6/16 Musings about Negaraku @ NAG

Re Kuala Lumpur, KL – the former Railway Station is a beautiful building. Few will dispute that the architecture of the former National Gallery, is more elegant than the current one. Old KL remains a beguiling place, every time I step foot into it. Refurbished spaces such as 2 Hang Kasturi, or the many hipster cafes, or paintings by artists such as Victor Chin, Gan Chin Lee, and Chin Kong Yee, still cannot fully capture the charm of old KL. What is it about the neoclassical fa├žade? Is it an imagined past tinged with nostalgia? So, what if only lowly-paid migrant workers stay there now? Why is there still anger when I look at Chuah Chong Yong’s painting? Not like I disagree completely with gentrification. There is an existing sentimentality for old KL, and I am still trying to understand why that is so. 

Chuah Chong Yong – Pre-War Building for Sale (1996)