Even in winter, the sun shines brightly in Malaysia. In Malaysia in January, the Chinese living in Petaling Street have already hung up red lanterns to welcome the arrival of the Spring Festival. Walking on Petaling Street is like traveling back to China, and you can see the scenery of China everywhere. The large picture on the left page is a corner of the street scene in Kuala Lumpur. In the small picture on the right page, Petaling Street is full of the atmosphere of the Spring Festival, and people are passing through it, which is very lively.
Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, has a long history, but it carries the rise and fall of a country. Various architectural styles and authentic Malay culture gather here, creating a unique Malay style.
Malaysia and China are inextricably linked. The movement of Chinese to Nanyang during the Ming Dynasty is the most curious part of history for me. For hundreds of years, how did those Chinese descended from the mainland settle down and live in foreign countries? What kind of civilization will emerge after the customs and traditions of different ethnic groups collide with the native Malaysian culture? These answers are all hidden in my travels…
1 Deciphering the Ethnic Puzzle of Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur Chinatown
There are Chinese, Indians and Malays living in this city, three completely different ethnic groups. They are like three jigsaw puzzles with their own characteristics, forming a vibrant and vibrant Kuala Lumpur.
I have been in Kuala Lumpur for the past few days. Although it is winter in the northern hemisphere, Kuala Lumpur, which is located in the tropics, is under the scorching sun.
At nine o’clock in the morning, the sun turned the earth into a brilliant white, and I walked out of the old-fashioned British-style Da Hua Hotel. The hotel opened in 1932. The main old building is a historically protected building in Malaysia, and it is also one of the symbols of Malaysia’s rapid development after World War II. A waiter in a bowler hat, shorts suit and white knee socks greeted me warmly and wished me a good trip. With a simple and honest smile, he is the one who sees me off in the morning and welcomes me back to the hotel in the evening. Even though we were strangers, I was inexplicably relieved when I saw that smile.
Compared with other ancient cities in Malaysia with a long history, Kuala Lumpur has only 160 years of history. It was built at the confluence of the Klang River and the Gombak River back then. It started out as a tin mining industry, and it was a gold mining dream factory for Malaysians. Just like people, cities have their own unique temperament. Its young and daring spirit makes the local area quickly rich. Dream gold diggers from all states in Malaysia gather here and take root to survive.
Walking on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, you can see red bougainvilleas, dark green coconut trees, and white plumerias everywhere. Looking up, you can see the towering old trees covered with dendrobium and ball orchids. These beautiful flowers and trees make me feel like I am in a huge garden.
There are Chinese, Indians and Malays living in this city, three completely different ethnic groups. Like three jigsaw puzzles with their own characteristics, a Kuala Lumpur full of vigor and vitality is assembled. Petaling Street is Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown, full of Chinese flavor everywhere. From a small road with snack stalls on both sides, we walked into this food center with a large number of Chinese. In the narrow alley, the smoke and fire of the world blows in the face. The sound of clinking cooking and the sizzling sound of boiling soup in the pot come together to become a moving kitchen accompaniment. The scent of river freshness rushed into the nasal cavity. The stall owners are all Chinese, and they greet the old customers in Cantonese: “Happy New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai! Let’s order a bowl of Fa Cai Yu Sheng!”
The food and local accent from China made me feel at ease, and a kind of happiness of “going home” came to me spontaneously in a foreign land. During the Spring Festival, Petaling Street is full of red lanterns. The boss who is frying chestnuts with sugar is dressed in red from head to toe. He twisted his waist and sang “Good Luck” happily. There are several well-known time-honored beverage shops on Petaling Street. For example, Yiqin soy milk: the Chinese boss pushes a stall cart, only selling tofu flower and soy milk. Over the past 70 years, it has not only insisted on good taste, but also maintained affordable prices that are close to the people. I heard that even the current Prime Minister is one of his diners.
The sun is scorching in Malaysia, and we need a few refreshing drinks to quench our thirst. So I decided to try Yiqin soy milk. Not only is it famous, but it also tastes amazing. After buying the soy milk, I couldn’t wait to take a big sip. The rich bean aroma instantly filled my mouth without a trace of beany smell. The mouthfeel is sweet but not greasy, with a creamy and smooth texture similar to ice cream. Just a few steps away from the soya-bean milk shop, there is another popular drink on this street—Mangosteen Fruit Water, which is a combination of Mangosteen Juice, Winter Melon Juice, and Longan Meat. Mangosteen and wax gourd have a cooler taste, and are best eaten in midsummer to cool off the heat. The carnivorous warming effect of longan just neutralizes the former, taking care of the physique of most diners. The paving owner proudly told me that there is no better mangosteen tea in Kuala Lumpur than his family. Because other families are brewed with essence, his Luo Han Guo water is boiled for at least several hours a day. Time brings value, so the business of paving lasts forever.
2 The colorful and exquisite architectural landscape of Indian temples and Malay mosques
The Mariamman Hindu Temple is not big, but it restores the universe in Hindu philosophy in the form of architecture: the top of the tower at the entrance represents the mountain peak, and the womb represents the embryo of the universe, and people live in the universe endlessly.
The cool and refreshing drinks in Chinatown satisfied my gluttonous desire, while the Hindu temple and Malay mosque more satisfied my desire to know the cultural stories of Kuala Lumpur.
Hundreds of years ago, Tamils from southern India migrated here because the tin mining industry required a lot of labor. They built a little famous building here – the Mariamman Hindu Temple in the Little India neighborhood. It is very easy to find it: there is a fragrance of flowers in front of the temple, as long as you see small shops full of garlands all over the street, you know you are not far from it.
Early in the morning, Indian residents with red auspicious moles on their foreheads skillfully string calendula, water lilies, jasmine, white silkworm flowers, orchids, etc. on strings to form a garland. These garlands are not used for decoration, but are sold to believers who worship the goddess. The color matching of the garlands is also mostly bright colors such as yellow with purple, red with yellow, which are very bright, just like the free and easy enthusiasm of Indians.
The temple is dedicated to the goddess Mariamman. The goddess Si Shui and Si recovered from illness and brought great spiritual comfort to the people of South India. She is also the “white moonlight” in the hearts of Indians living in Nanyang. They firmly believe that under the protection of the goddess Mariamman, life will turn from danger to prosperity.