An Afternoon with Mahen Bala
Finally, the planned walk took place on Saturday, 27th April. It coincided with an ongoing exhibition at ILHAM Gallery on the works of the late Chia Yu Chian. The story about the man deserved its own entry, something I planned to do in the future, after I myself indulge into his work at the gallery - thus far I have yet to make time ...
Apparently the late Mr Chia lived at Selangor Mansion since moving from Penang in the 70s, and used the place as his studio as well as getting inspirations from the goings on in the surrounding area, Masjid India. Back then, this used to be the hub of the thriving city, in the 70s and 80s. This was where those wanting to make it big city would first arrived. It was a melting pot. And to a certain extend, it remained so.
Around 20 of us gathered just after 5 pm at Medan Pasar - the old Market Square. It was threatening to rain. Aimed with an umbrella, we ambled along towards River of Life, where the real story of Kuala Lumpur begun a couple of centuries back. I sampled the ambiance and everybody understood then why the planned revamp of the confluence - termed River of Life - was controversial. Is it taking away the soul of the city? And not to mention such a poor job the City Council were making of it thus far. It seemed there had hardly been any progress in the last couple of years. The river still looked murky. And full of litter. And that was on a good day ...
Moving on, we headed across towards Masjid India, passed the LRT station at it was now. As it was the weekend, business was thriving along Jalan Melayu. Before long, we found ourselves standing right in front of Malayan Mansion, absorbing the scenery at the area. Mahen gave us some perspective of the area from the previous work he has done around the place.
Before long, we arrived at an innocuous-looking entrance to Selangor Mansion. It was right in the middle of a row of shops, with only a lift marking the entrance. A stair-case snaked behind the elevators spiralling towards the top. Seven stories, and more on the walk up there on another entry.
We tied the afternoon off with the customary roti canai banjir at the cafe on the ground floor before leaving our separate ways around Maghrib. Plenty to ponder and it was a great experience. A great company.