Tuesday, 21 May 2024
Kampung Pictures Daily They are taking away my Chan Ah Tong
They are taking away my Chan Ah Tong PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 09:18

cat1In April this year, the government unveiled its plans for Little India in Brickfields, KL. A report in The Star came complete with an artist's impression of the district. You can view it here. The upgrading works involved temporarily relocating the many stalls lining the main street of Brickfields to the playfield at Jalan Chan Ah Tong causing some disdain among the traders. But under the guise of progress and development comes a catch. Sun2Surf reported:

"Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal said the cabinet had decided to give Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB) the land two months ago and that the company had submitted a proposal for commercial development to the federal government...


Raja Nong Chik said there was a possibility that the government quarters would be torn down. However, the Chan Ah Tong field, which is gazetted as a green area, will be preserved. he said."



THE breaking news hit me like a thunder-bolt. The Brickfields I grew up in was going to change forever.


They are going to demolish the 95 years old ‘Hundred Quarters’ – home to families of public servants since 1915.

Worse, they are going to desecrate our Chan Ah Tong field. This was our small plot on Earth we called our own.

‘Ex- Brickfielders’ will regale you with happy tales of games played and replayed on our revered patch of earth. Football, cricket, “rounders”, “chopping”, “kaundah kaunte”; and the list goes on... Many a national sportsman learned and honed his skills at Chan Ah Tong.

Importantly, the carefree and indomitable human spirit was nurtured here for generations.

Now it looks like this.


No matter - true to the spirit of the generations before them, these ‘warriors’ were fighting a rear-guard battle to protect the yet untouched piece of our beloved Chan Ah Tong!


Perhaps, the ‘vultures’ will take a leaf from our young warriors, and spare the century-old trees that have provided natural canopy cover for generations of happy-go-lucky children.



Multi-storey car parks and hawker centres have their utility, but the beauty endowed by Mother Nature is simply irreplaceable.


We hope the folks at MRCB get the message. We can only pray that good sense prevails and some part of Chan Ah Tong will be preserved for posterity.

Search RSS
Only registered users can write comments!
Nitha Subramaniam  - Galaxie magazine |2010-06-02 15:46:38
thanks for this piece of news. i had lived in brickfields for 10 years before moving to oldklangroad cos i cud no longer afford brickfields. but it reamins my hangout area. i often eat at tarani food corner near jln chan ah tong. i hate to see everything green making way for more concrete jungle. brickfiels is changing so much n it's not always for the better. can sth be done abt the horrendous traffic jam and housing for the lower n mid income group cos most of the condos are for the higher income group. as a result, original brickfields dwellers are forced to move out.
Dharmalingam |2010-06-02 17:08:55
I too am a Brickfields boy and that field was a welcome patch of green. Once again we see avaricious government officials selling away public spaces and turning what used to be a charming city into a congested concrete lined horror.
angel  - Destructive mankind |2010-06-02 19:28:34
Thank you Mr. Appudurai for your nostalgic recount of what Chan Ah Tong meant to you, as a youngster.

I like the pictures too....they are suddenly so beautiful.

Some of our friends lived in those hundred quarters. They knew almost everyone down the line, that's how near and dear life was then.

Yes, certainly, in time to come one whole chunk of memory lane will be missing, from your mental album of childhood pictures.

The trouble is one never can re-visit, by the act of remembering, quite so accurately, even if one tries. Memories eventually become misty and fade out. And you are forced to accept the new and surrender what you had loved for years, like as if there was no other alternative...there is no art or thirst for preservation in this blessed country, which is so wanting, so damning to the spirits if those who have a yen for the old.

As concrete-crazy Government and commercial big wigs ok projects like these, do they realize that they are bull-dozing their way, ruthlessly into areas which not only were part and parcel of our growing years, but also the heritage which has given KL....its uniqueness and its attraction.European back-packers love Brickfields because of its old look. They have the glitzy buildings as well from where they come from. They rather prefer the old.

Brickfields is surely the hub of things Indian too..an integral part of Malaysian culture. This was where my Mum bought her condiments for cooking, at Modern Store...all that going? I can't believe it

Brickfields is also an area of territory which allowed me and members of my family a haven for some good cheap, readily accessible food. We went to Brickfields at no expense from Bangsar,just ambling there over the bridge, to sit at a familiar restaurant, to gorge on some tasty Indian dish, or even to try the famous Chinese noodle dishes, like Kueh Teow that were sold by stalls ten to a dozen.You always had money for the cheap and tasty as a kid...all you had to do was delve into your pockets or scramble up the total among friends and you got it....a plate of steaming, sizzling mee goreng... a small portion from even one plate was enough. So little, but so damn tasty

Can't help feeling lost, about this thurst our demolition experts have to satisfy their greed for high rise buildings, money spinners, while they also take away in the process the livlihood of the small traders too. Do they care a damn?

The old Lido cinema,in Brickfields, which was a famous landmark for umpteen years met the same fate...

You are right...the greenery and the huge rain trees are the backbone of Brickfields giving it the colour and an indication of its age. A bit of freshness in an otherwise crowded, and throbbing neighbourhood. The commerce in the area is something...the variety and the noise coming from the little trades. All of which allows you to somehow blend in.

I didn't play in the field personally, but we watched the games being played, heard the mad cries of youngsters as their supporting teams won.

How truly sad, to force newness on an area which for years was and is beloved because of the dignity and fame of its age and infinite variety....

foosurat  - Sad...i studied in La Salle brickfields |2010-06-03 17:06:56
Real sad...cost i used to take the Sri Jaya (blue bus) during my primary school days back to my house in Bungsar (NEB quarters). I also remember that Chan Ah Tong field was once converted into a road safety campaign playground. But it looks better the way it is now. We need more greens in our neighborhood.
To thing that one needs more multi storey buildings with its inherent traffic jams etc. The jams are already very bad in brickfields.
Genga |2010-06-04 12:59:14
Thanks for the lovely pictures of a beautiful place. We should treasure them. Soon, Brickfields, as we know and love it, will no longer be the same. The 'Hundred Quarters' and 'Chan Ah Tong Field' are probaly the most well-known landmarks in Brickfields. Every time I return home I make it a point to visit Brickfields. I am not sure that I will ever want to go back there again. It's a pity that no attempts have been made to conserve these two landmarks. I can still remember taking the bus every morning to VI at the bus stop in front of the 'Hundred Quarters' and watching soccer played in Chan Ah Tong Field. Yes, those were wonderful days!
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 June 2010 10:16

Your are currently browsing this site with Internet Explorer 6 (IE6).

Your current web browser must be updated to version 7 of Internet Explorer (IE7) to take advantage of all of template's capabilities.

Why should I upgrade to Internet Explorer 7? Microsoft has redesigned Internet Explorer from the ground up, with better security, new capabilities, and a whole new interface. Many changes resulted from the feedback of millions of users who tested prerelease versions of the new browser. The most compelling reason to upgrade is the improved security. The Internet of today is not the Internet of five years ago. There are dangers that simply didn't exist back in 2001, when Internet Explorer 6 was released to the world. Internet Explorer 7 makes surfing the web fundamentally safer by offering greater protection against viruses, spyware, and other online risks.

Get free downloads for Internet Explorer 7, including recommended updates as they become available. To download Internet Explorer 7 in the language of your choice, please visit the Internet Explorer 7 worldwide page.