At a Muddy Confluence
from : the shadow of the Maybank
building, outside a 7-11, Kuala Lumpur.
Humidity? - 100%. Darkness? - falling. Blood alcohol levels? - rising. It is another day in KL, sitting with a beer waiting out the rain in a city that lives up to the meaning of it's name 'muddy confluence,' in more ways than one.
Founded just 100 years ago on the site of a rich tin deposit, Kuala Lumpur is a young and vibrant city that has not let the economic crisis of 1997 dampened its exuberance and has left hulking concrete skeletons of unfinished hotels and shopping centers mouldering in the tropical air. There was no money to go forwards or backwards with these projects and so they stand empty where I can gloat with that special shadenfreude I save for developers. Despite this though, KL has a more impressive array of architectural feats than I can remember enjoying anywhere else. Hong Kong has them all too close together, Beijing and Bangkok too far apart. KL has it's skyscrapers just right. Before the The impressive skyscrapers, sleek skytrain and bright moorish colonial buildings speak less of muddy than what is going on around me right now.
'Muddy confluence' could also refer to the typical cross section of KL's citizenry trapped here outside the 7-11 (open 24 'jam') a mish mash of Indians, Chinese, tourists and even the occassional Malay.