A few years back, while living in London’ s Cricklewood area, I’d find myself sneaking inside an Anglican church whenever I felt the need to pray. I knew somehow that God would listen wherever I do it, but it also felt psychologically comforting to do it inside a house where hundreds of souls do the same. That is, after all, the concept of a church: a commune of believers. I couldn’t find a nearby Catholic Church from the Gladstone Park area, so a small Anglican church in the neighborhood became surrogate house of prayer. It didn’t matter then that I was a Catholic inside an Anglican church. It felt safe, and it gave me the security of being heard.
Kuala Lumpur (KL) has few Catholic churches. The archdiocese's Mother Church and thus, seat of its Archbishop, is St. John's Cathedral. Unfortunately, I’ve never visited St. John’s. The current Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur is Archbishop Tan Sri Datuk Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam, having been appointed by Pope John Paul II on May 24, 2003.
After a satisfying few days in Kuching (Sarawak), I finally found a catholic church near Jalan Pudu. I walked towards Tung Shin Hospital, crossed the street then turned right when I saw Jalan Robertson, an empty street that's isolated from city hustle. There were few parked vehicles, and derelict buildings. Just a block from Pudu, I found a white church - St. Anthony Church.
There has so far been 8 St. Anthonys which includes a Diocletian martyr, Kiev’s Cave saint, a Florentian Antoninus, and the founder of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I have a hunch KL’s is St. Anthony of Padua (Lisbon, Portugal). St. Anthony is known to have become the "quickest" saint in the history of the Catholic Church because he was canonized by Pope Gregory IX less than a year after his death on the 30th of May of 1232. St. Anthony is known in Brazil and Portugal as the patron saint of marriage because legend has him helping couples on a rough patch. Meanwhile, In a town in Tamil Nadu called Uvari, the church of St. Anthony is home to an ancient wooden statue that is said to have cured the entire crew of a Portuguese ship suffering from cholera.
Unfortunately for me, KL’s St. Anthony Church seemed to be shut most of the time, except during Sunday mass. When we got there, we walked around the compound, but there was nothing there to see. But it nevertheless made me feel good. Without much activity (or people for that matter), the area felt a bit eerie, with no shops nearby, except for a garbage truck that took forever to load their garbage nearby. Jalan Robertson was a dead street, which we found unusual since it was just a block from Jalan Pudu. For more information, please call 02-2141-4172 once you’re in the capital.
From the church, I just walked right back to Jalan Pudu and headed towards Chinatown. I didn’t have intentions of passing by Jalan Petaling which was always chaotic, so I took the street parallel to it. I made a right along Jalan Sultan (at the end of Petaling) then leisurely watched the Chinese shops that dot the place. There were fruit stands, guesthouses, internet shops, and dime a dozen of restaurants. There was this colorful shop selling red plastic-and-paper flowers, bird cages, and some giant vases painted in gold. Such colors used to amuse me, but as we age, these things begin turning into kitsch – garish colors that my eyes don’t find soothing. Fascinating, nevertheless.
I liked walking along Jalan Sultan. I saw Plaza Warisan, a shopping centre that serves mostly working-class shoppers. It is located along Jalan Tun HS Lee which I was familiar with, since it's where Bangkok Bank is, and a few skips from the Central Market., A short distance from there is the Pasar Seni LRT Station, a favorite of mine. I’ve had several history with Pasar Seni Station aside from the fact that it sits beside a stream called Sungai Kelang, running alongside Jalan Sultan Mohammed. That station is never congested. It is near the main post office, the Central Market, the Klang Bus Station, Chinatown, and Puduraya Station.
This is the Eye in the Sky.
Sungai Kelang. The Vistana is a business hotel that has 364 rooms. Visit its site here: http://www.vistanahotels.com/vkl_main.php