Sunday, 16 December 2012

Pasar Chow Kit, KL

Photos are from Dr Lim Ju Boo, Gombak. I'm just putting up the fish section.

Chow Kit

The first time I heard the name Chow Kit I thought it was a Chinese name. I didn't know what it referred to. One of my aunts always mentioned that name.

What is Chow Kit?

Chow Kit is an area attached to Kg Baru, that is Chinese and has a wet market, Pasar Chow Kit. Chow Kit is a famous place where ladies would go to get cheap fresh produce for cooking. In the old days there weren't supermarkets and the wet market was where people shopped for food items.

Chow Kit history

There was once a Malay man (possibly a Johorian of Indonesian extract) who was the market supervisor at Pasar Chow Kit. His name was Muhamed Amin but was popularly known as Mat Amin Pasar or Mat Amin Chow Kit. A leader in his own right, Mat Amin participated at events and meetings at the Kelab Sultan Sulaiman. There was one meeting where Mat Amin was present at a meeting where 2 early Malay doctors were also present. One of the doctors was Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos. The other doctor was Dr Mohamed Ghani. Chow Kit is famous for the night life and activities that it supports.

Chow Kit today

There are still surviving businesses in Chow Kit today. I have captured some activities at Chow Kit in the photos below. There is an Indian barber shop which is a rare representation of a thriving Indian business. There is an Indian restaurant that is famous for nasi briyani among others. I did not attempt to visit any of the brothels in Chow Kit. I have not been inside any of the shops at Chow Kit. Maybe I will do that next time.

Masjid Jamek Kg Baru, KL

Masjid Jamek Kg Baru is in Kg Masjid, along Jalan Raja Alang. The Petronas Twin Towers can be seen from Masjid Jamek Kg Baru.

Kampung Baru

When I interviewed Coco (Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail) in May 2007, he said he was from Kg Baru. His parents also lived in Kg Baru. It was confusing trying to understand his description of Kg Baru and what I understood about Kg Baru from a child's perspective. But I swallowed whole whatever he said about Kg Baru. But a doubt always remained about what was Kg Baru.

When I wrote Tan Sri Salma's biography, she had a clinic in Kg Baru, that remained opened even during the violent days that followed the 13 May 1969 incidences. My doubt about Kg Baru grew bigger. I promised myself that I would one day take a walk to Kg Baru and explore it on foot.

On 15 December 2012, after having asam boi cold drink from the roadside hawker near the food court in front of Hospital Bersalin KL, my husband and I decided to visit Kg Baru on foot. We walked under the hot sun. It was probably 12 noon. We explored the area at Jalan Daud and reached the Kg Baru Mosque soon after azan Zohor.

Childhood memories of Kg Baru

I have heard about Kg Baru as a child. My father's ancestors lived in Kg Baru. His maternal grandfather (Mat Amin Pasar/Mat Amim Chow Kit) lived at 1 Jalan Stoner in Kg Baru. A Kg Baru man told us Jalan Stoner is now Jalan Puteri. My father often brought us to see his relatives in Kg Baru - the families of his mother's eldest brother and her sisters. Whenever we came to Kuala Lumpur, my father would try to visit his relatives in Kg Baru. At Kg Baru, we would have lunch Malay style, prepared and cooked by my father's aunts and uncle. Kg Baru lunch was simply delicious though simple.

What is Kg Baru?

Coco mentioned the nature of Kg Baru, and the sub-villages inside it. Kg Baru was an early Malay village, not the ordinary small Malay village, but a Malay village that was artificially created in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. And the villagers were transplanted from various parts of Malacca. So Kg Baru was practically a Malay village and about transplanted Malacca people.

Where is Kg Baru?

I didn't know too where it was till I visited the place with my husband. He was at one time a student of UKM and had lived at the students' hostel in Kuala Lumpur. For 4 years, he studied in KL, which became his second home. He walked from the Putra bus terminal to his UKM campus. He was on foot mostly and had explored Kg Baru on foot some 13-15 years ago. I trusted his memory and we walked into Kg Baru to have a look around and see Kg Baru for ourselves.

Kg Baru is on the other side of the Kg Baru stadium and the food court. It is across from the Pediatric Institute of Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL). It stretches from HKL right up to the Petronas Twin Towers and KLCC. It includes the major roads in KL such as Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Dang Wangi and Jalan Daud. It is an old area of Kuala Lumpur, with tiny old Malay houses (very few of them left today) and a lot of small Malay businesses, which is typical of Malay dominated businesses as in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. There is Kg Baru Mosque tucked at one corner of the congested area.

Kg Baru is divided into sub-villages and each has a distinct name to indicate its status. The map at a corner and road junction shows the divisions and names of the sub-villages inside Kg Baru. There is an arch that says Kampung Baru. The Sultan Sulaiman Club is also in Kg Baru.

In the heart of Kuala Lumpur, a new Malay village called Kampong Baru was opened for relocation of Malays from Malacca to Kuala Lumpur. Initially, it had less than 600 houses and a population of approximately 3,000 people[1]. People traveled either by rickshaw (becha or beca) or bullock cart (kereta lembu).

[1] There were a number of sub-villages within Kampong Baru, namely, Kampong Ujong Pasir, Kampong Periok (near Sulaiman Club), Kampong Masjid (near the mosque), Kampong Baru Atas (near Prince’s Road), Kampong Paya, Kampong Hanyut and Kampong Chendana. Roads were not covered with bitumen in Kampong Baru, part of Batu Road and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. - Biography of the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore (2012).

Coco had mentioned the above sub-villages within Kg Baru but there is no Kg Chendana on the Kg Baru map which I photographed. I'm unsure whether Kg Pindah today is the former Kg Hanyut that Coco mentioned to me. I'm unsure whether Kg Atas A is the one Coco referred to as "near Prince's Road" (Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz?). The Kelab Sultan Sulaiman (Sultan Sulaiman Club) is within Kg Periok. Masjid Jamek Kg Baru is within Kg Masjid.

These photos were taken with the map mounted quite high.
Many photos were slightly rotated. I had to use a software to realign the images above.

Photo editing - photo alignment:

Arabic Manuscripts in Medicine

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