When I walk around the Kuala Lumpur city centre, the experience I get is something that although can sometimes be exciting, yet leaves me empty somehow.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I think it has to do with the fact that every single store, restaurant, cafe and establishment is a generic and impersonal franchise or chain. I don’t have conversations with people and I don’t interact. Sure, we interact with the sales people over the cashier counter if we make any transactions, but that’s about it.
I remember the days when I was growing up in the small cowboy town of Johor Bahru. It seemed like my parents knew everyone at every single place they went to. The local barber knew my father by name and they would chat about things while our hair was cut (and no matter how I described it to him, my hair never turned out to be like MacGyver’s!). And if we went out for breakfast on Sunday mornings, we knew the guy who owned the roti prata (roti canai for the rest of Malaysia) stall as my father and him were like old friends.
It was the same with my mother. The family clinic we went to had an old doctor that had been her family doctor for decades even before I was born. The guy who sold fruits in a push cart near the main post office was apparently a family friend and was my uncle’s old classmate back in secondary school.
Now back to the big city of Kuala Lumpur. As I have mentioned, all the shops and eating places have become so impersonal as most are chains and franchises. Although on the surface, it looks like it does well for the economy and it creates jobs, in the long term, it might not bring such an advantage to the development of the society. [Click to read the full article at KopitiamEkonomi.Com]