On my way back from Myanmar I stopped four days in Malaysia. It was a very interesting experience because I was comming from Myanmar and it made for an interesting contrast and also because as someone who was born in a third world country, I found their economic development to be interesting.
Burma was actually richer than Malaysia in the 1960's. Malaysia's development is really amazing. There is a sizable middle class, education is pretty good and uvailable to all. They export not just traditional materials such as rubber, but semicondocturs, and are in the process of developing media, IT industries. The country breathes dynamism and activity. It seems that the Mahatir regime which was a semi authoritarian regime that ruled the country for most of its independance, set some priorities to develop the country and succeeded. Of course there are charges of corruption, but I think all polititians in the world are thieves, so might as well have thieves that leave soemthing in return. As a Latin American I wonder why in my region governments are going back to populist formulas from the 1970's and dont apply some of the policies applied here.
On the bad front, I found that this development is happening on the back of traditional culture. There seems to be a race to build higher, brighter buildings, and there does not seem to be much trace of culture or tradition as you can see in Myanmar. I do beleive that a country can develop and without becoming all plastic.
Anyway about the photo: it is taken on a main street on the edge of Chinatown. YOu see some more traditional lowying buildings mixed up with office buildings which push me to ask the question: how much office space does a city of 2,5 million people need? Can they ever feel it up?
Critiques | Translate
Paolo (41222) 2005-05-11 4:12
Hi Daniel, interestin point of view, and i'm agree with you.
i went in Malaysia at the beginnings of the 90's, and in Kuala Lumpur there are not more than 8 or 9 small skyscrapers.
Chinatown district was really original and beautiful and there were dozens of good guesthouses and great restaurants.
the same thing in the small islands on the Terrengganu coastline (Perhentian, Redang, Kapas...), before only small bungalows, then gigantic resort with 250 rooms, airports, ferry boat, concrete piers (with hectars of dead reef)...
When we back in Kuala Lumpur we found a different city.
obsessed by the American way of life: skyscrapers, McDonanld's, Pizza Hut, Hard Rock Cafè, cars everywhere, gigantic airports, concrets and asphalt...
Chinatown is today a tourist attraction, the Petronas Tower absorbed more electrical power than a medium size city for the night illumination...
in New York city the 30% of the skyscrapers are without occupant. no residential, no office.
the same thing happened in Chicago, and also in Milano, where we have only few skyscrapers, 2 are not used, with more than 50 floors that are abandoned!
sure, the Malaysian are living better today than yesterday, but they need for that 200 skyscrapers that destroyed entire neighborhood in the city centre???
AmiBe (6042) 2005-05-11 5:12
I was in KL only for 5 hours when I returned from burma.
That's true, the contrast is incredible.
Development is good for a country, but it should not lose the culture and the traditions.
greg64g (11193) 2005-05-11 5:58
I am sure that's there is a big contrast with Myanmar,this picture remind me my trip in Jakarta, it was quite the same mood of it.
i like the colours and all this people.
aloyho (6798) 2005-05-11 9:01
You have chosen a nice POV to put across your thoughts and I must say you achieved it beautifully. The contrasting colours seems to suggest further this point. I love the clarity and details. Regards.
marieaude (1196) 2005-05-11 11:43
Hola Daniel, desde luego que el contraste parece bastante fuerte, segun he podido ver en diferentes photos publicadas (ya que no conozco estos lugares) . De esta photo me gusta este edificio amarillo con un aspecto bastante antiguo al lado de estos monstruos de cristal y hormigon. Gracias por la nota tambien. Hasta pronto.
ndb1958 (9289) 2005-05-11 12:24
Hi Daniel, interesting photo (it reminds me a bit to certain parts of Bangkok). Interesting note! Nino.
fooeleen (713) 2005-05-11 13:17
thanks for sharing this shot of my country, i felt touched by your note and question. well, sometimes it can become pretty suffocating, and it's sometimes sad too to see culture and what used to be the center of our lives slowly fade off to give way to development, sometimes, even sadder when the development were not carried out with respect to social and cultural impacts. yet, overall this is a great country to live in, how many races do u need to live in harmony?
nerve (10231) 2005-05-11 16:51
Good note Daniel,, good points to question really..
The shot is perfect for this title too..
(i quite like your city shots..)
overcome (1109) 2005-05-12 8:11
An interesting note from you. The picture shows the daily life of Malaysia. Well done.
Tue (28438) 2005-05-12 19:10
Very nice picture! The contrast between the skyscrapers and the small buildings is very nice! I like the daily life aspect as well!
Good work! :-D
RandomCameraGuy (3071) 2005-05-17 5:03
Great urban shot Daniel! Love the colours and (a bit contrary to your note maybe) there's an interesting mix of old and new (well old-colonial, and old-circa 1970s buildings).
But you're generally right about the rush to modernization in Malaysia. It's a tough call the cultural bit, where does tradition end and the wish for developed countries that other countries remain undeveloped and quaint begin?
awiefoong (181) 2005-08-31 4:14
the rush of modernization seems to catch every Asean countries, if not all the developing countries... on the one hand, we long for modern lifestyle, and on the other hand, we know fully well that it is going to cost us dearly.
the cities are growing each day, and the kampungs are shrinking.
i'd suggest if you visit malaysia some day, spend at least one night in a non-tourist small town like Muar, Segamat, Labis, Tampin... just to name a few near the southern part of the peninsular. There's nothing much u can do, but it would be nice to soak up the local air and live for a day how most Malaysians live their lives :)
- Copyright: daniel barreto (rbcy1974) (20758)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2005-01-00
- Categories: Architecture
- Camera: Canon EOS 500, 28-300 Tamron XR
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Chinatown [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2005-05-11 3:59