C H I N A T O W N
K U A L A  L U M P U R

( P A R T   1 )  -  2 0 0 8

Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown in Malaysia, also known as Petaling Street, has been a favorite subject to many street and documentary photographers trying their hands at capturing the many colors and cultures that pass through the famous street. One of the oldest parts of city. the main attraction is the roofed street market supposedly shaped as the backbone of a "Green Dragon", and popularly plied by vendors selling fake branded goods from bags, shoes, clothes, watches, and at some point in time, pirated CDs and DVDs. Haggle all you want, bargain all you like, there's definitely something for everybody. Along the backlanes you will also find hawker fares almost like no other, while right alongside it, fresh produce line up the entire building from one end to another. Click on the images below to expand with further details.

 

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Chinatown/Petaling Street
Chinatown/Petaling Street

The 'Green Dragon' above the Chinatown Chinese arches. Petaling Street is still the best place to shop for counterfeit branded products and for trying out its large selection of local Chinese cuisine. For buyers, it is often possible to haggle on the price of watches, clothing and all the counterfeit items. The Street is always crowded not only with tourists, but also with locals. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Pirated CDs and DVDs - Chinatown
Pirated CDs and DVDs - Chinatown

Before the clampdown of bootleg movies, music and music videos, software and pornography, they were openly sold in the middle of the street at any given time. Upon taking this photograph, the seller on the left saw me, scolded profanities, and gave chase along with other vendors. I ran, only to break my wide angle lens on a light pole before darting into a cab nearby McDonalds. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Tourists
Tourists

One does not come to Kuala Lumpur without visiting Chinatown. In some countries, buying fake handbags and sunglasses were done from the boot of a car. Here, everything is done in the open and endorsed by Tourism Malaysia. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Cobblers
Cobblers

Need your shoes fixed after miles of walking? Fret not. Cobblers are almost on every corner of the Street. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Shady Vendors
Shady Vendors

You'll never know where your goods come from. © Evan Hwong Photographs

More Tourists
More Tourists

Just to take a walk through the many lanes of Chinatown itself is an experience even if you're not there to buy anything. © Evan Hwong Photographs

...And Locals
...And Locals

Locals who ply along the route are mostly there for supplies almost akin to warehouse sales. © Evan Hwong Photographs

East Meets West
East Meets West

With the great mixture of foreigners and locals thronging the Street, there's almost never a moment where one's collection of photographs do not have a mix of both in one frame. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bus Conductor
Bus Conductor

Besides screams and shouts of offers for bargains, you will also hear calls from conductors calling for passengers to board their buses that pass by Chinatown. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Generation Gap
Generation Gap

Kopitiams, or Chinese hawker-styled coffee stalls, are ample along the many corners for a quick refreshment or for some, a means to pass time by. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Roving Peddler
Roving Peddler

If one doesn't have a stall, one drives from one end of the Street to another with whatever they can sell on their motorbikes. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Chestnuts Roasting
Chestnuts Roasting

Only thing missing is Jack Frost nipping at your nose. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bags and Bootlegs
Bags and Bootlegs

Imitation bags from Prada, Gucci, Luis Vuitton, Adidas etc are everywhere. © Evan Hwong Photographs

What's a Kati?
What's a Kati?

Or a Kantang? Certain stalls still adopt the old metric system of weights although most succumbed to modern style of grams and kilograms to meet the foreign demands. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Reinforcements
Reinforcements

In the many years since my image of the DVD piracy was posted and published, more local reinforcements from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) backed up by the Police were present to patrol the street against such activities. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Beggars
Beggars

Where there's people, there's definitely beggars. For every 100 meters you walk, you will be greeted by one asking for spare change, although sad to note that a big number of them belonged to a syndicate of beggars. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Indecisiveness
Indecisiveness

Too many things to buy, too little time to decide. © Evan Hwong Photographs

More Fruits
More Fruits

Where else can you find the easiest way to look for local fruits? © Evan Hwong Photographs

Loots
Loots

On a smaller backlane of "Pasar Karat" you will find people selling either genuinely second hand items from their homes, or worse, stolen goods. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Backlane Barber
Backlane Barber

A reflection of a street barber awaiting customers in another backlane. Click below to be redirected to Part 2. © Evan Hwong Photographs

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