Thursday, September 02, 2004

Favourite Places

Favourite Places

When I was a U student, I lived in Section 11, Petaling Jaya. As a student, the only entertainment that I could afford was movies. So I used to frequent cinemas like Sentosa, Ruby, State and Majestic--those old and nostalgic theatre halls that are sadly, no longer in existence. I probably spent more time in those theatres than in the lecture halls.

These days in KL, I find myself catching less and less movies because it is not so convenient to do so. I try to avoid shopping malls on weekends. The shopping crowd and the sheer difficulty in finding parking kind of turns me off. If you don't go to malls, you don't get to watch many movies.

In Jakarta, it was quite convenient for me to catch the latest shows because Teater Djakarta was within walking distance from my hotel. My other favourite theatres were the cineplexes at Blok M Plaza, TIM (Taman Ismail Marzuki) and Atrium.

Not surprisingly, the Atrium Mall, located in Senen was one of my favourite places. I liked it because it caters mainly for the lower-middleclass; so you can be assured that you don't bump into anyone you know--the perfect place to be anonymous. You see, part of the fun of living in Jakarta is being able to disappear into the crowd and be able to observe the behaviour and customs of the local people.

The Senen area is off limits to most middleclass Jakartans because they consider it a rather notorious place. People will often tell you that the place is full of "premans" (gangsters) and it is to be avoided like a plague.

In reality, it is actually not so bad. I spent many weekends exploring the area. There's even a good serviced apartment and four-star hotel located there. Because the location is considered "bad" by the locals, the rates offered are good value for money; to me they are among the best kept secrets in town. I recommended a fellow Malaysian expatriate to stay there; he lived there for more than a year and was perfectly happy with it.

Everyone has places that they like and dislike. Even in KL, there are places which I simply don't feel comfortable with. There's probably nothing wrong with those places, just that I don't have an affinity with them. A lot of it is because I don't know enough about them. Ignorance tends to breed dislike.

Subang Jaya, the place where I'm living in right now is the quintessential Malaysian middleclass suburb. I'm quite comfortable here, as long as I know that I don't have to live here for the rest of my life.

You see, the problem with us is that the grass always feels greener elsewhere. And to me, nowhere doesn it feel greener than those verdant hills of Parahyangan...

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