Just after leaving my meeting with Encik Roslan at the Kampung Baharu Ruling Council office I noticed a pretty well kept Malay house nearby. Someone was working in the garden. I take a general picture and proceeded to speak with the man. Turns out he’s the owner and a story unfolds. I spent a good 30 mins talking to him. Outside, the light was dull and the house didn’t look too good for the magazine story. I made a note and continued my journey.
I walk and walk and came across another wooden Malay house. Outside there is an old man. Soon he notices me and once again a conversation unfolds. He turns out to be from Jawa Tengah (there are many Javanese here and a housing Mecca for Indonesian workers) and has been sharing his RM600 rented house for the past 16 years. After 15mins I walked away without taking a single picture.
I walk more and this time coming across a ‘Pasar Malam’ (night market). The sky grows threatening. I scout around and got talking to a vendor who tells me that the majority of traders here are not from Kampung Baharu. In another stroke of luck, I managed to capture a lightning flash in between the twin towers – Of course in the context of the night market.
I wondered up and down that rather small night market. Looking for a piece of Kampung Baharu to take away. After a while I spotted another house. This one was in the best condition and design I had ever seen so far. An old man was sitting on the verandah. I approached and he called me nearer due to his hearing deficit. Although friendly, he had his own interpretations and his replies wander off at tangents. He tells me in order to take pictures of his house, I need to get a letter from DBKL, otherwise he gets in trouble. He tells me how several years ago, some Hong Kong magazine had featured his house and they gave him RM500 although he didn’t ask for anything. I knew he would be a tough nut to handle and I hadn’t even started asking questions. I chose to retreat and bid my goodbyes.
I walk some more, this time taking a different route to the LRT station. The stretch is mostly newer concrete houses. I come across the abandoned outdoor futsal park project, Roslan says its due to unresolved agreements with DBKL. Then a police car slowly pulls up infront of me. I stood there waiting for it to come closer, my eye in the camera viewfinder looking for an angle to incorporate the police vehicle. There was nothing enticing, so I continued walking. That was when the police man on the passenger side ‘grunted’ at me, rudely gesturing for me to move aside.
It was time to go home…