Thursday, October 30, 2008
Jalan Petaling - Chinatown or Banglatown?
Just take a walk along Jalan Petaling. It used to be a real Chinatown but not anymore. There are now more Bangladeshis, Indonesians and other foreigners than Malaysians. It's the same with Chow Kit where the foreigners have displaced the Malays in the area. In Jalan Petaling, the owners of these stalls seems to be more contented letting their foreign workers run their businesses. So when foreign tourists visit these stalls, all they see are foreigners selling these faked goods. Where are the Malaysians? Maybe the food sellers are still Malaysians but surely these foreigners have outnumbered the locals. Now that there is an application by Pengasih, a non-profit organisation that runs a drug rehabilitation programme, for additional stalls in Jalan Petaling, these traders have suddenly surfaced, grumbling and complaining. Their argument doesn't seem very convincing. What's wrong with letting Pengasih be a part of Jalan Petaling? In fact, every pasar malam in the city should keep a spot for NGOs for the disabled, single mothers and the less privileged to dabble in small businesses instead of relying on handouts. They should have realised long ago that Chinatown has become Banglatown. They should not blame anyone except themselves for losing that identity. Except for the arch, the identity of Jalan Petaling as Chinatown has disappeared. Meanwhile, City Hall has finally announced officially that Jalan Alor would stick to its identity - and name. It would be taking down the Jalan Kejora road sign soon. Thanks to Federal Territories Minister Zulhasnan Rafique for stepping in and putting things right.