Think City hosts a walk down one of Kuala Lumpur’s iconic laneways
Behind the hustle and bustle of the lively Petaling Street, lies a forgotten narrow street brimming with culture and history. Back in the 60s and 70s, Madras Lane was known as the entertainment hub of downtown Kuala Lumpur thanks to the iconic Madras Theatre that featured everything from action-packed Chinese films to great westerns. While the theatre met with an unfortunate fire in 1979, the laneway continues to preserve their namesake, paying homage to the once legendary establishment. While all that lingers of the Madras Theatre is a memory, the area still remains popular for its delicious local street food and the wide variety of fresh produce available at the wet market.
As part of their greater Laneway Improvement Programme, ‘Lorong Fest: A walk down Madras Lane’ breathed new life into Madras Lane with the launch of this latest initiative on Friday. The event is also a part of Think City’s 10th Anniversary Celebrations, a year-long calendar of project launches and events to mark a decade of community-led urban regeneration. The weekend-long celebration of local heritage offered authentic hawker fare, fun-filled activities, engaging workshops, and the opportunity to discover and explore the rich culture of Madras Lane.
Together with Tuan Fong Kui Lun, Bukit Bintang Member of Parliament, Think City in collaboration with Citi Foundation officially marked the start of ‘Lorong Fest: A walk down Madras Lane’, along with representatives from Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL), in the presence of the supportive neighbourhood communities.
“Lorong Fest: A walk down Madras Lane’ is an exemplary initiative that I hope will create opportunities for the existing businesses here and nurture a sense of appreciation by the generations of today and tomorrow about our cultural history, sparking curiosity for these forgotten spaces within our city,” said MP Fong Kui Lun.
“The partnership between Citi Foundation and Think City is a strategic outreach to positively impact society and build more vibrant sustainable urban environments. This community engagement within Kuala Lumpur city has spurred renewed economic activity and a greater appreciation for our rich heritage. We look forward to accelerating the role we can play working closely with Think City,” said Lee Lung Nien, CEO of Citi Malaysia.
As part of the efforts to communicate the culture and historical value of Madras Lane to the public, ‘Lorong Fest: A walk down Madras Lane’ presented an enlightening photo exhibit featuring the various hawkers and vendors who have called the area home for the past 50 years, narrating their story and encouraging visitors to return for fresh produce, traditional ingredients and honest, good food.
‘Lorong Fest: A walk down Madras Lane’ continues the success of Think City’s efforts in integrating cultural heritage with urban improvement. This campaign follows the success of Project Kwai Chai Hong, which saw the dedicated restoration of pre-war buildings along the historic lane. By revitalising these laneways into clean and safe public spaces, Think City and Citi Foundation aim to encourage different city stakeholders to begin similar city projects of their own.
“At Think City, we believe it is important for us to recognise the hypnotic draw and sheer amount of opportunities that our city possesses. In order to preserve what is so uniquely Kuala Lumpur, we showcase not only to our international visitors but also to Malaysians the intangible value of culture and heritage that Madras Lane holds. With the financial grant from Citi Foundation, we intend to continue investing in efforts of renewing the city’s historic laneways, progressing towards transforming downtown Kuala Lumpur into a creative and cultural district,” shared Hamdan Abdul Majeed, Managing Director of Think City.