Blog Details

My Bangsar

Each fortnight, when I sit down to write my The Bangsar Boy column, I often think about all the things I used to do as a kid. I know that the column is really about a young city boy growing up in Kuala Lumpur, but still, I tend to gravitate towards Bangsar not because of the name of my column, but because I have lived here for 30 years (short of a couple of years studying in Australia).

So, recently, I decided to take a drive around Bangsar and see what comes to mind. It was a random drive – besides one location, which I will reveal later – I had no plans on where I would stop to take pictures. In just that one hour, I was awashed with so many memories – good ones, mind you.

Needless to say, it justified my resolute opinion that Kuala Lumpur – and Bangsar, in particular – is my favourite place in the world to live in.

Let me share some of the photos I took with you, and some of my memories that went along with it. Many of you might not know what I am referring to, unless you too have memories of Bangsar, but join me on this trip down memory lane, won’t you?

Hockey field = Carat Club

I suppose it is apt that this first shot I chose has a slight sepia feel to it. It wasn’t a camera effect, just the weather really.

Still, it captured a venue that was one of the highlight’s of my teenage life. When I was in Form 2 or Form 3, I befriended some of my sisters friends who were hockey players (she was too). One of them, Rizal, lived in that house in the picture which is now Carat Club. Rizal had two brothers – Razali and Rozhan. The latter was my age.

All of us, including one such JJ from Hitz.fm and my teenage best friend Paul, would gather with the three brothers and other friends almost every evening for a game of hockey. The front of the house used to be grass but Mr Razman, their late father, had cemented the grounds around the same time that hockey turfs started becoming popular, so that we would be able to get as close a feel to the real thing as possible.

My school didn’t have a hockey team the first few years I was there, so this was the place where I could play hockey frequently, and be part of a team. It was also a gathering of sorts of for a whole lot of Bangsar Boys all of whom came from different race and religions (and mix race too!). Oh, by the way, Rizal is now my brother-in-law.

Bangsar Village = Hankyu Jaya

I’m not even sure if many people remember Bangsar Village as having only one wing but this goes back way into the mid-1990s when the second shopping centre to open in Bangsar was Hankyu Jaya. The shopping centre was very different from Bangsar Shopping Centre (which had an elitist feel) – Hankyu Jaya had a more open concept.

I’m not 100% sure but I wouldn’t be surprised if that pink walls on the right side of the picture above are the same from when the older shopping centre was first built.

We did not have a huge retail outlet in Bangsar back then – BSC had small stores selling different items – so it was nice to walk into a shopping centre which had everything. It wasn’t very big – only two floors if I remember correctly – but it was in the heart of Bangsar Baru which made it very convenient.

My friend Paul, who went to school in VI, would meet me after school at the bus stop along Jalan Bangsar (I came from PJ, where I was studying) and we would often make stops together there and just walk around and, umm, lepak. I think I might still have the pencil box that I bought from there!

Field = Sports Centre

Until today, not many people know of the existence of the Bangsar Sports Complex – the original BSC (as opposed to Bangsar Shopping Centre). Although I live near the shopping centre, I practically grew up in this part of Bangsar because of my babysitter. I spent most of my childhood at her home, and even as I grew older and went to secondary school, I’d still drop by each day after school for meals and such.

In the evenings, while waiting for mum and dad to pick me up after work, I would cross the street to the sports complex. The complex had tennis and badminton courts, a swimming pool and a table tennis area as well as a playground behind.

The playground was my favourite area – me and some of the other kids Aunty Nelly was looking after would spend the evenings there running around and playing fantasy games. As I grew older, I used to take my hockey stick over there (remember, this was when I didn’t have a team) and just hit around.

Today, there is a handball court and a futsal court where the empty patch of grass used to be. I think this is great because this means that the kids around the neighbourhood now have proper places to play at, instead of just on bad patches of grass or on the road like I did. See, progress can be good.

Maybank = Hawker Centre

Even I am having problems trying to remember what it was like because I was so young but this Maybank building and the rows of shops below it was not always there. What stood in it’s place was essentially – nothing. I remember there being a row of hawkers there where my family would go out to eat every night.

One particular hawker that I remember vividly was Pak Wan. It was our favourite stop (well, for me it came second to McDonald’s which is directly opposite it and still remains today) and dad loved the Mee Rebus, if I remember correctly. Another stall that I recall is Mr Ong’s coconut water – we used to nickname him Coconong (coconut + ong … geddit?).

I don’t know if any of those stalls had license to operate from there but eventually, a hawker centre was built down the road (taking up part of the empty lot) that we would come to know as Jolly Green Giant. This hawker centre now remains (although it was massively renovated some years back) but most of the original stalls are gone.

Oh well, at least the memories remain.

Lalang = PLayground

It’s a beautiful playground, isn’t it? I love it and these days, I always either start or end my usual runs around the nighbourhood there. This playground is located on Jalan Rumpai, just a few minutes walk from my house. Except that it wasn’t there when I was younger.

In fact, all there was on this empty plot of land was grass and, well, lots of lalang. Occasionally, the authorities would come in and clean in up (to get rid of the eye sore and I suppose, dengue risks). It was at that time that me and my friend Faiz, along with some kids from the neighbourhood, would head over and have the time of our lives.

Faiz and his sister Shikin were really good golfers and participated in junior tournaments. Occasionally, I’d go with them to their games at golf clubs. After a while, I too took up the game and started heading over to the driving range. However, on days when the grass wasn’t so long, the gang would drag our golf clubs to this empty plot of land and have a game or two of golf. We’d dig out own holes, cordon off certain areas as the water hazards, and sand traps and viola – we had a four to five hole course.

The empty piece of land also means we had access to a forest-like area right beside it. Being the adventurous kids we were, we’d go in there – sometimes with bicycles in tow – and once discovered that a route that took us out to Damansara. The route no longer exist; the access point has now been fenced up.

As kids, I guess we were resourceful and creative enough to create our own playground with an empty piece of land. Still, I’m glad for the kids around my neighbourhood who have access to swings, a jogging track and basketball court – things I never did have access to as a kid (well, not so nearby anyway).

BSC

I thought I’d save my second home for last. I call this my second home because it is literally a couple of minutes walk from my home and I spent a lot of time there as a kid. I don’t recall what it was before the shopping centre was built – I’m assuming it was a piece of empty land – but my memories of the space go back way to the time when they were building it.

Remember what I said about having access to play areas? And about being resourceful? Well, me and some of the kids from the neighbourhood turned the construction area into our playground. The carpark ramps were great for cycling, and the pieces of wood lying around made great makeshift ramps for skateboarding.

Then when the old shopping centre (the unrenovated, first phase) was ready, it was the only place my parents would trust me to be alone at. I suppose it was nearby and full of neighbours anyway. Both my sisters had at some point of their lives worked there and I didn’t want to be left out.

So during school holidays, I’d spend a few hours there each there chatting with the ladies behind the cashier at Cold Storage and play bag boy. That was also the place where I earned my first Ringgit – I remember a caucasian lady tipping me for helping her. I was so excited!

Eventually, the shopping centre expanded and we’d have cinemas, a bowling alley and what I thought was the most amazing food court. None of these excist anymore but I still frequent there often – for food, banking and well, of course, shopping. It remains my favourite shopping centre to date.

10.53pm Malaysian time (+8 GMT)

36 Comments

ling_chan

Not to forget the arcade in BSC!!! Nice post Nikki!

emvee

I remember Hankyu Jaya!!! Hahaha … I like reading this post, really a trip down memory lane ๐Ÿ™‚

Jess

nyahaha niki, i aint frm kl so i’ve no idea how bangsar looks like frm d beginning. but seeing how it is today, gosh man. bangsar in ur pix is rlly EMPTY!! O_O

andymervingeorge

Well written there, Niki. Bangsar was partly the place where I loved to be because of Hankyu Jaya~ I lived in Brickfields near Jln Scott during my childhood years and studied in SRK Brickfields for 5 years. So, on weekends, my mom would take me to Hankyu Jaya using the blue/white Sri Jaya bus. To me, HJ, was THE place to be coz they offered lots of toys ๐Ÿ˜€ My dad used to work in a bakery shop at the row where Finnegans is now. ๐Ÿ™‚

ahmad

brings me down memory lane!

emila yusof

I so remember hankyu jaya! thanks for bringing the memory back!

voted!

zaharibb

Please vote for me too, thanks

Ben

ahhh! i love bangsar so much that i cycle there all the way frm taman desa just to check the area out. ๐Ÿ˜€ always drop by bangsar village when im there. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ben

ahhhh! and also, when i was a kid, the mph there was still open! i used to get scared of goin up to the third floor where all the tapes and music were. ๐Ÿ˜€ and and, rocky is still there!:D oh, i remembered hankyu jaya too! ๐Ÿ˜€ used to go there with my fam for shoppin before any shopping complexes were built! ๐Ÿ˜€

uberVU - social comments

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by nikicheong: On my blog: This used to be my Bangsar. http://tinyurl.com/ykxpkwz

Veena

Bangsar Shopping Centre was practically where I grew up too- we spent a lot of time in the stairwells, not smoking, funnily enough.

MiM

superb post. i shall be proceeding to vote for you. it’s a bangsar that a foreigner like me has almost never seen.
thanks for this.

mike

I remember getting lost in Hankyu Jaya as a kid. I was terrified. Lol.

And I remember watching Sri Penaga being built from the ground up.

Plus watching all the houses along Jln Maarof being turned into shophouses one by one.

Some of my memories of ze old Bangsar.

Tweets that mention My Bangsar ร‚ยป Blog Archive ร‚ยป My Bangsar -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by I-Ming, Niki Cheong, Niki Cheong, Niki Cheong, nileshbabu and others. nileshbabu said: RT @nikicheong: Dear everybody, Would you vote on my blog post about Bangsar, please? http://tinyurl.com/ykxpkwz Thanks! […]

Farina

Hi dear!

I love this entry! I love the old-world Bangsar… pre-nightclubs. Only a seasoned Bangsarian will know where Min Max & Thilaga used to be… hehe. Back then, TMC was just 1 shop lot and the owner walked around in long shorts and a tattered pagoda singlet.

Bangsar Village is my almost-daily haunt now and I still take my kid to BSC swimming pool. Only RM1 mah… we r so lucky!

And yes, that pink wall is original I believe…

    Jack

    I remember min max and thilaga. Both the owners were friends of mine. The Chinese man who owned min max married to a penangite and the Indian woman who owned thilaga (whose family still resides in bangsar baru) although she’s gone. Back then the only 2 pubs in Bangsar were The New Moon (Bangsar Baru) and the Baron (Lucky Gardens). How I wish I could turn the clock back. Life in bangsar then was so simple and uncomplicated. Look at the place now.

Andrew

Nice one Niki!

mylo

Congrats Niki for your winning entry!

Best Wishes,
mylo (Alex)
A Malaysian Photo & Travel Blog
http://myloismylife.blogspot.com/

Malaysia Asia

Hi Niki,

Congratulations on your win for BlogForFT in the Media category. Gosh, I miss the old Bangsar reading up on this. Great work!

Regards,
David
Malaysia Asia

Insights into Federal Territories through Blog4FT contest | Free Malaysia Today – English

[…] and Labuan, that many of us are unaware of. One such winning post under the media category is My Bangsar by Niki Cheong, a journalist/columnist and writer. His post talks about the Bangsar that he knew for about 30 […]

TianChad

Congratz on the winning post =D

zaim

Nowaday, Bangsar is totally different. ๐Ÿ™‚

niki

Thank you everyone for your kind wishes! ๐Ÿ˜€

asmahani

Hi Niki,
Congrats on your win. To me, Bangsar is one place full of ‘energy’, like it never sleeps.

    niki

    It is, isn’t it? I think it’s great.

J2Kfm

Congrats Niki! Well-deserved win. I was initially wondering what the tweet (hehe) was Blog For FT.

I won a car in the Blog For FT competition « Niki Cheong

[…] Last night in South Africa ร‚ยซ Niki Cheong — Topsy.com on Last night in South AfricaJ2Kfm on My BangsarNel on Last night in South Africakenwooi on Last night in South AfricaCelcom User on Celcom stealing […]

szemay

Church was (and is still) nearby at Damansara Heights, and as a kid, Bangsar Shopping Centre’s food court was the lunch place to be every Sunday after church! I could recall so many stalls there. Dave’s Deli was a treat. My love for Indian food started there too. And one of the best Curry Yong Tow Foo I have ever had…

I have never lived in Bangsar, but spent so much time there that I know all those places you mentioned. This post brought back so many childhood memories and a smile to my face. Thanks!

    niki

    It’s always nice to walk down memory lane ๐Ÿ˜€

Ee Che

No wonder u won, very well written and really ikut tema. Anyway, whose birthday is it anyway??? And if u dont know what to do with the WAJA, u know who to look for…hahaha..

    niki

    Coming from you contest freak and fierce writer critique, thanks! :oP

    As for the Waja … you wish lah!

agentcikay

great post! saw ya at the awards.. was seated with keith. anyway congrats!

Rezeki « .. SaNa SiNi SaNi ..

[…] Kategori Media- Azizul Fahmi Ahmad Zabidi ~entri, Cerita kemasyhuran Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad., -enciksani~dgn entri Pasar Chow Kit, Pasar Satu Malaysia! -Niki Cheong, entrinya~ My Bangsar […]

cutelilangel

very well-written!! congratz on you win! ๐Ÿ™‚

Jack

If we are talking about the same pak wan ( a thick set guy with bushy eyebrows and always wearing a loose white t – shirt) who originally ran the goring Pisang stall opposite McDonald’s way back in the 1970’s, he’s gone back to Indonesia. I met him in Surabaya in the middle 90’s and he seemed to be doing fine raising his grand kids. He lives with them and operates a food stall in the Jalan Mayjen Sungkono area near where I used to live. Being an old bangsar boy myself who has spent a large portion of my life abroad but recently returned, I couldn’t help but smile because a few of the names you mentioned in this column seem familiar to me. Regards and keep up the good work. Jack

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.