Sep 17, 2014


ooh it's already 17th of September.

so. September 16th. the day Sabah and Sarawak officially joined the peninsular. forming Malaaaayyysia as the one we know today (with amazing mount kinabalu, mulu caves, orang utans, beef noodles, sipadan, and petroleum).

for one, i'm thankful that it's another public holiday, but instead of waving flags and joining in the parades, it's quite fun to spend a day celebrating Malaysia by being very Malaysian. which is. rejoicing about public holidays lah.

hahah. anyway, i planned to spend the day working, visiting Pulau Ketam for their inaugural arts festival (wheee so excited for them), interviewing people and taking photos of the artwork.

so goes the plan.

sent grace for her tuition (a nine-hour marathon) first thing in the morning.

then had breakfast with ling ling at my favorite place in Klang -- chong kok kopitiam!

the morning public holiday crowd is absolute madness.

kopi kaw, toast (homemade kaya!), and perfect half boiled eggs. ahh. nobody makes half boiled eggs like them any more.

it was raining during breakfast, so we waited out the rain.

we parted ways after breakfast. ling ling to kakiseni arts fest at pavilion, while i hopped on the ktm at Klang station, all the way to Stesen Pelabuhan Klang.
here's when the plan went awry. firstly the touch & go card system at Stesen Pelabuhan Klang wasn't working and the people at the train station couldn't care less. i didn't want my tng credit to magically disappear so spent some time calling tng 'care'line, so caring they couldn't care to pick up the phone. 

after that i gave up and went to the jetty. LOADS of people were already expectantly waiting for the ferry. the queue is already quite long at the entrance, we weren't allowed to go to the end of the jetty yet, so i couldn't see what was there. 

the crowd mostly consists of families with little kids, teenagers on holiday outings, and random tourists sprinkled here and there. 

one fat little girl with fairy wings on her outfit kept wiping tears and snot and wailing "我要回家!我要回家!" hahhaha. poor kid.  

after an hour's wait, we were given boarding passes and proceeded to the end of the jetty. 

that's when i realised that there's an even LONGER queue there. 

WHOA. so i stuck with the queue, sweating my face off, and we gave way to old men pushing wheelbarrows of frozen fish and groceries to load up their boats every now and then.

then we saw a ferry approach. YES!

a family with their official family tee went right to the front of the queue. oh. 

their family had booked a ferry! 

a bride in a long yellow wedding dress passed by too. wooots so fun having her wedding photo session there yoh. 

wiping sweat that's practically dripping off my face (ugh), it was already 2pm by then. 

my thoughts: (firstly,it takes 45 minutes to get to the island. ferries come every hour. i had already waited for an hour and only like a quarter of the queue managed to get on the ferry. i also had no idea how's the queue at the island is like. what if i get there and all i could do is begin queueing again to get back on time? the thing is, i had to come back to pick grace up from tuition. forgetting her once is bad enough already :( so at the end, i went to the front of the queue to take some useless blurry shots of the arts festival banner. and left.)

i can't believe i left! 

haih. just have to arrange some other day to go lah. 
went back to the station, waited for a long long time for the train to arrive. 

and now my Malaysia Day Adventure really and truly begins!

i love it when things don't go according to plan. so many choices! heh. 
the ktm is a good place to fiddle around with different camera settings. 

and i found out that there's a crew to wipe clean the train coaches at the final station! whew. now and forevermore i can lean on doors and windows in peace. 

during breakfast with ling ling we talked about how malaysians love to visit other countries for a few days then declare "I LOVE SYDNEY!" and stuff like that, forgetting the beauty of our home country. (or even worse, bashing malaysia's ugliness and all. hello. if it's ugly, it's because you weren't taking care of it.)

Malaysia is gorgeous lah. so is Klang. 

ling ling is now working on a project to raise awareness of Klang's lesser-known attractions. can't wait to see the end result! 
after leaving the train station, i have two options:
A. hop in the car, drive to a wonderfully air-conditioned mall, go shopping or read at starbucks. 
B. wander around Klang's Little India. 

the weather was a tad gloomy, side effects of the morning shower so luckily the sun wasn't insane. it was humid though. i just began walking. 

and happened upon this very quiet old lane off chong kok's street. 

dated school bags, school uniforms, and terribly decrepit wooden blinds sit quietly in that lane. compared with the general bustle of the wider streets' banks and stationery shops, i felt like the shops here would close any moment. 

then this beautiful little signboard caught my eye. i went in. 
when i entered the shop, an old man was nodding off in the rattan chair, feet propped up on the stool. i daren't wake him up so i just peered in the dusty old cases.

i'm genuinely surprised by the prices on the seiko and casio watches! 
he woke up. 

"miss, how can i help you?"

do you take credit cards? 

"no, we take only cash."

so i left the shop and headed straight to the nearest bank HAHAHAHAHHA. 
look at this green watch strap with tiny tennis rackets all over it! :D
i couldn't decide between this two. i had been hunting for a watch with a different-colored face for years (for example, a silver watch with a deep green clock face. something like that lah). but those always cost a bomb (the ones i like always four-figure one) and i prefer to spend the money on travel instead. 

the reason i made up my mind to buy something from this old man, (apart from the unbelievable price) is because i wanted to support some local businesses lah. he's so kind and nice, recommending the different types of batteries, teaching me how to adjust the watch band, etc. 

i also wanted to talk to him.
'the battery on this one lasts 10 years! casio is quite a good brand.'

we spent quite a long time chatting. he loves telling stories. when i asked him for permission to take photos, he waved a hand and went, "take as much as you want! many people come to interview me one, because my shop has been open for so many years!"

ooh. turned out that Wah Sang Brothers is celebrating their 84th birthday this year. 

84 years! 

he told me that he arrived in Klang when he was just six years old from Guangzhou during WWII. i told him that my grandfather Wong Meng also came from Guangzhou haha. 
his father learnt the craft from his seventh granduncle in Singapore, and then decided to strike out on his own, opening Wah Sang Brothers in klang, passing the shop through the generations, and now his nephew is handling the shop. so this shop belongs to them. no pressure of rising rents whatsoever. 
he also got very excited when i told him that i used to study at hin hua. turned out he used to stay next to hin hua and has now moved to the housing area opposite the school! he has watched hin hua grow, building after building. he also loves shah alam and always goes bukit jelutong to eat good food. 

aiya there are so many more stories to be had! but his friend was waiting for him so we had to cut the conversation short T.T
'下一次再来, 跟你聊!'
p.s: and he gave me a huge discount too! :')

Wah Sang Brothers
3 Jalan Stesen Satu, Klang
03 3371 1117
(next to Ban Lee restaurant)
it was around 3:45pm by then. time to think of lunch! 

wandered into another random street behind Little India, and spotted an air-conditioned restaurant absolutely stuffed with people. 
the whole place was practically full, and i spotted an empty table at the very end of the restaurant, right next to the bustling kitchen. i was the only chinese girl in the place. the rest were indian families enjoying their banana leaf rice. I SHOULD HAVE ORDERED BANANA LEAF RICE!

instead i froze when the guy came to take my orders and i got garlic cheese naan instead. WAUGH. 
then a bunch of indian teenage guys came and sat at my table cause basically it was the only empty table left. you can see a bit of their banana leaf at the above picture.

ok lah my kopi ais and garlic cheese naan were quite good too. very greasy (in a nice way), hot and glossy from the oven, and the dude is obviously very generous with his freshly chopped garlic. and the mint sauce is good too! (it came later so it wasn't in the photo). fresh mint with bits of cheese. YUM. 

aiya i'll just have to come back another day for banana leaf lah.

Restoran Exotic Curry House
23 Lorong Tingkat, Jalan Istana, Klang
017 343 7721


passed by a guy chopping up a bunch of banana leaves in front of his house. HE SELLS BANANA LEAVES? so interesting! i've always wanted to know who supplies banana leaves to all these mamaks. do they reuse the banana leaves? where did he get all the banana leaves? how many trees does he chop up in a day? 

tried chatting to him and he's smiling and seems friendly enough. but it sounded like he is replying in tamil :(
explored Little India a bit more. look at that Cheung Fashion House signboard. i have an obsession with vintage hand painted signboards. tis' a dying art. 

i have visited chong kok many times, but always left the photo-taking responsibility to grace. this is the time to properly photograph this kopitiam! if they have a classic signboard, they'll probably score 'high distinction' in heritage kopitiam contests. 
ling says the ground floor used to be a bar, and the second storey was a restaurant with a dai chow menu.
'FIRST CLASS BAR'. close enough. 

Chong Kok Kopitiam
5 Jalan Stesen Klang
03 3371 0996
nah. who says klang isn't beautiful? 

that's not the end of my mission yet! i remembered spotting a second hand furniture shop somewhere there, a long long time ago, but i've never had the time to hunt for it. with another hour left before picking up grace, it's now or never. 

so i hopped in the car and began driving around. 

TADAH. here it is! 

'Perabot Terpakai Dan Lain-Lain'

first up: vintage cameras in the display window! Yashica, Voigtländer, Canon... ... 
Voigtländer's logo is simply mesmerizing. so elegant! nowadays it's all clunky fonts. Voigtländer is my favorite brand when i visited the Camera Museum in  Penang last year too. (founded in Vienna by Johann Cristoph Voigtländer in 1756, it's the oldest name in the camera industry!)
vintage baby carriages!

it's a pretty random place. there's a sexy hermes 3000 turquoise typewriter in near perfect condition, a bright blue vintage iron safe that's not for sale, classic bikes, yellowing postcards sent from india to malaysia during WWII in frames, leather suitcases, interspersed with secondhand electric washing machines, weird kfc mugs, ikea ribba frame, and animal figurines. 

although two of the assistants tailed me all the time, i had a lot of fun wandering through the store. 

asked four people the same question, 'where do you guys get all this stuff from?'
A: "uh... jalan-jalan beli punya..."
B: "tanya boss, saya kerja sini sebulan saja."
C: "ask my boss"
D (the boss): "from Singapore!"

this perabot terpakai shop used to be in banting for seven years, and moved here a year before. on the bus to morib the week before, i noticed that banting has quite a few bundle shops too! hmmm. 
there's a tray of vintage lenses, so i took a canon one and changed it to my canon. it's not a fit at all but managed to shoot the above photo with it lah. hehehe. 


i thought i was going to leave the shop empty handed since the only things i could conceivably purchase were a gold pumpkin paperweight and a beautiful filigree mirror case. the typewriter was too expensive and all other things weren't going to be useful to me until i get a house of my own anyway. 

until this! 

this vintage leather camera bag! 
i really love the dark green lining! my camera fits nicely, the gold lock turns nicely, and stamped on the back is 'Minolta Camera Co. Japan.'

it's my first time buying vintage so i wasn't sure how to haggle. i'm terrible at haggling lah. anyway, the shop assistant went to her boss with the price i asked for and she came back, smiling, saying that the boss agreed to my price and it's the lowest he's willing to go and no more because 

A. it's made in 1960


B. it's made from real leather

hahahah i hopped around  trying to decide and finally those two factors sealed the deal for me lah. they close at 6pm so i wouldn't have time to pick up grace and bring her back for her expert opinion lol. 

i wanted a real leather bag for so long and the way manufacturers are doing things nowadays, they make things to spoil, whilst the stuff made back then were of insanely good quality, and 'made to last' isn't just a tagline at all. 

so i really hope that's real leather. hahahaha. and now i have a real camera bag! 

my first vintage purchase! i'm addicted. i keep smiling stupidly when i realise my bag is about 54 years old.
RM240 for both casio watches! teeheehee
there you go. Malaysia Day. spent shopping, contributing to the local economy and exploring a little corner of my country.

the analog watch is for mom, but she doesn't like it. will go back soon to exchange another for her. hahah. any reason to talk to the old man again! i didn't even get his name.  

Happy Malaysia Day, everyone! with the sedition act and all, things do seem pretty heartbreaking for us, but hang in there. it's always the darkest before the dawn. 

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