Today we arrived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – a fascinating city and culture. I have learned through this entire trip and have reinforced the idea that much of Southeast Asia has been influenced by India, Britain, China, and the Islam world. Malaysia is no exception and has the additional influence of the native Malays. It’s an amazing meld of confluence. By the way, the name Kuala Lumpur means the confluence (Kuala) of mud (Lumpur) which represents the two rivers that converge. In our excursion today, we were introduced to the Muslim influence, the Buddhist influence and the Hindu influence on this wonderful city.
Our first stop along the way was the Blue Mosque in Shah Alam just outside of Kuala Lumpur. It was breathtaking.
We then visited the Buddhist temple filled with Chinese influences. The temple was filled with all sorts of red lanterns and beautiful displays.
In the garden area, there were sculptures representing each of the Chinese zodiac symbols. My sign was the year of the Dragon and Rich’s was the Ox.
We then headed into the Indian neighborhood and visited the Hindu temple. I entered the temple – not before taking off my shoes – and took a photo in the temple as a ceremony was underway. I snuck this photo in without anyone seeing me. There’s also a picture of the area where people wash their feet before or after the temple.
We then headed to the Royal Palace. Malaysia has a government very much based on the Great Britain model – a parliament, prime minister, and yes, a king. In Malaysia, however, the king is only king for 5 years and they rotate the title among the 9 ( I think that’s right) sultans across Malaysia. Very interesting model. And it can only be a king – queens do not possess any power. They also have a similar process to Buckingham Palace where the guards change at specific times. The royal guards here, however, do not seem as stiff as their British counterparts as you’ll see from the photos. Also, yellow is the royal color.
Off we went to the war memorial that was very impressive.
Our last stop was the center of Kuala Lumpur and its distinctive architecture. We stopped at the Twin Towers which is the highest twin towers in the world and a distinctive symbol of Kuala Lumpur. Although we didn’t get to go the top, the towers were very impressive.
It was a fascinating day in Kuala Lumpur and I’m very glad that we were able to see it. Kuala Lumpur is not as impressive as Singapore but it still has a lot to offer. There still remains a lot of competition between Kuala Lumpur, or Malaysia in general, and Singapore but Singapore is definitely on top. I do believe, however, that Kuala Lumpur is a thriving and beautiful city that has a lot of potential. It’s amazing to see the integration or maybe just partnership between the very different cultures. I believe that we will see more of that in the days ahead. Meanwhile, we have one more stop tomorrow in Malaysia and it’s the city of Penang. It also has a long history and potentially has much to see.
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