Tuesday, July 23, 2013


as at 20/7/2013

I was shocked and saddened by the demolition of the Merdeka park with its iconic buildings namely "The "Mushroom", the "Rock Garden" and the large playground too.   These buildings were part of our growing up years.  
Our father took us there for annual photographs during Chinese New Year and many of his generation used the park for their morning gathering of taichi, walk and exercise.  It was also a recreation center for us when growing up and later  it was one of the popular dating venue for us.   When we were young parents, we took our children (those older ones) there to play around that rock garden and the large playground during the weekends.
It hold so much memories for all of us and now it has gone forever.   My daugther Sarah have not even seen this place- only the photos of  what have been. Our  next generation have been bereft of their open spaces and sense of heritage too. 

This open park and spaces have been acquired for a modern 118 storey buildings/office/shopping malls. (do we need more shopping malls???)  

This is the only green open space in the area now- hardly larger than an office space and moreover it is  a paved area,  not with  green grass though! 
The Rakan KL is a voluntary group of enthusiastic people who are so zealous and passionate  about the preservation of the heritage/prominent  sites in KL organise this heritage walk and I am lucky to be able to join them last weekend.  The guides for the walks are doing this voluntarily as most of them have full time jobs as well.  Please support and like them on their facebook.  

This heritage walk encircled the Petaling Hill area which is located east of the confluence of the Klang and Gombak Rivers where early Kuala Lumpur was founded.  It is also the site of the 3 stadiums ie Chin Woo Stadium, Merdeka Stadium and the Stadium Negara.  Here I have tried to recall whatever information I can remember from the walk (stupid me, should have recorded on my phone instead!).

Mr. Adrian, the guide for the day. He is amusing and informative relating the history  as well as witty and humorous anecedotes relating to these sites.

We began our walk from the Gereja Gospel Hall - a brethen church founded in 1889.   It was initialy an education centre and  is the first Hokkien-speaking church in KL.  

The Chin Woo Athletic Association Building.

Next we move along up uphill towards the first stadium- Chin Woo Stadium.  I am sure the visions of wushu or kungfu will come to our mind and we cannot be all wrong.  Chin Woo was first started as a school and only on 31/8/1950 Chin Woo Stadium was completed and officially opened at this present place.  The motto of the association  was to cultivate good morals; healthy body, mental thinking and good discipline. The Chin Woo Stadium was the first to construct an Olympic size swimming pool which was considered the best at that time.   This is where my sister May had taught all her nephews and nieces how to swim (whereas all the mothers are non-swimmers!).            

The reception area  of Chin Woo Association.
Do you know that the Chin Woo stadium is direct facing Bukit Aman opposite across  the river?
We came down the hill and walked towards the next stadium.  Along the way, Adrian introduced us to the schools along road.  There is the Methodist Boy's Primary and Secondary School, the Davidson School, as well as the Victoria Institution. Can you visualise how conducive this area  have been  for schools? Nearby was the  recreational park (Merdeka park) as well as green spaces with all graceful hundred years old trees and the Chin Woo swimming pool, indoor Stadium Negara and the Merdeka Stadium too. Will the schools benefit from the 118 storeys building/shopping mall and the MRT station?  

We were told that the surrounding area here actually were a cementery.  It was acquired by the British for the first golf course to be built.  Later the golf course were moved to the present Royal Selangor Golf Club in Jalan Tun Razak.  

Being an alumnus of Methodist school, Adrian asked us whether we know why the school was called "Hor Li" (chinese pronunciation which can mean marble) school.  It was so called because one of the principals of the school, a Mr. Horley went around asking for school building funds from the hawkers/vendors of Petaling street (Chinatown) and he promised them in return that every one of their son could have a place in the new school.  Hence the Chinese call it the "Hor Li" school. :D! No wonder my brothers and later my nephews too became the students of this school!
She was so enraged by the demolition/acquisition of the parks that she was teary-eye when explaining to us to support their mission.

The parks may have gone but there is nothing to stop them from planting trees in silent protest! Do drop by next week to support them!

This is the MRT station opposite the schools- imagine the noise, the vibrations effects and the traffic.

Sarah listening attentively and I am glad that so many young people turned up for the walk too.

The Stadium Negara was first indoor stadium finished constructed in 1962.
The present dome roof that you see today isn't the original roof.  It was covered by a flat roof with supports radiating from a central hub that Adrian so interestingly the called it "the inverted nipple" and it made from some sort of compressed paper(?) which can last around 20 years.  It was replaced by the present dome roof in the 1980s and  provide better acoustics for many musical concerts held here.  Air-conditioning was  also introduced. 
The batek murals on either side of the entrance.

Have you passed through these revolving gates before?

 The dome roof of the stadium.

Victoria Institution-It was name after Queen Victoria.  After the celebration of the Queen Victoria Jublilee, the British goverment used the excess funds (wow they have excess funds back then!) to establish this school.   The Japanese surrender was formally signed and witnessed in the hall of this school - hmm... heard any ghost stories?  And this is the first school with its own swimming pool. 

Finally we reached the Stadium Merdeka- the fastest stadium to be constructed within a period of 13 months as it was to be completed for Malaysia's declaration of independence on 31/8/1957. 
It had held many major sporting events (SEA Games, Muhammad Ali vs Joe Bugner etc) as well as concerts for numerous artists (Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Jacky Cheung etc). 
Interesting features which were "the first" :-  the shell roof over the grand stand, the 4 floodlights and the construction of the field itself to prevent flooding in this tropical weather. 

The black scoreboard with the emblems of the 10 states of the Malaya.

We relaxed a while at this only "green" park beside the Stadium Merdeka.

We ended the walk opposite the Chan Shi Tzu Yuen- the Chan Clan temple.

As I have said earlier Rakan KL is a voluntary group and a donation was collected to support their work. 

If you have any photographs of the Mushroom, Tunku Park or the rock garden please share with them.  
Let us all support the reclaim of Merdeka Park. 

Now let me go to my photo albums and see what I can find. 


  1. Good morning Sharon
    Have a good day.

  2. Thanks Elaine for sharing your memories of the walk. Do write more about your family experience growing up in the area, especially the swimming adventures. Photos if any.


    1. Good morning Adrian,
      Thanks for dropping by. Still "digging" for the old photos from my brothers and sisters!

  3. They called this progression or is it plain ignorance or is it greed?The Western World preserves - here we "de-serve!" Beautiful memories of course esp the swimming bit

    1. Good morning,
      Thanks for visiting. As you have said, the western world (even our Singapore) takes heritage sites seriously. I will vote for greed not igorance! We are only left with memories!