Kuala Lumpur: An Introduction

The hot, nearly equatorial sun radiates down perpetually on the occupants of Kuala Lumpur, who are cooled by bursts of icy air conditioning as they walk briskly down the wide streets. Women in low-cut tank tops and daisy dukes scurry past women wearing niquabs, who text busily on their phones. Hawkers cry out to the people passing their food stalls in English – Cantonese – Malay in a single breath. A gilded mosque sits across from an Indian temple, adjacent to a church, while the native jungle fights in vain to take back the soaring skyscrapers. Faces of every color can be seen in this mad crush, from the pale businesswoman who clacks away importantly at her computer, to the coffee-skinned man who owns the restaurant she is working at.

Three main cultures are at odds here: Chinese, Indian, and the native Malays. These groups give Kuala Lumpur its vibrancy, its chaos that somehow comes together into a single, cohesive city that charms its occupants and visitors alike.

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