Wednesday, January 22, 2020

On my latest trip to KL...

I just came back recently from KL.

The objective of my trip was to accompany my mum to visit relatives, do some shopping and eat local food. My mum observed 100 days from my dad's passing so this is the first time she can unwind and relax after close to a decade of being my father's caregiver.

Here are some highlights of my trip :

a) Went to an Avant Garde arts event and hated every moment of it

On the first day when my cousin brought me around, he asked whether I'd be willing to attend an Art event so that he can meet up with an old university buddy. Since I am a big fan of bad B-grade movies and that my policy is that a bad event can also be a memorable one, I agreed to give it a try.

The event did not disappoint because it really pissed me off :

I found myself in an abandoned warehouse surrounded by KL hipsters. The audience is particularly entertaining to watch : One guy with long hair was wearing some kind of Han costume and spoke with the accent of someone who is rich enough to waste his father's money to study some shit design qualification in Australia. Some edgy patrons wore a Yayoi Kusama T shirt - that was cool because I always thought she was the mother of modern hentai and medically insane.

During the performance, a long haired musician dancer was aping Sun Wu Kong on a tambourine while a female dancer tried to wrestle it away. One dude ( who looked so much like Dan Lok ) painted black ink over the lady dancer with a brush in some weird interpretive dance move, I thought he might be creating a new search category on Pornhub.

The dance was incoherent.

There was no story.

There was a lot of light, sound and 450 gallons of wasted water. Tons of granite were lifted to the location of the stage. One was 650 kg.

You can look at what I suffered through here.

Still, Singaporeans need to be sympathetic towards the Arts scene in KL. The artists here have got real balls and have little or no government funding. I've always thought that Malaysians are practical people and no sane Malaysian will pay $50 to waste so much water and construction equipment.

I was clearly wrong and will cherish this as one of my worst but best experiences of 2020.

b) Almost kena cheated by a KL restaurant

Are Singaporeans stupid when they currency bloats to 3x the size of the Malaysian Ringgit? YES.

But are Singaporeans that stupid to countenance to endure a bill of $1,158 to feed a family of 11 ? MAYBE, This is a subjective question. The meal can be a good one and we are really feeding 11 people.

Should Singaporeans tolerate the restaurant double-counting the receipt and recording the meal items more than once? HELL FUCKING NO !

My aunt alerted me to an added item in the bill that my mum did not notice. We got overcharged. To keep drama to a minimum we asked for a dessert to balance out the overcharge on our meal. Seriously, the bill was over $1,000 and you still want to overcharge us ?

The meal was ok for the price but terribly executed. The rice was served first and we were too bloated to enjoy the rest of the meal. The prawns, the star of the evening, were overcooked. The negatives far outweighed the positives.

The next few days, I took revenge on KL and brought my mum to all the street eats near KL Sentral.

In spite of going to multiple top restaurants ( I strongly recommend Nasi Kerabu in Serai Pavilion ), we never succeeded in blowing half the meal budget for that one meal. In fact, the picture above showed the best meal we had and we spent 10 ringgit.

c) Bored while shopping in KL

I think Carousell has finally ruined shopping in KL for me.

Because the Malaysian government does not invest in having good libraries the way we do. KL is supposed to have seriously good bookstores. Their Kinokuniya is huge and has a role-playing game section that stocks weird titles.

I like second hand game-books, so I love going through old second hand bookshops to hunt for them.

The collection in Junk Books can no longer compete with Singapore's few bookstores with Carousell. The game shops in KL has also become Singaporean-like, almost singularly focused on brands that sell easily like Warhammer and Magic the Gathering. It only perked up when I visited Books Xcess at Farenheit 88 that had books that are cheap and not sold widely in the bigger bookstores. Good news for Singaporeans is that their store at Sunway Big Box should be open this year.

My mother had a slightly better time at Sungei Wang that sells clothes for as cheap as $14 MYR.

Overall, I think Singaporeans should go out into other countries every now and then to enjoy how strong our currency truly is. Over the years, we have become jaded and nothing beats waiting for 20 minutes for a KL monorail without an announcement to understand how much work it takes to create systems that actually work.

With more compelling bookstores and gameshops flourishing in Bangkok, I doubt I would be visiting KL for a while after this trip.

1 comment:

  1. I once attended an art festival at Gillman Barracks. One piece of "art" literally involved suspending a container of ink from a height and allowing it to trickle, drip by drip, onto the floor, creating a slowly enlarging ink splatter.

    At least entry was free.

    There is art which takes years to learn and decades to master. And there is the I-failed-at-school-but-i-got-a-trust-fund art.

    No judgement though.