Humans of Kuala Lumpur
I heard about this “movement” for a while now. And my first impression was, are they trying to copy the “Humans of New York” series? Well, it was a valid question, but then again, there is no reason to emulate something that works. And it was not wrong also to add a local flavour to what is essentially urban and “Western”. So, I got interested and follow the stories on Instagram at the beginning.
Sure enough, there are plenty of people in KL and they have plenty of interesting tale to tell. The initiative was started back in 2012 by Mushamir Mustafa. So, this series was not new. And the website is one of the best around, very intuitive to explore.
Over the years, it had become difficult to define who KLites are. There are plenty of immigrants who lived in KL longer than Malaysians who migrated to this great metropolis which they now called home. KL is now a potpourri of people and the mix certainly spiced up the tales.
When I learned that they were featuring their works in an exhibition in town, I did not wait long. How appropriate to use Carcosa Seri Negara as the venue as this added more to the intrigue. A colonial mansion of the years gone by featuring the works of what will be the future of the City.
There were about 20 stories told on a footnote of a big picture poster. Interesting twists, and my favourite was definitely the taxi driver who was a corporate figure before he decided to retire. Each story were different but the theme seemed common. They all called KL their home although they started off from some other place. Some from East Malaysia, some from abroad.
But the exhibits also highlighted the weakness of the writings. They are done by a collection of writers and the curation I felt was rather loose. Some of the stories were too long. Some too short. If only they can all agree on a formula of maybe writing the stories in less than 100 words, maybe slightly longer that the “Born in Malaysia” effort. But this is minor and the effort should be applauded and supported.
Here’s wishing for many more tales to be told!