State of Carcosa
Photos from this visit can be seen here.
When I hear the phrase "Carcosa Seri Negara", I had always imagined the heyday of the Colonial past. Over the years, the place had been converted into a luxury hotel. I even went there on a couple of occasions for dinner, donning my suit.
In 2007, being the Registrar for the MRCP Examinations locally, we had a formal dinner there. Fantastic food. Fantastic ambiance. I took Anita along and she was well impressed. I also had a colleague who had her wedding there. Proper posh affair.
The hotel was still running until 2016 when the lease was completed. It then closed shops. Anita had always wanted to have high tea there. For the time being, it was "no can do". Much was written about what had happened, but the best summary I could find is in this Wikipedia entry.
The place is now a shadow of its former glory. I was there last Sunday to see an exhibit, and Anita was looking forward to see how the place currently is. She was devastated.
It was now a mini-museum. The exhibition I attended - called Humans of Kuala Lumpur - appeared to be part of the effort to turn the place into a heritage and cultural centre, something which I applaud. But it would take a monumental effort to pull that one off anytime soon.
Hopefully the recent exposure from "Crazy Rich Asians" which was filmed there would kick-start this journey. Although some of us may want to forget the Colonial past, it would remain part of our history. And Carcosa Seri Negara had undeniably played a very substantial role in Malaya's journey to independence. So, it is appropriate that the public should be exposed to this treasure while we are celebrating Merdeka.
I look forward to hear a concrete plan for both Carcosa and Seri Negara. This is an important building which should be treasured.
More photos from this visit here.