Road Closures on a Yellow Saturday in KL

When I got the notification at the Grab carc app warning about road closures, I thought it was due to road repairs.  Nope, as told to us by our  Grab driver, it was an anti-government protest calling for clean elections.  What was supposed to be a short 2km trip from our hotel at Bukit Bintang to the National Museum turned out to be circuitous. O our trip to the Craft complex from the museum, the Grab driver wasn’t too confident about being able to drop us off directly at the complex.  Fortunately,  the ride Without a hitch.  It was the third ride; from the craft complex to KLCC where things got a little more interesting. We didn’t know that the protests were by the KLCC and even if it was winding down, people were still there. So we literally got caught in the thick of the action.

Here’s a shot from the car.


It was all very orderly though and people gave way to the car. It remimded me of the scene at “M Butterfly” where Jeremy Irons makes his way along the streets filled with protesters.  This one was of course infintely more peaceful.

When we arrived at the KLCC, it was filled with people all in the yellow “bersih” t-shirts.  

Many of  the protesters seemed to be coming from the middle classes based on how they looked plus the food outlets at the KLCC are not exactly cheap.  It was just like EDSA 2 back home in Manila where the massive protests were at the Our Lady of EDSA shrine and everyone would troop to the mall after food court at the 2nd level was packed.  The plan was to just spend the rest of the late afternoon at KLCC, have dinner, then take pics of the Petronas towers all beautifully lit at night.  Unfortunately, this was not going to be.More protesters were going inside the mall as it had started to rain.  There were occassional eruptions of cheers.  The mall management and the shop keepers seemed to take everything in stride.  We just decided to head to the exit fronting the monorail. After buying some “kuih” at the Nonya store and some mocha roti at Roti Boy (darned! They ran out of buttermilk roti), we headed to the exit. I heard a Chinese guy saying the station was closed.  Got confirmation from the mall guard.  Realizing we were tourists, he told us on the side that perhaps once all the people in yellow leaves, the station would open.

Since everyone would be stuck in the mall, we decided to just head to another exit where we could just try to get a Grab car.  Navigated our way out of the throngs of people and out to the exit near Isetan.  The roads were open already and cars were arriving to fetch people. We managed to book a Grab car who brought us to Pavilion mall at Bukit Bintang for dinner at Dragon -i.

Such an interesting day experiencing a small facet of Malaysian social action.

Categories: Malaysia | Leave a comment

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