Saturday, December 08, 2007

A view of Pekeliling Flats

Pekeliling evokes a lot of sentiment for the people of Kuala Lumpur. Some pass by it every day without ever giving it a second glance, others think they are an eyesore, many view the area where it lies as prime land that is not being utilised fully even as it sits so close to the KL Golden Triangle and for many of the long time residents there, it was home. One of the nation's first public housing projects, housing nearly 2,500 residents since 1967. Real estate agents soon saw the potential in acquiring the area and its much prized land for redevelopment, displacing the residents who for most have no where else to call home. In its place was envisioned a 60 storey tower called the Tamansari Riverside Garden City project. Yet the demise and demolition of these blocks means another piece of history of Kuala Lumpur will be forever erased from the landscape of the city. Though many might argue that these flats has outlived its age and usefulness, its contribution and daily importance to many of the early residents of the area surely begs at least a fitting memorial to immortalise the Pekeliling flats before its is ultimately wiped off the face of the earth.

In its rubbish strewn compounds, empty rooms and hallways, broken windows and drug addict infested dens, many photographers have found inspiration in its urban ruins. Signs of those that have gone lay as forgotten testament that the area was once a vibrant community, prayer artifacts, decorative materials, graffiti, children toys, broken furniture, daily items, etc. At present the block near to the Pekeliling bus and taxi station has already been demolished while most of the blocks on the other side of the road have already been vacated and mostly stripped of items of use. The last block closest to the Titiwangsa Monorail Station is yet inhabited but that would have to be thanks to the fact that the economic downturn has caused plans for the redevelopment to be halted.

Now the ghost of the buildings lay as empty shells and the seedier side of society has laid claim to its remnants. It is a sad historical footnote that the shifting of these people has come to naught as their old home still stands. Flickr KL has taken it upon ourselves to at least memoralise Pekeliling Flats though a photoshoot, not once but twice. Here are some of the pictures taken by me.


An empty picture frame and the stain of a coat hanger seen through a broken window pane still leaves the identity of the previous owner a mystery, maybe never to be known. The sense of emptiness and lost memories sends eerie feelings even before we set foor into the building. Pekeliling Flats, Kuala Lumpur.


The flats rise up high to the sky, an achievement in urban housing for the early residents of Kuala Lumpur, now the rooms are empty and nary a soul is seen living here, except for the darker denizens of drug addicts, vagrants and maybe even the supernatural. Pekeliling Flats, Kuala Lumpur.


Arts imitates life as this photo shows. What was earlier a positive living message of hope now lies in peeling plaster and paint. A real life counterpart of the drawn leaves sprouts out wild from the empty flower beds. Pekeliling Flats, Kuala Lumpur.


The sky is the limit. Entering the compound through rubbish choked entrance, the concrete edifice of the multistorey flats dwarfs us all and it was hard to image so many people all congregating in this one block alone, all 17 storeys of it. Sunlight streams down to the ground, funneled by the building's four corners. Pekeliling Flats, Kuala Lumpur.


Remnants of green paint adorning a room looks eerie as the outer walls are stained. In the dim halls, the passage way paints a haunting and menacing facade as if the room was alive in contrast to the drab exterior walls, shattered glass and wood bits completed the scene. Pekeliling Flats, Kuala Lumpur.


The concentric rings of the broken glass looks akin to the bands of sunlight. It may have shone as a ray of hope, for the residents that have moved on to better pastures, we hope. Pekeliling Flats, Kuala Lumpur.


Broken hopes, shattered dreams, the emotions that ran among the long time residents of the 40 year old Pekeliling Flats are now echoed by the broken structure that used to hum with the life of thousands of people and are now silent. Pekeliling Flats, Kuala Lumpur.


Broken dreams. Even with the cramped rooms, it was home to thousands which calls the place home, Pekeliling Flats, Kuala Lumpur.


The occupant of this unit left some of their items behind, the shoe was lying there by itself as if waiting for its owner to finally come back to retrieve it. Pekeliling Flats, Kuala Lumpur.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great pictures there