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Notes on the Geography of Malaysia: KL Take Two: Photo 52

world pictures Malaysia: KL Take Two

Rehabilitation in progress at the corner of Lebuh Pasar Behar. Times have changed since Cuthbert Harrison, of the Malayan Civil Service, wrote the official Illustrated Guide to the Federated Malay States. The 1923 edition reports (pp. 89-91) that "the Chinese, who form the majority of the trading and shopkeeping population, prefer the rabbit warren to the garden city system of housing, [and so] they are easily accommodated on the flats near the river, whilst the European inhabitants occupy the white bungalows, each in its garden, which dot both the hills on the west and the rising ground on the east beyond the native town." Harrison continues: Kuala Lumpur "does not require the European and the Asiatic to live side by side.... Tennis is played a good deal... the balls are retrieved by Tamil or Malay, or possibly Chinese children, who field for hours for a few cents to spend in cakes. But the climate is very hard on the rackets." Amusing or appalling? Depends on your politics.

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