Monday, March 5, 2012


Hotel Equatorial today (Star Metro 5 March 2012)
The final countdown has begun for yet another Kuala Lumpur landmark. 31 March is the last day of business for Hotel Equatorial. Back in its heydays in the 70s and 80s, the hotel was the place to party, to hold wedding banquets and to be seen.

Hotel Equatorial in 1973. (Star pic)
Those days have long gone. Competition from the new hotels in the vicinity has sounded the death knell for the hotel. By the end of April, the staff will be moving out and the bulldozers will be moving in. The old hotel will be completely demolished to make way for a new one expected to be ready in three to four years.

Many among the older folks who have partied or dined at the hotel will feel a tinge of sadness. It's like witnessing the passing of an old friend.

Demolition began in 2007. (Star pic)
But that is life. Nothing remains forever. Even the Chinese high school where I taught for 35 years. Just before it celebrated its centennial in 2008, the school was demolished block by block, despite strong protests from thousands of former students. Recently when I went back for a visit, I could barely recognize the place. I felt like an alien there. Gone were the familiar faces and places in the school.

It's the same with our kampung. We return after many years to find a strange town in its place, with shopping malls and high-rise buildings. Childhood haunts no longer exist, and old school buddies have passed on.

Sad, isn't it? All that's left are beautiful memories...

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