Tuesday August 21, 2012
KL roads empty but malls are packed
By TERENCE TOH and NICHOLAS CHENG
KUALA LUMPUR: It was almost surreal to drive around here as the traffic had momentarily disappeared.
“Normally, this is a very busy road,” said shop owner B. Bhalraj, 30, who was passing by Jalan Tun Perak yesterday.
“But it is very quiet now as many people have balik kampung.”
Copywriter James Gan, 29, said: “I think everyone wants to get away from the hustle and bustle.”
But many Malaysians are also shoppers or mall rats.
Stalls along Petaling Street and the square in Jalan Tan Siew Sin outside Mydin hypermarket, for example, were crowded.
“The roads are empty but the pavements are congested,” said pharmacist Elaine Low, 27, who was visiting Petaling Street with her friends.
“Some popular areas are really packed. But traffic is much better. I had no problem coming to KL.”
Trader Firdaus Hou, 36, said business has been very good.
“Many people are coming out and spending money,” said Hou, who has a shop selling clothes on Lorong Pudu.
However, trader Ahmad Hussin, 55, said business at his stall behind Masjid Jamek LRT station was quiet.
“Usually, this place is one of the busiest and most popular in KL,” Ahmad said.
“However, most people are away so business has been quite slow.”
Other places were packed with tourists or foreigners.
For example, tourist buses lined the area around Dataran Merdeka.
“We took the chance to come here and have a good time since there will be fewer people and less traffic,” said service engineer Ong Wee Chin, 45, who was visiting from Johor Baru with his family.
For youngsters, it could be quite a confusing time, too.
Tan Ming Han, 10, woke up early yesterday thinking it was time for school.
He showered, brushed his teeth, tucked in his uniform and waited for his mother to send him to school.
“I waited for about half-an-hour before I realised it was a public holiday,” he said, adding that he spent the day catching up on his favourite anime series.
Vinod Jeyapalan, 18, and his family and relatives of 17 people flocked to Mid Valley Megamall for a reunion.
He had cousins and uncles who came from Klang, Penang and London.
“It's nice to have some time off with your family as we don't get to meet very often,” said Vinod.
He and his cousins faced-off against each other in a few rounds of laser-tag.
“What better way to spend the holidays with your family than going up against each other in a laser fight?” he quipped.
Though her parents egged her to go on vacation with them to Teluk Batik, communications student Shanthi Suppiah, 22, stayed at home.
She wanted to have a quiet evening with her best friend Rahila Najaf who was celebrating Raya here.
“She couldn't go home to be with her family in Pakistan,” she explained.