Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Kaki Lima @ Five Foot-Walkway...

The Kaki Lima or Five Foot-Walkway in towns is a normal feature of shops in the old towns in Malaysia.  The image on the left taken in Penang posted by a Blogger/Facebook friend Steven V-l Lee on Facebook shows what a Kaki Lima look like. That scene does brought back memories of my growing up period in Kuantan. It rekindle old memories of my childhood growing up in my father's shop along Wall Street in Kuantan. The street name has changed to Jalan Mahkota now for reason I just could not understand. I thought it would be great to keep the original name Wall Street since the other Wall Street is that famous and well-known street in New York. That would be a value adds to the town of Kuantan. Another is historic in that the street is name after one of the District Officer of Kuantan during the colonial era. To me it would be good to remind us of our history and one way is to keep some of the colonial names of places and streets. Well nothing could be done about it now. I do hope someone would open a restaurant or other shops along this street and call it Wall Cafe or Wall Street Restaurant. And put a plaque there explaining of what that name meant.

Back to the subject of this posting, well as a young kid from the age of five that Kaki Lima or the Five Foot-walkway was where my siblings and I would play all-day long. Especially the one in front of my dad's restaurant. The most I would walk along it on to two or three other shops on both sides. Our dad's restaurant is both our home as well the shop for there is where we live and grew up, in the shop. We seldom venture or allow going further than the end-shop except at time we were allows to play at the field in front of the Police Station there, an imposing building then. That imposing Kuantan Police Station has since been demolished making way to new buildings that to me has no architectural beauty at all. They should have kept the old building and turn it into a Police Museum. It would  surely be a tourist attraction in town now.

In those days the Kaki Lima as the local calls it was not only a space that separate the shop from the road in front, it is also a link-way for folks to walk from one end of the street to the other end in comfort and safety. Nowadays shops are no longer built like that. Most are in Shopping Mall. Anyway those old shops are still there and one could still experience walking on the Kaki Lima and get the feels of why that walkway is so important before the coming of the Mall and Air-conditioning.  The Kaki Lima is an extension of the shop and it provides shades from the sun and rain, thus it made walking from one shop to another a pleasure, as well away from the traffics on the road.

Well folks time has change the way we shop but the old way could still be part of our shopping culture. That fusion of the old and the new would surely continue to give color to our lives.

Have a nice day.



Allen Ng said...

The picture of the Kaki Lima reminds me of my childhood years growing up in a family of clock and watch traders that eked out a living from an old rented shop house ( No 118) that is located along the then Hugh Low Street (now renamed Jalan Sultan Iskandar)in Ipoh New Town. Today the old brick and mortar two-storey shop house is still standing beside the street like a silent sentinel,though abandoned and in a state of dilapidation. In those days my playground was the five-foot way in front of the shop. However, unlike the Kaki Lima of Penang depicted in the photo, the ones in Ipoh are much higher and more spacious.

Pak Idrus said...

Allen Ng, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on the subject of this posting.

Actually it was the photo posted by Steven that trigger my mind to write this. I know Steven and ask his permission to use the photo since I did not have much photo of such scene. The other image is that of a street in Gopeng Perak which I took myself when visiting that town some years ago.

I am going to take more images of my hometown Kuantan and write about the good old days of my growing up periods. Actually wherever I go back to Kuantan, my hometown I always felt sad. It is because they have destroyed many places that I felt should still be preserved for historical purposed.

Well it look our politician are more interested in money and does not care at all about our past. Sad but true. I love the Kaki Lima and it actually part of my growing up culture. ABU.

Have a nice day and take care.