I grew up in KL.
Just like many of you, I grew up in Kuala Lumpur. I lived in Petaling Jaya and I studied in Kuala Lumpur, even before the rise of the LDP. I remember when I was a young boy, cycling with my good friend Jit Han, around our taman in Kelana Jaya. That's where many of my schoolmates and childhood friends lived. Some of them lived in Sungai Way, which has no connection with Sungei Wang. It was a New Village, part of the resettlement programme carried out under the British colonial rulers to destroy the communist party in pre-Merdeka Malaya. Today, Sungai Way is a bustling, albeit slightly cramped, suburb in Kuala Lumpur.
We went to a school called Seaport.
But there is no SM Seaport now. Its name has been changed, just like many other names in the Klang Valley. Street names get rejuggled and revamped to genuflect to some great person. Old street names are forgotten, without so much as a blink of an eye. It's now called SM Sri Permata.
During my schooling days, I used to get teased a bit about the name, Seaport.
"Where are you from?" "Seaport." "Which port?" "The one after A-port and B-port." "Ha ha, very funny."
One lady told me that during her day, they used to say that Seaport is between Seapark and the port. (Seapark is SM Taman SEA.)
I used to go to libraries...
It's no secret that I was a bookworm. I gave the real bookworms a run for their money. I was a member of three libraries, aside from the school library.
First there was the British Council Library. It sat atop a hill, nearby Methodist Girls School, or MGS as they called it. (Some called it "Monkey Girls School", but that was just people being mean.) There were books aplenty, and more: Videos, music, and periodicals. The library even got rid of old stuff from time to time, and I managed to snap up some out-of-print books with torn covers for a good price.
Then there was Pustaka Peringatan, which was next to the Dataran Merdeka, before Dataran Merdeka was submerged in a freak storm that resulted in a flash flood. After that flash flood, the small shopping mall at Dataran Merdeka closed up. But it's opened again in recent years. The library occupied a different building then, only two storeys high. Today there's a different building, about 4 storeys high. And it's also next door to Dataran Merdeka.
I used to visit the British Council Library and the Pustaka Peringatan together. They were nearby each other. The two libraries were good enough, as I could borrow 4 books from British Council Library and 3 books from Pustaka Peringatan.
Then there was the National Library, on Jalan Tun Razak. I used to be a member as well, but as a student I was forced to take the Mini Bus from Bangkok Bank to Jalan Pahang. I would stop at Tawakal Hospital, walk across the road, and keep walking down Jalan Tun Razak up to the blue building. But it was too much hassle, and I didn't go that often.
However, those days I just loved reading and I would borrow about ten books a week. Then I would go home and spend the evenings after dinner all the way up to 2 or 3 in the morning, just reading novels and self-improvement books.
And then things changed
I grew up, graduated from secondary school. People stopped teasing me about the rash of pimples that I had on my face, and I went to university. And the mini buses disappeared from public transportation along their glamorous moniker "BMW" (Bas Mini Wilayah), but reappeared as school buses. And the British Council Library closed. And life went on.
So that's my very simple introduction.
Hope you enjoyed reading it.