surprise awaited us as the makcik went into her house and came out with a basket filled with freshly picked rambutans which was promptly offered to us.


A kid in her pink hijab shyly leaned against the wall as her portrait was shot.


How many times will he walk these paths again, will it still be here in the coming years? Will he be here as well?


Brothers posing near their residence.


Cats were abundant in the village, this kid was taking care of five in his multiplex cage as multitude of others, feral and domesticated had free range of the village.



Looking out from the security of her house, her eyes seem to stare hard into the distant future, maybe she's wondering what will happen to the village and whether her home will be gone and the villagers required to move out as high rise buildings takes the place of the rusted atap housing presently found here in Kg Abdullah Hukum.

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