Left our beautiful and relaxing homestay (Firefly Villa) in Tanjong Karang a bit later today yesterday for a main expressway ride into Kuala Lumpur. I've had quite a few 'home stays' along the way since leaving Hanoi, but the firefly villa was the best to date - Mr.Apandi the owner manager and made TLRH team feel at home. He also got up with the chickens (early) to cook us a hearty breakfast before leaving for Kuala Lumpur. Back road riding for a bit before hitting highway (expressway 1) direct into KL. Being a Saturday there were heaps of keen cyclists in big groups out doing some big K's before the traffic started up mid morning. We cut a bit short on the ride (but not off the route) today as we got real close to KL. The spaghetti bowl of expressways bunched into 1 and made things confusing, hectic and quite dangerous for the team so I made a snap decision and loaded the van with our bikes to travel the last few Ks into the hustle and bustle and very packed city of KL.
Arrived in Kuala Lumpur for our rest day (Sunday) and as mentioned on my last post, after 6 days straight riding (500 km) really looking forward to a break here.
Kuala Lumpur is the seat of the Parliament of Malaysia. The city was once home to the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, but they were moved to Putrajayain early 1999. Some sections of the judiciary still remain in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. The official residence of the Malaysian King, the Istana Negara, is also situated in Kuala Lumpur. Rated as an alpha world city, Kuala Lumpur is the cultural, financial and economic centre of Malaysia due to its position as the capital as well as being a key city.
Kuala Lumpur is one of three Federal Territories of Malaysia, enclaved within the state of Selangor, on the central west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Since the 1990s, the city has played host to many international sporting, political and cultural events including the 1998 Commonwealth Games and the Formula One Grand Prix. In addition, Kuala Lumpur is home to the tallest twin buildings in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers, which have become an iconic symbol of Malaysia's futuristic development.
Kuala Lumpur means "muddy confluence"; kuala is the point where two rivers join together or an estuary, and lumpur means "mud". One suggestion is that it is named after Sungai Lumpur (River Lumpur); it was recorded in 1824 that Sungei Lumpoor was the most important tin-producing settlement up the Klang River. Doubts however have been raised on such a derivation as Kuala Lumpur lies at the confluence of Gombak River and Klang River, therefore should rightly be named Kuala Gombak. It has been argued by some that Sungai Lumpur is in fact Gombak River (therefore the point where it joined the Klang River would be Kuala Lumpur), although Sungai Lumpur has also been suggested to be another river a mile upstream from the Gombak confluence.
It has been proposed that Kuala Lumpur was originally named Pengkalan Lumpur (a muddy landing place), while others suggest it was a corrupted Cantonese word lam-pa meaning 'flooded jungle' or 'decayed jungle'. There is however no firm contemporary evidence for these suggestions other than anecdotes. It is also possible that the name is a corrupted form of an earlier but now unidentifiable forgotten name.
It is unknown who founded or named the settlement called Kuala Lumpur. Chinese miners were involved in tin mining up the Selangor River in the 1840s about ten miles north of present-day Kuala Lumpur, and Mandailing Sumatrans led by Raja Asal and Sutan Puasa were also involved in tin mining and trade in the Ulu Klang region before 1860, and Sumatrans may have settled in the upper reaches of Klang River in the first quarter of the 19th century, possibly earlier.nKuala Lumpur was originally a small hamlet of just a few houses and shops at the confluence of Sungai Gombak and Sungai Klang (Klang River) before it grew into a town. It is generally accepted that Kuala Lumpur become established as a town circa 1857, when the Malay Chief of Klang, Raja Abdullah bin Raja Jaafar, aided by his brother Raja Juma'at of Lukut, raised funds to hire some Chinese miners from Lukut to open new tin mines here. The miners landed at Kuala Lumpur and continued their journey on foot to Ampangwhere the first mine was opened.mKuala Lumpur was the furthest point up the Klang River to which supplies could conveniently be brought by boat; it therefore became a collection and dispersal point serving the tin mines.
Although the early miners suffered a high death toll due to the malarial conditions of the jungle, the Ampang mines were successful, and the first tin was exported in 1859. The tin-mining spurred the growth of the town, and miners later also settled in Pudu and Batu. The miners formed gangs among themselves; there were the Hakka-dominated Hai San in Kuala Lumpur, and the Cantonese-dominated Ghee Hin based in Kanching in Ulu Selangor. Fights between different gangs were frequent in this period, mainly to gain control of the best tin mines. Leaders of the Chinese community were conferred the title of Kapitan Cina (Chinese headman) by the Malay chief, and Hiu Siew, the owner of a mine in Lukut, was chosen as the first Kapitan of Kuala Lumpur. As one of the first traders to arrive in Ampang (along with Yap Ah Sze), he sold provisions to the miners in exchange for tin.
Important Malay figures of early Kuala lumpur also include Dato' Dagang and Haji Tahir. The Minangkabaus were another important group of people in the early period; Minangkabau traders from Sumatra include Utsman Abdullah, and Haji Mohamed Taib who was involved in the early development of Kampung Baru. The Minangkabaus are also important socio-religious figures, for example Utsman bin Abdullah was the first kadi of Kuala Lumpur as well as Muhammad Nur bin Ismail.
Early Kuala Lumpur was a small town that suffered from many social and political problems – the buildings were made of wood and atap (palm frond thatching) that were prone to fire, lack of proper sanitation plagued the town with diseases, and it suffered from a constant threat of flooding. The town became embroil in the Selangor Civil War due in part to the fight for control of revenues from the tin mines. The third Chinese Kapitan of Kuala Lumpur appointed in 1868, Yap Ah Loy, aligned himself with Tengku Kudin, and the rival Chinese gang allied themselves with Raja Mahdi. Kuala Lumpur was captured in 1872 and burnt to the ground, and Yap escaped to Klang. Kuala Lumpur was recaptured in March 1873 when Raja Mahdi forces were defeated with the help of fighters from Pahang. The war and other setbacks, such as a drop in tin prices, led to a slump, furthermore a major outbreak of cholera in late 1870s caused many to flee the town. The slump lasted until late 1879, when a rise in the price of tin allowed the town to recover. In late 1881, the town was severely flooded, following a fire that had destroyed the entire town in January that year. That the town was rebuilt a few times and thrived was due in large part to the tenacity and persistence of Yap Ah Loy. Yap, together with Frank Swettenham who was appointed the Resident In 1882, were the two most important figures of early Kuala Lumpur with Swettenham credited with its rapid growth and development and its transformation into a major urban center.
Baju is the term for clothing in the Malay language. Since Malaysia comprises three major cultures: Malay, Chinese and Indian, each culture has its own traditional and religious articles of clothing all of which are gender specific and may be adapted to local influences and conditions.
Traditional Malay attire for men is the baju melayu, a loose tunic which is worn over trousers and usually accompanied with a sarong called a sampin which is wrapped around the hips. It is also often accompanied with a songkok or cap.
Malay women wear the baju kurung, a knee-length blouse worn over a long skirt. The blouse is long-sleeved and collarless, while the skirt, called a kain, has pleats on one side. A headscarf is sometimes worn with this. Another popular traditional costume is the kebaya, a more tight-fitting two-piece dress. This is often considered less formal. It is worn by the female flight attendants of Malaysia Airlines.
Prior to the wide embrace of Islam, Malay women wore "kemban", which were sarongs which were tied just above the chest. The classical everyday clothing for men in Malaysia is a short sleeved shirt worn outside the trousers, light-weight trousers and informally, sandals for comfort.
The Chinese women wear the cheongsam, a one-piece dress with a high collar, diagonally closed with small clips or toggles (fabric clasps). It sometimes can have slits at the side, as is made with a soft fabric such as silk. The cheongsam is especially popular around the time of the Chinese New Year and other formal gatherings. Older well-respected women wear a samfoo, which looks like pajamas with a separate loose fitting top fastened by toggles and ankle length, or above the ankle, pants.
Indians in Malaysia as with elsewhere in the world wear sarees, a cloth of 5-6 yards which is usually worn with a petticoat of a similar shade. It is wrapped around the body so that the embroidered end hangs over the shoulder, while the petticoat is worn above the bellybutton to support the saree, which can be made from a wide variety of materials. The Punjabi Salwar kameez is popular with women from northern India, and is a long tunic worn over trousers with a matching shawl. The fabric imported from India, made of the best quality silk is used in making saris. There are two layers to a sari: a long bright coloured "dress" decorated with colourful beads sewn on it to make it look more attractive, and a wrap, a piece of straight fabric draped around one shoulder which ties across the body around the waist area. Women with a high standing will have their clothing made from gold and silver thread with elaborate beading.
In formal occasions Indian men wear the "kurta", a knee-length shirt usually made from cotton or linen. The Indian men wear Sherwani, Lungi, Dhoti and Kurta-Pajama.The Sherwani: a coat like garment fitted close to the body, of knee-length or longer and opening in front with button-fastenings. Below the men wear a garment for the lower part of the body, baggy and wide at the top tied with a string at the waist, and tight around the legs and ankles.
The Lungi: The traditional lungi originated in the south and today it is worn by men and women alike. It is simply a short length of material worn around the thighs rather like a sarong.
The Dhoti: The most ancient recorded Indian drape is a dhoti. They require a piece of cloth which seems longer and larger than what was worn in the past, but their pleating is often simpler, and they are not adorned with belts any more. All dhotis begin with the same basic closing. It is the only drape that doesn't start from one pallav but from the centre of the upper border. The middle of the cloth is tied around the hips. Each end of the cloth is then draped around the leg on its side.
The Kurta-Pyjama: The Kurta or the top is a knee length colarless shirt which is adorned inmostly white or pastel colours. But today you will find Kurtas made out of the most wonderful and colourful of fabrics. Pyjama-are like loose trousers with a string tie at the waist. Traditionally white in colour.
Before the creation of ancient kingdoms, most aboriginal people wore bark costumes decorated with beads. In the times of early kingdoms hand-crafted textiles were used, and trade from other areas brought other outfits such as silk costumes, pulicats and sarongs, and jubbahs. The Orang Asli still wear clothing of natural materials, often out of treebark and skirt. Leaf fronds are sometimes crafted into headbands or other ornaments.
In East Malaysia similar clothes are worn. The Orang Ulu wear hand-loomed cloths as well as tree bark fabrics. Beads and feathers are used for decoration. The Iban are known for their woven "pua kumbu". Another well known clothing item is the "songket" of the Sarawak Malay. In Sabah the clothing of different tribes differs with different amounts, with tribes in close proximity having similar clothing. Notable ones are the Kadazan-Dusun straw hats for ladies, the "dastar" of the Bajau. Men from the Lotud tribe wear a headdress which has a number of fold points equal to the number of his wives.
Both a weapon and spiritual object, kris are often considered to have an essence or presence, considered to possess magical powers, with some blades possessing good luck and others possessing bad. Kris are used for display, as talismans with magical powers, weapons, a sanctified heirloom (pusaka), auxiliary equipment for court soldiers, an accessory for ceremonial dress, an indicator of social status, a symbol of heroism, etc. Legendary kris that possess supernatural power and extraordinary ability were mentioned in traditional folktales, such as those of Empu Gandring, Taming Sari, and Setan Kober.
In 2005, UNESCO gave the title Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity to the kris of Indonesia. In return, UNESCO urged Indonesia to preserve their heritage.
Truck and Matt
On a rest day in Malaysia's national capital city, Kuala Lumpur.
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