Lockdown gives Bangsar’s Lucky Garden a breather

But there are still niggling problems that must be overcome.

The wet market at Lucky Garden - BENEDICT LOPEZ

As a resident of Bangsar since 1973, I take a keen interest in developments in my neighbourhood.

Even during my four-and-a-half-years stint in Stockholm, Bangsar nostalgically lingered in my memory. I guess you can take a Bangsarian out of Bangsar, but you cannot take Bangsar out of a Bangsarian.

Bangsar today is a popular township in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, generally presumed as the ordinary person’s hangout.

Lucky Garden, in particular, has evolved considerably since I moved into this locality. Now, this suburb contains a new resurfaced quadrangle, with safer pavements.

Timeworn food stalls that dished up delicacies, ranging from appam, tom yam, nasi kandar, chicken rice, nasi bungkus and curry puff offerings, have been demolished and replaced by a modernistic food centre.

Profoundly missed by the residents is the well-patronised wet market, reputed for its fresh produce. Located in the heart of this area was the popular corner fruit stall, which has temporarily moved into a shophouse.

A few of the wet market stall owners are now carrying out their businesses in a shop, while others are using vans to peddle wares to their regulars who have known them for over three generations. The fish stalls here are popular, even among customers from as far as Subang Jaya and Puchong in normal times.

A wet market in its present form or a modern version is essential, especially since fish would be much cheaper in the market than in supermarkets. One upmarket outlet sells fish at more than double these vendors’ prices. 

Earlier, it was chaotic, with rubbish spewed all over, drawing crows which hibernated in the large angsana trees fronting Jalan Ara and rats infiltrating the drains. Many of the trees in the vicinity have either been uprooted or pruned.

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What remains are the large, majestic trees – a true native shade tree of Malaysia, forming an ambience that would delight nature lovers. A small park adorns the front of shophouses directly opposite a supermarket. A larger park is much needed – like the long overdue modern wet market, promised over the years.

This township, established 50 years ago, is the focal point for pharmacies with all the leading names present here.

Lucky Garden is a popular food destination, with Muslim, Indian and Chinese outlets scattered all over. Briyani vendors are thriving, despite the lockdown. They supply aromatic chicken biryani, along with other food packages, all over Bangsar’s residential areas, catering to residents’ tastebuds.  

Chinese eateries have also spruced up their image and have gained a reputation with residents and visitors alike. The economy rice outlets and the nasi kandar vendors, who now operate off food trucks, offer low-priced meals while strictly adhering to Covid-19 rules, recording customers’ details and taking their temperatures.

Businesses for many have plummeted, while closures for some are also in the pipeline. Others have scaled down their operations. Some have taken on additional businesses due to the high rentals.

Still, Bangsar is a relatively safe place and a haven for shopping, dining and socialising, despite sporadic crimes reported.

Prompt regular action by Kuala Lumpur City Hall in the management of the trees and neighbourhood cleaning, has seen the crow population moving to the more affluent neighbourhoods, inevitably causing problems at their end.

Rodents have now found a new sanctuary in the clogged drains of the more affluent Telawi segment.

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In normal times, this township bustles with a hive of activity, with retailers peddling foodstuffs and other products – a welcome sight for residents. But traffic flows in the vicinity must be reviewed to ensure hassle-free flow.

Lucky Garden is once again beginning to flourish, albeit slowly, as a popular mini-township for Malaysians from all walks of life. And due credit must be given to our evergreen, energetic Lembah Pantai MP, Fahmi Fadzil, for his indefatigable efforts in attending to his constituents’ needs.

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Benedict Lopez was director of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority in Stockholm and economics counsellor at the Malaysian embassy there in 2010-2014. He covered all five Nordic countries in the course of his work. A pragmatic optimist and now an Aliran member, he believes Malaysia can provide its people with the same benefits and privileges found in the Nordic countries - not a far-fetched dream but one that he hopes will be realised in his lifetime