Kuala Lumpur is an odiferous place. Walking around the city, smells both delicious and repugnant assault your senses
KL clearly has any product you might want at any price you can afford. Heading to centers such as the Suria KLCC shopping mall, you can buy from Gucci and Coach, Nike and Sony. All the high end products you could ask for, waiting to be scooped up. Too pricey? Head down to Chinatown, pick up the cheap knockoffs at the street markets. The latest handbags and wallets, all on sale. Special price, just for you. Let’s make a deal.
The most amusing aspect of the knockoff business was with the entertainment side. Periodically a police officer would wander through the area, and the guys running the show would scramble to move their tables out of the street. Once “law enforcement” moved on, tables and chairs would be moved back out to service the willing customers. When a deal was struck, the front men would call out to the couriers to drop off the product, or make a run to a nearby location to pick up the merchandise.
The catch? To the movie industry, it’s a hands-down debacle. The rise of digital has made perfect copies an easy objective for pirates, and it some cases even the latest theatrical releases are available. This week’s big ticket item: Constantine, which the groups were pushing heavily.
Suria KLCC is like any high-end mall you might find back in the States, seven stories of commercial goodness that makes the Short Hills Mall look like a place for slackers. Dozens of restaurants, at least two or three food courts, immaculately kept. You’d almost forget you weren’t at home.
Except that you look around and see clearly you’re a minority here. Asian and Malay men and women mix around, going about their business. Some women wear headscarves, one or two even wear the full covering. Traditional dress can be found almost everywhere. Most, however, go about in modern street clothing. Those few of European descent stand out by comparison.
The evening was spent watching the Phillipene lounge singers. Their lively antics and their over-the-top performance amused me to no end. The were on the way to ending their run in KL, heading back to the Phillipenes in March, returning to KL in April, then spending five months in Shanghai before returning again to KL.
It’s a long time to be on the road, away from home.