Quite often, I’d eat lunch alone because the peace and quiet (and food) helps with thinking. The company canteen a.k.a level 8 provides lots of cheap and tasty food, and I’d eat there a lot. Because most of the tables are usually full, I’d go to the counter to have my meal.
My work as an intern here this times involves writing some articles, and one of them happened to be about Kuala Lumpur. One idea led to the next, and I ended up at the Wiki page of History of Kuala Lumpur. Reading our beloved KL’s history, I stumbled upon a certain picture that looked oddly familiar.
‘The confluence where the Klang and Gombak rivers meet, is where Kuala Lumpur got its name’ was its caption. Muddy confluence. Kuala Lumpur.
My first thought was, “So it’s literally where the two rivers met la lolzerz.”
My second thought was, “Holy shit, is that Menara OCBC in the background?”
All this while, I never knew that during lunch I had been looking at the space where the 87 tin prospectors started their journey by foot to Ampang after the Malay chief at that time hired them in hopes of establishing a tin mine.
In 1857, the boats could only reach as far as where the two rivers meet for some reason and the miners had to leave and collect some supplies before starting their trek to the jungle we now call Ampang. The earliest settlement was established on the left side of the picture, and merchants came in to sell basic necessities to the miners in return for some tin.
After that, gangster Ah Loy dai lou set the precedent for law and order with 6 policemen only and the other gangsters respected him. Then came the Selangor Civil War, and a massive flood, which was followed by a fire that razed all the wooden buildings to the ground. At that point, Ah Loy’s British m8 Frank Swettenham was like
“Eh use bricks weh”
Dai lou was like
And then Brickfields came along.
I wonder if my colleagues know that during lunch at level 8, they had been staring at the most (if not, one of the most) historically significant place in Kuala Lumpur the whole time.
I won’t be surprised if they don’t because today, a lorry was parked right beside the river while its driver threw something in it, and a few people were (I think) sunbathing near the confluence. Well, they didn’t move and they were lying so I assumed they were. On the right of the sunbathers exists Dataran Merdeka; on their left, HSBC.
And to think that in between these two landmarks is where it all started for Kuala Lumpur, is something I had never expected.