Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.
It’s Tuanku, not Tunku. Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. What was once Batu Road was renamed after the country’s first Yang Di Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhammad, whose portrait is etched on every ringgit note.
When I first arrived in KL, I didn’t know the difference. I barely knew the names of the roads, let alone important landmarks. I pretended to know what people meant when they mentioned names like Chow Kit, Petaling Street and Haji Taib. I didn’t know if Masjid India was really a mosque or if it was just the name of a road. These spaces existed as imaginary postcards in my mind, places I knew existed but were beyond my understanding.
The story of Kuala Lumpur itself is wrought with long, perilous journeys of discovery by those who dared venture through the malaria-infested rivers and jungles of a yet-unnamed land. The stories of the empire are sealed within the arches of timeless structures, written in books and inscribed on plaques, while the few who ‘made it’ managed to amass huge plots of land, their legacies immortalised with their names on buildings and roads.
The streets of KL are a palimpsest of sand, iron and bitumen, compressed under the footsteps of millions who still enter the city in search of riches at most, and an opportunity at the very least. And that includes me – a misfit who hails from the other coast of the peninsula. Through the eyes of a clueless visitor in a foreign land, this is my Batu Road.