Sunday, February 11, 2007

Central Market

This is Central Market, or CM for short. Earlier residents of Kuala Lumpur would remember buying their meat, fishes, and vegetable there. It was originally a wet market at the centre of Kuala Lumpur. By the time I reach KL, it was already a Pasar Seni. Except for a few concrete tables in side the building, nothing would give any clue of its previous occupants. It has been converted into shoplots.

Even the concretes tables were turned into stalls. I remembered that these stalls sold 'traditional' Malaysian stuff (Chinese, Malays, Indians, Ingenious people). There were food such as 'keropok', 'kerepek', 'maruku', and 'love letters'. There were traditional cakes and cookies. Other than food, there were also art and craft such as batiks, the chinese fan, and all sort of utensil (traditional weapons included).

Then there were stalls selling traditional music instruments. There were drums, flute, sting instruments and some other instruments that I didn't really know what. Occasionally, the fellow manning the stalls would demonstrate the instruments to curious tourist / shopper. What I like most, was that some times, a bunch of guys (I assume the stall owner friends) would gather at these stalls and played an impromptu concert using those instruments. One concert permanently etched in my mind was when they played a 'kitaro'. Back then CM have some sort of 'soul' and you can feel the 'culture'.

After a few years of absence, I drop by the CM last Friday. The concrete tables were no longer there. The interior was renovated. Yes, the air-cond was better, but the impression that I got was CM has become yet another commercial business center or shopping complex. I have no idea where the traditional stalls went.

But all hope was not lost. At the other side of the entrance, I saw this thing. This is two rows of angklungs hanged on a wooden frame. An angklung is a traditional music instrument made of bamboo. It produced a soothing sound when rattled.

Upon closer look, I realised there was a man behind the angklungs. And he was preparing for a show. I decided to wait and I glad I did. He played for about half an hour. He played three song - Malay, English and a Chinese song. When he was in his second song, a passer-by 'jumped' in and sang a verse. The angklung man kept his cool and continued playing. When the song finished the crowd clapped and cheered the unidentified singer.

If you want to catch the angklung man performing, his first show start at 12pm and the last show is at 6.30pm. Each show lasted for about half an hour and followed by half an hour break. With all the rattling, the man need some break. His off is on Mondays.

Me, I need to come back to CM and explore what CM has to offer.

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